Mystery Shopper Update

Following my post last week about being mystery shopped as part of our nomination, I thought I'd update you because I am convinced I served one of the Mystery Shoppers earlier this week. I'm a bit twitchy and eager to impress at the best of times when someone new comes into the shop, but it's been much worse since last week. Anyone I don't recognise has been getting a full-on dose of my particular brand of caffeine-fuelled, slightly overenthusiastic bookselling. Other members of staff try to alleviate the effects by jumping on me or giving me suddenly-urgent menial jobs to do to stop me scaring off potential customers. Anyway, a very nice lady came into the shop on Wednesday, and here's the clues that led me to suspect she was in fact a Mystery Shopper:
  • Entered the shop, and spent at least one minute "taking stock" of her surroundings
  • Upon being greeted, she gave me a winning smile, but did not engage in any banter
  • Exuded air of confidence in the retail environment
  • Was dressed smart but not showy, business-like but not corporate
  • Carried smart business-like portfolio, or the kind that I imagine mystery shoppers would carry (containing mystery shopper questionnaires, review documents, feedback forms, training material, etc.)
  • Spent several minutes casually checking the shop
  • Selected a popular title off the fiction shelves from an author who doesn't do well in the shop normally (marking her out as "not a typical Mostly Books customer" and "a stranger in these parts" - that last expression to be said in Oxfordshire or West Country accent)
  • Asked tricky questions about recommendations for a 12-year-old nephew (unnamed). Fortunately, "books for 12 year old boys"would be my chosen specialist subject if I ever appeared on mastermind - ha ha!
  • Appeared slightly stunned once I'd loaded her with books, explained the loyalty card, gave her the current issue of the newsletter. Nevertheless, she clung determinedly to initial purchase selection, and simply said she'd have to "ask about which book her nephew might want".
  • When engaged in casual conversation during sales transaction about where she was from, said she was just "passing through Abingdon" on "business".

So what do you think? Prime candidate or what? Or perhaps I simply need to go and lie down... ...or alternatively spend a day stocktaking, which is (groan) what will be happening in the shop all day tomorrow...


  1. Andy Laties5:09 pm

    Well I would suggest that you stop worrying about how good you look and start putting your energy into sabotaging the competition. Why don't you send some artfully damning letters of complaint about the horrible treatment you received in each of your competitors' stores? You could handwrite these, in crotchedly scribbly lettering, and post them from villages around the country so as to throw the committee off the scent.

  2. I couldn't possibly do's not very British! And besides, if the other bookshops have worked as hard as we have to get on the shortlist, they deserve their places and we wish them the best of luck!

  3. Andy Laties6:47 pm

    Not very British?? Hey, I've read SHAKESPEARE!