As mystery shoppers, we are often asked to present a specific scenario, and we may have to “act” the part of a customer much different from ourselves. However, the mystery shoppers described in a recent story in the New York Times seem to have taken this to new levels.
De Gelderse Roos is a psychiatric complex in the Netherlands, about 40 miles from Amsterdam. They hired a consulting firm to provide feedback on conditions in a locked ward in the facility, by placing mystery shoppers posing as patients in the hospital. The “undercover patients” were psychiatric nurses who were given detailed back stories and extensive training before being admitted to the facility. And just in case things got out of hand, they even had a “safe word” to use when communicating with the actors playing their family members.
Although the typical mystery shopper would never be asked to do such a potentially dangerous assignment, it is interesting to learn about the ways mystery shopping is being used to make conditions better in all kinds of places.