Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Mystery shoppers

Mystery shoppers are the Stasi of the retail world; there's something fundamentally dishonest about pretending to be interested in making a purchase, recording the responses of the shop assistants, then giving marks out of a hundred. A lot of their observations are subjective, and often wrong. After one particularly bad mystery shopper result, we checked the visit out on the shops' CCTV, found the person was being less than truthful, and when we complained to the company, they sent another one out to assess us, and gave us top marks.
There's a whole load of questions we're supposed to ask customers in order to tick the mystery shopper boxes, which, quite frankly, make us sound like automatons. Sorry to keep you waiting. Did you find everything you were looking for? Would you like a carrier bag for these? Would you like to go on our mailing list? and Your receipt is your no quibble guarantee. We're also supposed to make small talk about the items the customer is buying. It's just so false, and for the customer, quite insulting.
I went into a couple of other shops after work yesterday, and found exactly the same thing - a check-out mantra intoned by bored sales assistants, bullied into doing this crap for fear of losing their bonuses. The till operatives were asking the customers (in a completely uninterested fashion) if they'd had a good day, and what had they been up to, and everybody was too polite to tell them that it was none of their bloody business.

I felt like shouting at them I AM NOT A MYSTERY SHOPPER, I AM A HUMAN BEING, but it's not their fault that they are made to act like human resources, as opposed to people who are members of personnel.

Back to work tomorrow. Did you find everything you were looking for..?

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