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Number 4 on my list of top 5 bad mystery shopping experiences happened after I had been shopping for about 6 or 7 years.  At that point, the Beetle was 2 years old.  I left him with my parents, and I headed out for a day of money making.

My main assignment for the day was an apartment complex.  I was to act as though I was a single female with no children who was looking for an apartment.  No problem, I thought.  I took off my wedding band and covered the white mark with a different ring.  At that time, I could still pass as single and childless.  (I’m pretty sure, now, my appearance screams “MOM!” very loudly.)

Before I headed into the apartment complex, I had my story straight.  I was a young professional in need of an apartment near my work in downtown Tampa.  No problem.  I could handle this.  I was practically super woman!  I walked into the apartment leasing office and met the agent.  She was very friendly, and we chatted for a while.  We talked about where I worked, why I was looking for an apartment and how soon I needed one.  I had passed this portion, the most difficult part of the assignment, with flying colors.  The agent offered to take me on a tour of the property.  All I had to do was “Oh” and “Ah” over an apartment and decline her offers to sign a lease that day, and I was home free.  Then, she asked the question that still rings in my head:  “Would you mind if we took your car?  My golf cart is in the shop.”  

As I heard myself say that would be fine, I was actually panicking and trying to come up with a cover story.  My reality, so different from the cover story I had just created, was that I drove a mini-van that was full of toys and Cheerios and gooey substances on all surfaces.  I walked very slowly as we headed to the parking lot.  My head was spinning.  How in the world was I going to explain this?  “Think, Al, think,” I thought, but I didn’t listen. (And, actually, I call myself Alison.)

We reached the mini-van, and I clicked the locks open.  As the agent got in and looked around, I saw an expression cross her face.  Without missing a beat, I said, “Oh, you’ll have to excuse this mess!  I drive a mini-van because I travel so much for business.  It makes it easier to transport clients when I’m out of town.”  She said, “Do you transport babies?”  Without blinking, I said, “What?” and turned around and looked, as though I was surprised there was a car seat back there.  “Oh no!  I forgot that was even back there!  I keep my nephew a lot on the weekends.  He is with me so much, sometimes it feel like he lives with me!”  She asked me how old he was, and I hesitated, as though I could not tell her the child’s age up to the very hour and minute. (This was my first born, you know.  I knew every statistic about him.)  Then, I assured her that once I moved, I would not have my nephew staying with me.  In fact, my sister was mad at me that she was having to find other child care, but I was relieved.  I didn’t even like kids to begin with.

Apparently the agent bought the story.  I’m sure I was bright red and sweating through this conversation, but I never got any indication that she doubted me.  She did not attempt to have me sign a lease, as she was supposed to, so I didn’t think my mystery shopping cover had been blown.  If it had, she would have done everything perfectly.  That was my first experience of truly acting during a mystery shopping assignment.  I should have been in drama in school.  Who knew?  Perhaps I missed my calling. -Al


 


Comments

08/27/2016 2:53am

We do shopping for events and for special days like marriages Eid birthday etc. But we should that care for waste of money without any reason because mostly we spend our money in extra shopping so avoid this habit and save money for future.

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I know that there are many questions that I need to ask myself before making a purchase. I am obsessed with school supplies and stationary. I am guilty of buying things that I thought I’d need at least once in my life. I remember the dress I swore I'd wear every day for the rest of my life, but I ended up wearing only once. This time, I make sure that I won't spend a single dollar on a shirt that I'd never wear.

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