Friday, August 22, 2008

Let that be a lesson to me.

Sometimes I have days when I am convinced I am not cut out to be a mystery shopper. It happens. Best thing I can do is just fix what I can and move on.

Earlier this week, for instance, I had a shop to be done any time during the day. The requirements were so VERY simple. Just buy items to total a certain dollar amount before tax, pay for it with cash and listen for the cashier to say a single phrase. Simple.


I added up my purchases very, very carefully so when I got to the checkstand I'd have exactly two dollars and seventy five cents over the required amount. I have performed this shop before and I know there is mental pressure at the checkstand. The interaction must be timed. I must get the cashier's name and full description and be able to quote exactly what is said. All while looking like just another shopper.

I didn't count on an unadvertised special.

The total was over the dollar amount by three dollars and something, so I checked it off in my brain as being okay and moved on. But when I got to my car and looked at the receipt, it was thirteen cents short of the pre-tax total required by the shop. There were two happy little marks on the receipt indicating that I paid less than the shelf ticket for those two items. Oh boy! An unadvertised special! What a treat!

Thirteen cents invalidated my whole shop.

Fortunately, I was able to go back later that day and make a single purchase over the required sub-total. I saved the receipt, filed my report and returned the item at a later date. Of course, if I was paying proper attention to the subtotal, a package of Tic Tacs would have spared me the headache. But, with all the other things vying for my notice, I slipped. Not sleeping the night before, having a child sick at home, hubby being away on a business trip, two prior shops and two following shops that day, these things all played a part in my lack of attentiveness. But it was my job and I blew it.

And no, I didn't even ask if the mystery shopping company would accept thirteen cents less. I signed up for a certain dollar amount and if I can't fulfill that requirement, I shouldn't agree to perform the shop. Was it my fault the items were marked down? No, but being 100% would have kept me from the reshop.

Note to self: Get to 100% before starting a shop.

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