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Feb 19 / mystery shopper

I am back

So I know I haven’t updated this blog for a while but it’s because I moved away. Well now I am back and have just finished doing my first mystery shop in quite some time. They actually rang me up out of the blue which was strange because as I say I haven’t done one in a while. It required me ordering a pizza like I did before only this time I had to order it by phone.  Unlike before I wasn’t expecting a long drawn out conversation with the delivery person and knew I would have only a few seconds to make the required observations. It went pretty smoothly and I was quite surprised at how much I remembered from doing them before.  Of course there was still the ridiculously long drawn out questionnaire and the payment barely covered the cost of the pizza but at least this time I managed to get the correct receipt.

Jun 16 / mystery shopper

Free pizza and excellent service

That’s the third mystery shop in as many days. This evening a friend and I had to do a mystery shop in a well known chain of pizza restaurants. Well I was doing the mystery shop, my friend accompanied me for free pizza! As soon as we walked in and approached the greeter and explained we booked a table online straight away her face brightened up and she become very friendly and professional. This time I’m sure she had to know we were the mystery shoppers. There were only a couple of people in the restaurant and a party of kids and a couple of other people. I’m so sure she knew we were the mystery shopper because she left and got our waitress who turned out was the actual manager. I’ve never seen such a well crafted pizza with such polite service. I think I may book online more often if that’s the type of service I get!

Jun 15 / mystery shopper

Drive thru mystery shop

I’ve just finished eating chicken and chips which I had to purchase on a mystery shop through a fast food drive thru. It was the first mystery shop I’ve done where I had to order a meal through a fast food drive thru. I had to evaluate the cleanliness of the store then purchase a chicken and chips bucket meal. The speed of service was excellent probably because there were no other cars in the drive thru.  From the time I arrived to place my order to the time I received it was all under two minutes which I found pretty impressive. The staff members were very friendly and polite. Everything was going great. When I received the order I parked up to check the temperature and quality of the food when of course I realised I had a bit of a problem. I’m beginning to get used to things not going right first time with me. Everything happened so fast that I forgot to ask for a receipt. I checked in all the bags and realised that if I don’t get a receipt I wouldn’t get paid. So I figured there was nothing for it. I had to go back through the drive thru and ask for a receipt! Now again I feel like perhaps it’s me being paranoid but I always have a sneaking suspicion the staff members know I’m a mystery shopper and then I go and do something that must be a dead give away. Who ever asks for a receipt from a fast food restaurant? Especially if you’ve already got your food and driven away! Well I didn’t have a lot of choice but you can imagine how sheepish I felt driving through the drive thru just to ask for a receipt. Still I’m glad I checked before I’d got all the way home and eaten the entire meal. I’m sure they will get easier the more mystery shops I do.

Jun 14 / mystery shopper

Purchasing footwear then getting a refund

Today I had to do a mystery shop in a clothing store where my task was to purchase some footwear and then later return it, whilst evaluating how the staff dealt with the enquiry. At first I had a problem finding the store (which isn’t the first time) but when I eventually found it, the shop went pretty smoothly.

The staff member was quite friendly and recommended a couple of pairs of shoes. My cover story was that I was buying the footwear as a present for my brother, which I was sure was going to give away I was the mystery shopper. But if he didn’t catch on when I originally asked, I find it hard to believe that he didn’t know when I returned 30 minutes  later with the shoes asking for a refund. My excuse was that I’d just met my mum and she had bought a different pair for my brother. I mean who buys shoes as a present really? It is the most I’ve been paid for a mystery shop though so far at £20. However the boots themselves cost £90 so hopefully the money won’t come out of my account as it was refunded so almost instantly. But knowing how these things work they’ll probably debit it from my account for a week before I get it back.

Jun 7 / mystery shopper

Another Contact Lens Enquiry

So the company I did the three contact lens enquiries for a couple of weeks ago rang me up last week and asked me if I wanted to do another one which I originally applied for but at the time they rejected me. That’s one thing about working as a mystery shopper, you’re never guaranteed work and some companies use this ridiculous system where they are more likely to give it to you if you are more experienced but which prevents beginners from being able to get work. Anyway I guess I managed to impress them enough to allow me to do another one. I was away last week so said I could do it this week. Having already done three of these before and all of them going pretty smoothly (apart from the car breaking down) I was confident this one wouldn’t be difficult. Which it wasn’t, however the guy who I encountered in the shop had to be one of the most unfriendly people I’ve encountered since becoming a mystery shopper.

The strange thing is it’s never bothered me before as a member of the public, if the staff members aren’t friendly as long as they tell me what I need to know. But since starting this job I definitely notice the massive differences between helpful staff and useless staff. Another reason I like this job is that I assume the mystery shoppers results get read by someone who can make a difference to employing or training up the staff.

So I made the usual enquiry about getting contact lenses, and the staff member said there was nothing he could do until I got an eye test. I know that he could have given me a lot more information like the other three staff members did last month. But whether he was just lazy, rude or ignorant (or all three) he wasn’t helpful or friendly. One thing I’ve learnt in the short space of time of being a mystery shopper is that where as before I would try to make sure the staff were answering the questions I had to report on, I realise that’s not my purpose there. I am simply an observer. I never want to give in a report saying the staff member wasn’t at all helpful or rude, but at the end of the day if the staff member can’t do their job correctly then it is only right they are noticed for it so they can either be trained better or replaced. Similarly the ones that are great at their job should be rewarded.