Question from a mystery shopper:
I am puzzled by something I sometimes see when applying for shops. There will be a date range for completing the shop (e.g., It must be done between 3/1 and 3/10) and they will ask on what day I will do the shop if it is assigned to me.
They have already said it has to be between the first and the tenth. What do they want me to say? Do they want me to give a specific date? Or just say that I will do it between 3/1 and 3/10? Or can I just ignore the question?
What if the date I plan to do the shop changes after it is assigned to me? Do I need to let the scheduler know?
There are several reasons for asking on what date you will complete the shop. The best answer to give will depend on how the scheduler plans to use the information; however, there are some “safe” answers that will almost always be acceptable.
Let’s start with why they ask the question. Some schedulers will ask a question on the page where shoppers apply for the shop just to see if the shoppers are paying attention. If a mystery shopper fails to answer the question, they clearly are not good at reading and following directions, and probably can not be trusted with the shop. So the most important thing to do is answer the question.
But what should your answer be? Some schedulers would be fine with you saying that you could complete the shop anytime during the period of 3/1 to 3/10. Others want a specific date. They may want you to enter a specific date so that they can schedule other shoppers to go to the same location, and they need to have a number of days between visits. Or they may just want to see a date that is between 3/1 and 3/10, not before or after those dates. Or the scheduler may want to know when to expect the shop report and when to become concerned that perhaps the shop has not been done.
That brings up another point: If you say you will do the assignment on 3/1, you may be more likely to get it than if you say you will do the shop on 3/10. That is because schedulers prefer that shops are done early in the shop period. That way, if something goes wrong (e.g., you get sick or your car breaks down) there is time for you to reschedule the shop before the deadline, or for the scheduler to find another shopper, if necessary.
I sometimes hedge my bet by entering something such as, “I expect to complete the shop on 3/3, but could do it on other days, if required.” That lets the scheduler know that I plan to complete the shop on the 3rd, but if they need me to choose another date (e.g., to coordinate with a visit by another mystery shopper) I am willing and able to do so.
Without knowing how the scheduler plans to use the date information, it is hard to say if you must clear any changes with them. If your confirmation does not state that you will complete the shop on a certain date, then it may not be necessary to do the shop on that date. However, I would still advise the scheduler that you need to make a change and make sure that does not create a problem for her.
Bottom line: Always answer the question, give a specific date, and (optionally) you may also indicate that you are willing to do the shop other dates, if necessary.