When the U.S.S. Starship Enterprise crew recently went on shore leave, we received two requests asking to be scheduled for the same QSR coffee mystery shop at StarFleet Headquarters. One was from Captain James T. Kirk, and the other was from Commander Spock. Our scheduling staff like both chaps, and their requests came in at virtually the same time. So scheduling had to make a tough decision as to who would be better suited to carry out the shop. Let’s look at what makes a good mystery shopper, and each candidates’ qualifications.
Good mystery shop reporting involves non-partial observations and the direct reporting of facts. Your own preferences and emotions aren’t typically required when doing a mystery shop evaluation. Sometimes we will add a neuro-economic study to the mystery shop; in those instances, opinions and feelings matter greatly and will be asked for. But in most cases, we (and the client) want just the facts, without opinions or feelings. Spock’s non-emotional reporting is highly valued in the mystery shopping world, even more so than a case of Romulan Ale.Advantage: Spock
You really can’t secret shop if it’s obvious and no secret that you are the secret shopper! To be successful, you need to blend in and not draw attention to yourself. That way you can capture a typical experience. Jim Kirk is very good at this with his average “boy next door” appearance. However, Mr. Spock, with the slanted eyebrows, pointed ears and Moe-was-my-favorite-Stooge haircut, sticks out like a tribble on a velcro wall, and he would draw way too much attention to himself to blend in. Advantage: Kirk
Being Vulcan, Mr. Spock is very detail oriented. We knew from his prior shops that he pays close attention to instructions and the nuances of the client’s reporting requirements. He never strays from the guidelines, and the commander delivers a completed report with all that was requested, nothing less and no additions. Captain Kirk, on the other hand, tends to do what he thinks is best, despite what the guidelines say. That is a major problem in mystery shopping and very frowned upon. Going off guidelines caused the captain’s last shop to be invalid. As a result, we could not use the report, and we had to re-shop that Andorrian tattoo parlor. Kirk didn’t get paid and it lowered his rating. Big Advantage: Spock
Well we just talked about following directions to the letter, but there are times where above and beyond the directions, you might need to be a little creative. For example, what if you forgot the server’s name? Maybe it’s on your receipt. If not, how are you going to get it without blowing your cover? Maybe you say, did you say your name was Ma’k laV’a, because that’s my Klingon grandmamm’s name, and you don’t hear that name too often around these parts! Or maybe you say, I just might like to send in a comment card about your excellent service tonight. Can you please tell me your name again, You have to think! You have to be creative and improvise! Kirk is a great improviser, but Spock, not as much, especially if asked point blank, Are you a mystery shopper? (Remember Vulcans can not lie…). Advantage: Kirk
So we seem to have a tie. Both men have characteristics which make them good mystery shoppers and, yet, each also has a couple flaws that detract from them becoming one of the great ones.
Dr. Leonard McCoy was asked to give us his opinion on these two gentlemen and break the tie, but when approached, he was rather short and replied, “Dammit man, I’m a doctor, not a mystery shopper!