I shop here...so can I shop here too?
June 28, 2020 8:49 PM   Subscribe

Would it be okay to perform a mystery shop at a store where I sorta kinda work at?

It's a mystery shop at a grocery store, and I've become fairly familiar with the store and the people who work there because I've started doing grocery delivery services (Instacart / Shipt) way back when the pandemic started. So for nearly 3 straight months I've been "working" there, in the sense that I've been fulfilling orders for these services, but I'm not an actual employee of these service companies or the store itself.

On the one hand I think it'd be ok for me to do a mystery shop with them, because after all I'm a human and I need to eat. I'd just be getting groceries for myself during the shop and not getting a grocery delivery order. I'd wear my normal clothing, as I do when I'm fulfilling orders. On the other hand, since the employees know me so well, my experience shopping them wouldn't be the same as that of a "typical" customer...which is what mystery shopping is about. Mystery shopping companies want to know what the average customer sees and experiences.

So, my question is: would it be ok for my to mystery shop a grocery store where the employees know me really well, where I kind of, but not really, work?

Bonus question: am I more likely to be singled out as a mystery shopper since I've been doing grocery deliveries?
posted by ditto75 to Work & Money (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
The mystery shopper job must have guidelines for shopping at places that you go to a lot and might receive special treatment at. I think I would follow those.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:12 PM on June 28 [2 favorites]


Is this an ethics question or a practical reality question?
posted by Alterscape at 9:13 PM on June 28 [3 favorites]


You should pose this question to your mystery shopping company. Every one I've ever shopped for would say no. (Also, the tasks that are assigned to mystery shoppers would likely not make sense for someone who knows the store well.)
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 9:37 PM on June 28 [6 favorites]


I would say yes, on the ethical basis that the mystery shopping corporation and Instacart/Shipt aren't exactly icons of morality, and so you should make a buck at their expense. They don't need to know what you do for your other side jobs.
posted by Grandysaur at 11:15 PM on June 28 [8 favorites]


Turn in perfect scores on all mystery shops. It's the ethical thing to do. They're used to burden employees and determine bonuses or lack thereof. Show solidarity to the workers, not the corporations. So yeah, totally do the mystery shop. Take the money, and don't have loyalty to companies in terms of how you determine your ethics or morality. Have loyalty to people.
posted by stoneweaver at 1:26 AM on June 29 [26 favorites]


Mystery shoping is scripted. You are instructed on key points that employees must parrot in order to receive a perfect score. It's not like a regular shopping trip.

As stated upthread, it's a way for corporate to look at metrics and not do the job of actually improving customer satisfaction. It's a way to keep minuscule bonuses away from workers.
posted by mightshould at 4:36 AM on June 29 [4 favorites]


Mystery shoping is scripted. You are instructed on key points that employees must parrot in order to receive a perfect score.

If you're enough of a regular that the staff recognizes you and relaxes and doesn't try every scripted thing they're supposed say, you'll be placing them in jeopardy if you report honestly.

Turn in perfect scores on all mystery shops. It's the ethical thing to do.

Sometimes. One of my former coworkers did mystery shopping when he lived in the deep south, not because he needed the money but because he was African American and frankly most of the companies took his reports of shoddy treatment because of his race more seriously than if he directly reported it from personal experiences. But yeah, if they treated him well he'd give them a perfect score even if they didn't jump through all the corporate hoops.
posted by Candleman at 9:42 AM on June 29 [2 favorites]


Ask yourself if you can be fair and accurate. I suspect you can.
posted by theora55 at 1:02 PM on June 29


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