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Monday, August 20

Chicago and Atlanta

Ace Hardware Paint Plant, Matteson, IL
Yesterday I checked out of a hip little hotel in Buckhead (Atlanta).  The charges were over $600 and will be reversed as part of my mystery shopping agreement.  This was a 2 night assignment, which is somewhat unusual as most shops are for one night only.  It was easier than I expected, plus it paid a small fee.

Before that I was in Chicago for the Ace Hardware convention.  It was a blast, and a huge conference with 17,000+ attendees.  Ace paid my expenses - 2 nights at the Hyatt Regency, meals and travel, plus a token honorarium.  We had Chicago deep dish pizza with Ace's spokesperson, Lou Manfredini, on Tuesday night.

Then Wednesday we took a road trip, visiting an urban Chicago store, large suburban store, and lunch at Portillo's (I had Italian Beef - red meat, yes... one can indulge every now and then).  After lunch we toured the Ace Paint Plant, which was really neat.  The trip ended at 5 PM and then we had the night to do whatever.  Another panelist and I were going to mystery shop a casino, but we missed the bus and he rescheduled.  Instead we took a cab to a nightlife area and hung out for a few hours.

On Thursday we attended the Ace Hardware convention at McCormick Place.  Roy Spence gave an inspiring keynote about "finding one's purpose". He is the founder of the marketing agency (GSD&M) that does advertising for Ace as well as Southwest Airlines, the U.S. Air Force and others.  I flew home late Thursday night.

Today I'm scrambling to tie all those loose ends.  I have a check-up at the dentist, 2 merchandising assignments, and am trying to finish up the townhouse and get it rented.  I've run a little behind with the townhouse but yesterday we did a good bit of catching up.  All that's left is new carpet and a final cleaning, then I can show it.  I already have a potential tenant who I am hoping will be the right fit.  I also need to visit my grandfather to drop off some clothes and mow the lawn at his house.

Not sure when I'll be able to post again.  I'm only in Clearwater for a few days before I return to Birmingham.  I made plans for Mom's birthday month's ago, plus I have to drive the Corolla back.  With everything going on I don't know when I'll have time to be online.


  1. Sounds like a fun trip. I have to try a hotel mystery shop one of these days.

    1. Are there companies that have hotel shops in the KC area?

  2. Man, my fear is that I spend $600 on a mystery shop and then I don't get reimbursed. I guess you have to work up to that.

    1. Pat,
      It's natural to be concerned. I've never had one of these rejected. Because there are so many observations I do usually get contacted by an editor with questions or clarifications. For example, on this shop the editor wanted to know why I was unable to obtain the name of the valet driver. I responded that the interaction was quick and they weren't wearing a name tag, and that was all I needed to get the shop accepted.

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