The Super Bowl is not only the championship game of the National Football League, it is a major television event. An estimated audience of nearly 100 million Americans watch the annual spectacle. That means that lots of people are at home in front of their televisions, not in the stores and the restaurants.
If you are not into football, it may seem as though game time would be a good time to take care of a few mystery shopping assignments. But you might want to think again.
A few years ago, I decided to do a shop of a casual dining restaurant during the Super Bowl. I had just gotten back from out of town, and Sunday night seemed like a good time to do it. We arrived during the game and there was no one else in the restaurant. No one but a few employees, that is. In listening to them talk, I learned that only one other customer had been there the entire evening. Oops. Not exactly a typical experience, so perhaps not a good time to do a mystery shop.
What would you do in that situation? The shop wasn’t due for a few more days, so I had a few options. One, we could leave and do the shop another time. Two, we could have dinner but come back to do the shop another day. Three, we could have dinner, then I could turn in the shop report and hope it would be accepted. (There wouldn’t be time to ask the scheduler about the situation before the report would have to be turned in.)
I decided that we had to eat anyway, so we had our dinner and completed the mystery shop. I went ahead and submitted the report, but I also sent an email to my scheduler.
In the email, I told the scheduler what had happened and that I had been completely surprised by the emptiness of the restaurant (which was true). Because the due date of the shop was still a few days away, I offered to do a re-shop of the location and submit the new report before the deadline if they could not accept the report I had already done.
What did the company decide? The scheduler thanked me for my offer of the re-shop, but said they decided to accept the report. One reason was that even with the two of us being the only customers in the restaurant, they hadn’t managed to get a perfect score! (They did OK, but not great.)
I have since heard from other shoppers who had similar experiences when shopping during the Super Bowl. In some cases, they were the only people in the business. That can lead to strange shop reports.
So what did we learn from this, boys and girls? We learned not to do a mystery shop when a large percentage of the population will be at home watching television. If you have any shops due around the time of the Super Bowl, I recommend that you not do them during the game.