Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A Mystery Shopping Occupational Hazard

Hi All,

Hope you had a great Labor Day weekend!

Do you have this occupational hazard of mystery shopping? I've done so many mystery shopping jobs that even when I am not mystery shopping, every time I encounter a worker in a store, restaurant or other business establishment, the first thing I note is their name tag.

I just can't help it. There I am talking to them, or shaking hands, and my eye instantly searches for their name tag, or at least a name on a desk plate.

So many mystery shoppers have told me that they sometimes have trouble getting an employee's name, it makes me laugh that my knee-jerk reaction is always to grab a name when I don't need it. Such is the curse of being detail-oriented!

Based on popular request, here is one of my classic mystery shopping encounters, that I'm sharing once again since it has brought a chuckle to many a fellow mystery shopper:

The Name Tag Challenge

In Southern California, we have a popular salad buffet restaurant that also has many locations across the country. Recently, one of my schedulers notified me that this restaurant was now one of their accounts. The only thing better than going to a favorite place, is going there for free!

I don't do lots of restaurant shops since you don't really make much, if any, money on them, but if it's a place I like, fine. What I always find fascinating is that when you go to a business you always patronize, but now as a shopper, the experience does change because you are in researcher mode.

What I found most challenging was reading the name tags of the personnel behind the main salad bar because the top frame and sneeze guard were at a level that blocked my view of the workers. The first person was pretty easy. Salad bar attendant number two was giving myself and my husband the fits. She kept looking down with her body bent over where her name tag was while sweeping, and sweeping, and sweeping! Great--I have to get the worker whose goal is to have the world's cleanest salad bar floor!

I bent lower, acting like I needed to reach the broccoli-the worker is still sweeping. My husband went to the other side of the salad bar, she turns away just as he gets there. Does she turn in my direction? No, now she goes all the way down on the floor to investigate the broom bottom. We keep working at it as we fill our plates with salad items and move down the line; she keeps sweeping.

Finally, I decided to ask her a question, figuring I've got to see her name tag when she talks to me. Oh no! She stands with her hands on top of the broom as I speak with her--exactly in front of her name tag. As my mind raced for another idea, I finally hit pay dirt. I heard someone call out "Tanisha, I need you over here". As luck would have it, the mad sweeper's identity became known.

Tanisha, you are a credit to sweepers everywhere! And for the shoppers reading this--always stay alert, be creative and persevere.

Do you have a fun mystery shopping anecdote? Feel free to post it as a comment, or e-mail me CLICK HERE.

Have a great day and happy shopping !

Taking the mystery out of professional mystery shopping--Melanie Jordan http://www.mysteryshoppercoach.com/

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Copyright 2008 Melanie R. Jordan E-Publishing; The Name Tag Challenge is Copyright 2002 Melanie R. Jordan E-Publishing

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