What “The Walking Dead” can Teach us about Mystery Shopping!

AMC’s Easter Sunday Season 3 finale of mega-hit, “The Walking Dead”, the highest rated drama in the history of cable television, scored another ratings best when 12.4 million viewers tuned in, with 8.1 million viewers in the key 18-49 demographic. Not only is the show crazy popular, but there are some great mystery shopping tips you can pick up just from watching the example the characters set on the show.

So if you haven’t seen TWD, get your Netflix on and get caught up and come back to read this…but if you are a veteran, let’s go!

Walkers do not Make Great Mystery Shoppers.

What could be a worse model for a great mystery shopper than a walker? They draw attention to themselves, they are very predictable and they so obviously have only one thing on their mind. That’s like the total recipe for a bad shopper! Great shoppers are discreet and don’t stand out in the crowd. They have to act like normal people, not stereo-typed and predictable, and not obsessive about getting a look at a name tag or trying to remember all the departments to hit. A great shopper is cool, relaxed, ordinary,….and blends in. Also not a good idea to walk on the side of your foot, wear tattered clothes or attempt to eat anyone’s entrails during the shop…those may also give you away.

Only Take on the Assignments that You can Handle.

That poor Andrea…she was trying to save the whole world! She was in over her head for that assignment. She might have been more successful if she had started with a smaller project, but trying to keep Woodbury together and keep the prison safe was too much and she made some bad mistakes which ultimately made her an appetizer for Milton, and things went downhill from there. Not all projects are the same; and a great shopper works their way up to the more complex projects over time. There is a big difference between doing a quick service restaurant shop and doing a new home builder or education enrollment shop. If Andrea had maybe stuck to oil changes (and yes, we have plenty of those to request, please call scheduling!), she might have later been able to enjoy an upscale dining experience later on. But in her present state, she is no longer eligible for any future shops.

Follow Instructions!

How about that crazy Morgan shooting up that little town, all holed up in his building? He done lost his mind! But things might have been different if he had followed Rick’s instructions and got up at dawn with the walkie-talkie like Rick did, so Rick could have guided him to safety. Great mystery shoppers follow their directions to the letter, and call the scheduler to ask a question about anything that leaves them feeling unsure. That makes them successful, and ensures that the shop will go off as planned. So make sure you understand the directions and follow them closely. That way, you won’t go crazy, and you won’t drive your scheduler crazy!

Pay no Attention to the Lady in White!

Remember how Rick kept seeing Lori after she died? That wasn’t real. It was a distraction, in fact. As a great shopper, you pay attention to what matters to the client. If it’s not on the guidelines, don’t be distracted by it. For instance, if you are doing a dining shop and the client wants to know how long it took to get the food delivered, and if your entree was cooked properly, but is not interested in scoring desserts, don’t go there in your narrative…stick to writing about the entree. The analysis of the dessert may be written in superlative prose, but if the client is not interested in your thoughts on the dessert, you just wasted your time and some editor’s time, who will delete your review faster than Shane ran home to tell Lori that Rick was a goner and that they needed to immediately start shacking up for Carl’s sake!

Timing Matters.

Pay close attention to when a shop can begin and when it must be submitted by. Check the appropriate hours to do the shop. Timing matters. If you knew Phillip Blake back in the day, he was a pretty chill guy, with a nice wife and sweet daughter Penny. But today, the Governor has no wife, no daughter, no girl friend and no right eye! Plus now he literally is into finger food; just ask Merle. Timing matters.