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Wednesday, September 15

Mystery Shopping Bloopers

I thought I would start an occasional post about some of the true stories I hear about mystery shopping. This first one was told to me directly by my scheduler at a company I do regular work. We know each other intimately now so she often tells me some of the nightmares she has to deal with as a scheduler.

Last week I picked up an emergency shop that was due in August. This was a fast food lunch shop for a regional chain. It's one of my favorites because the shop is so easy:
  • you either shop the dine-in or drive-thru (but not both).
  • you take four timings (the hardest part, but I'm good with a stopwatch in my pocket so no problem).
  • you make general observations about cleanliness, service and the quality of the food.
  • narrative is very limited as most of the report consists of "yes" or "no" answers.
So the shopper and her husband entered the restaurant with a stopwatch and notebook in hand. They made no effort to conceal the timing device. Once they placed their order, they sat down and opened the notebook and began taking notes. Later, they began an "inspection" of the interior of the store, including pulling out the trash cans and inspecting them.

Now, last time I checked, the "mystery" about mystery shopping is that the staff doesn't know who you are. Well, the couple were identified, and their report was unusable. Not only that, but they were removed from the company's database and are prohibited from future shopping opportunities with this company.


  1. That is pretty funny. More shops for you.

    I have trouble remembering my times long enough to write them down. What I have started doing is just putting them into my cell phone. If anyone is paying attention it just looks like I'm texting.

  2. Would be nice to know which place it is since all the FF shops I've had required drive through and dine in..
    But that is pretty dense..

  3. Dave,
    The chain is Whataburger. Like I said, it's a regional one so you may or may not be familiar with it.