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NEW! The Mystery Shopper’s Manual 7th Edition is Hot Off the Press!

The Mystery Shopper's ManualThe brand new 7th edition of The Mystery Shopper’s Manual is here!

More than an update, this is a completely new book. I reviewed every page of the 6th edition and made drastic changes. Although a few of the basics were retained with minimal revisions, several chapters were eliminated, others were revised, and a lot of new content was added. In fact, the word count of this edition is 40% greater than the last one!

The biggest addition? I greatly expanded the section on writing reports. In fact, there are now two full chapters on writing reports with lots of example comments and narratives.
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8 Lies Mystery Shop Scammers Love to Tell

scammers-lieScammers lie. It’s what they do. Anyone who is willing to steal thousands of dollars from you has no problem telling a couple of lies.

Honest people tend to take what scammers say at face value. They believe them, because as honest people their first instinct isn’t to lie and cheat people. To protect yourself from scammers, you have to understand that everyone doesn’t think and act as you do, and you cannot assume that random strangers on the Internet are honest and have your best interests at heart.

Here are eight lies that mystery shop scammers tell:

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Mystery Shopping Basics

mystery-shopping-basics

What is Mystery Shopping?

Mystery shoppers evaluate customer service, cleanliness and quality at all kinds of businesses. The mystery shopper reports are used by businesses to recognize star performers, determine training needs, monitor whether procedures are being followed, identify missed sales opportunities and even, in some cases, as one factor in determining raises and bonuses.Continue Reading

The FBI Says to Do Your Mystery Shop

fbi-agentA shopper called me recently and said she had been doing some mystery shops, but one of the assignments she received looked fishy. Well, if it looks like a fish and it smells like a fish, it is probably fishy.

This shopper (who asked that her name not be used) had received a check to do a mystery shop. She deposited the check and the money was in her account ready to be withdrawn and wired off, but she was having a bad feeling about it. She called to ask what I thought. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know what I told her: SCAM! Don’t wire the money, and let your bank know ASAP that you were the victim of an attempted scam. (Letting them know that you deposited a forged check that you thought was legitimate is better than letting them find out the check was fraudulent on their own.)

Because she was getting suspicious, she had been asking the scammer some questions. Shortly after, she got the email below:

US Fraud Unit <mail@fbi.gov> wrote:

FBI

Hello [shopper name removed],

We got a report just now from The Premier Mystery Shopping Company about your assignment.

We were told that certain questions were asked regarding the evalution program and the legitimacy of the company.

The Premier Mystery Shopping Company(Royal Care Customer Service Evaluation Team) is a registered and legal company under the United States government and we are also aware of the company’s ongoing secret shopper program. We have investigated this program and we have seen that it is legit and legal.

Please we will advice you to please carry out this assignment as soon as possible so you and the company can proceed with other assignment(s). We will not like to receive a report again regarding this issue.

Thanks.

*PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE*

==============================

Oh, geez, where do I begin with this?

Okay, I love the FBI logo in the email. That proves that it really came from the FBI. (Not.) And the email address: mail@fbi.gov. Uh, no. You can put any address is the return address or reply to fields. That means nothing. I also like the bit at the bottom about not replying to the email.

The entire email has a threatening tone to it.

  • We were told that certain questions were asked regarding the evalution program and the legitimacy of the company.  (How dare you ask questions!)
  • Please we will advice you to please carry out this assignment as soon as possible so you and the company can proceed with other assignment(s).
  • We will not like to receive a report again regarding this issue.  (And what happens if you do?)

By the way, I hope that the employees of the FBI have better spelling and grammar skills than the moron who wrote this fake email.

And how about this: We have investigated this program and we have seen that it is legit and legal. Really? The FBI goes around investigating every U.S. company to make sure they are “legit and legal,” then sends out emails to every person who asks a question about the company. Your tax dollars at work. Not happening.

When a scammer threatens you with arrest or legal action, do not take it seriously. It is not against the law to refuse to be scammed by immoral, illiterate jackasses.

Ignore the scammers and refuse to fall for their tricks or be intimated by their threats.

Is This Any Way to Get a Mystery Shopper Job?

stupid-walmart-crookA lot of odd news stories involve Wal-Mart or Florida. This one has both, with mystery shopping as the cherry on top.

Last Sunday, a man walked into the Wal-Mart in Delray Beach, Florida, stole some clothes and put them on over his own clothes, then headed to the manager’s office. He grabbed a trash bag and started putting electronics and other items into the bag.

Because Wal-Mart is not down with the whole shoplifting thing, they called the police. When they searched him the police discovered that, in addition to the items in the trash bag, the man had a loaded gun and a variety of drugs, including heroin.

The best part? This guy told police that he was in the manager’s office looking for a job application, because he wanted to be a mystery shopper, “because it seems like a cool job.” Well, yeah, if mystery shoppers could just take anything they want from a store, that would be a super-cool job.

For some reason, his explanation was not accepted by the police, and Alexander Weigard (age 20) is now a guest of the Palm Beach County Jail.

What Are Your Mystery Shopping Goals?

Is mystery shopping just a hobby to you, or is it a business? If you shop now and then as a lark, then having and meeting goals may not be important to you. However, if you consider mystery shopping a business (even if it is part-time), then you should have goals for what you expect to accomplish.
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Make 2016 Your Most Profitable Year Ever!

Mystery shopping gives you more control over your income than a typical j-o-b. You get to decide how you spend your time, the types of assignments you will accept, and how much money you will invest in your business. By making wise choices, you can make—and keep—more income. Here are some things that will make you more profitable in 2016 and beyond.Continue Reading

Writing Samples on Mystery Shopper Applications

Most mystery shopping companies will ask you to provide a writing sample as part of the application process. The writing sample is important because it gives them a lot of information about your abilities.

The obvious thing they get from a writing sample is that they can see if you have a good command of the language. Mystery shoppers need very good spelling, grammar and punctuation skills. They need to be able to construct sentences that make sense and communicate ideas clearly. Your writing sample lets them know if you have the writing skills they are looking for.

But there is something else they get from your writing sample. Continue Reading

May I Use Coupons on a Mystery Shop?

couponsQuestion from a mystery shopper:

I am scheduled to do a mystery shop at one of my favorite restaurants next week. Because we enjoy eating there, I am always looking for coupons to use there and I have a ‘buy one entree, get one free’ coupon that I was planning to use on the shop. Then I got to thinking that maybe I shouldn’t use a coupon on a mystery shop. What do you think? Should I use the coupon or not?

The answer to this question, as with so many others is, it depends. The issue of coupons may come up on many types of shops, from restaurants to retail to grocery to eyeglasses and more. Beyond whether you are allowed to use a coupon on a shop there are also questions about whether or not you want to use a coupon. Here is what you need to know.
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An Offer is Not an Assignment

Question from a mystery shopper: I got an email from a mystery shopping company about a restaurant mystery shop in my area. I went right out and did the shop, but I couldn’t figure out how to put in my report and get paid. When I sent them an email, they said they had not assigned the shop to me. I spent $30 and now they say they aren’t going to pay me. What can I do?Continue Reading