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 Tips Needed: Registration essay for your best/worst shopping experience
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Jim
Apprentice

East Brunswick, NJ
USA
1 Posts

Posted - 05/12/2004 :  6:08:55 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I just got my MSPA silver cert, and have registered with 25 SASSIE companies; now I am starting to register with others.

They often ask to describe "your best/worst" shopping experience. As a male, I never thought of describing a shopping experience, other than the shorter, the better. How does this sound?:

"At my local department store, I wanted to purchase stain-repellent Dockers. I found a sales assistant right away who helped me select the perfect size and style. In addition, the item was on sale, and there was a short line to purchase it. The cashier was friendly, and just made a minimum amount of small talk, enough to show interest without holding up the sale."

Thanks,

Jim R

JanetW
Star Contributor

New Orleans, LA
USA
271 Posts

Posted - 05/12/2004 :  9:47:28 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Did the associate approach you? What was the greeting?
Were the Dockers arranged by size, length or color?
Was the display neat? Were the on hangers or folded?
Were prices displayed in additon to tagged price?
Were additional items offered?
Was a positive comment made about your choice?
Were all customers aknowleged promptly?
Did the associate make eye contact, smile, ask for method of payment?
Were you thanked?
If it was super efficient, how many minutes did it take?
What made you feel like a valued customer?
Would you return? Why?
The list goes on.
It's important to explain what made it the best or the worst beyond the monetary exchange for merchandise.

Good Luck

MSPS Gold Shopper since Nov. 2002
Shopping New Orleans and Gulfport--points in between and beyond.
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SandieHB
Valued Contributor

Huntington Beach, CA
USA
219 Posts

Posted - 05/12/2004 :  10:36:33 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Remember, you're supposed to be talking about the best experience, not just an average one. Give them an example of something the associate did that was more than what you expected.

As for the worst, I always describe a dining experience. I'm sure you can think of at least one restaurant where the food was inedible and the service was terrible!

Sandie
MSPA Gold Certified

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Mazie
Star Contributor

Forest Grove, OR
USA
468 Posts

Posted - 05/12/2004 :  10:38:09 PM  Visit Mazie's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
You could reword some things to enhance your essay. If you only say that the line is short then the client doesn't know if that means that the store was not very busy, or if the employees were efficiently processing a number of customers. You could also say that the cashier focused their attention on you and engaged you in friendly conversation during your transaction. I think that what a company is really looking for here is the quality of your writing and little adjustments could put you over the top. Don't forget to save your essays to Word so that you only have to type them once. Good luck!

Gold Certified shopper, editor, editor trainer.
Shopping the Portland Metro area, willing to travel.
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BethanyS
Apprentice

Maryland
USA
1 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2006 :  05:20:47 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Hi everyone! This is my first post. I have a full-time, Monday-Friday job, but would really like a job doing something I''m passionate about. Don''t we all? I''ve been reading a lot about mystery shopping, from these boards and the MSPA website, and think it would be a great way for me to use my free time and make a little extra money.

There''s a shop in a few weeks, that''s in my area, so it motivated me to sign up with a MS company. They require (as do a lot of MS companies) 200 words about your most recent shopping experience. Will you look over my writing sample to see if you think this is what they are looking for (and if it''s good enough)? (It''s 201 words.)




Just last Friday, I was searching on Craig’s List (http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/) and found a brand new, ten-drawer cherry wood dresser, for less than half of what it would cost at a furniture gallery. After my husband agreed to let me indulge in my craving for a stunning new piece of furniture, I reserved a ten-foot U-Haul truck to lug this fine piece to our home. Early the next morning, my husband and I drove twenty-five miles into the countryside for our beautiful bargain furnishing.

Murphy’s Law came to fruition when we found that the 200-pound dresser is housed on the second floor. I was very lucky, because Laurie’s fiancé, Sam, is a young, muscular police officer. He graciously offered to help my husband do all of the heavy lifting (for a small fee, of course). When we returned home, it was just my husband and I who had to carry the dresser into our house. After some struggling and grunting, we somehow managed to maneuver the bulky dresser into our bedroom.

I’m now sitting here in my bedroom, admiring my amazing hardwood bedroom furniture. I can only hope my next shopping adventure is as rewarding, but requires less exercise!




Thanks for your feedback!!
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LAlao
Star Contributor

LA
USA
299 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2006 :  05:43:19 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I keep excerpts from actual shops in a word document for this occasion. Just make sure to remove any identifying info by substituting (Name) or (Restaurant name). Since they're already spell and grammer checked, I just copy & paste. Soooo much easier than writing new ones all the time! I also keep paragraphs on why I'd be a good shopper, towns and zip codes I'd work, and general "Tell us about you" stuff.

Linda
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JanetW
Star Contributor

New Orleans, LA
USA
271 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2006 :  06:33:06 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Think of the times you went into look, but ended out buying because the interaction with the sales person gave you confidence (desire) in the product. Do you know how they did it? Figure it out!

Likewise, when will you never set foot in there again? What was the real reason?

MSPS Gold Shopper since Nov. 2002
Shopping New Orleans and Gulfport--points in between and beyond.
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Stephanie B
Member

USA
13 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2006 :  7:14:38 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Bethany - Is this the sample you are wanting to submit to the company as your most recent shopping experience? Buying something off Craigslist is not a retail shopping experience. Please see JanetW's post, she gives some of the best tips I've ever seen. It's really hard, but you can say a lot in 200 words if you're very careful. The shopping company absolutely does not care about your husbands opinion, how far you drove, or what happened at home either. I would start from scratch and pick a recent experience from a store, and try to leave out any information that doesn't have anything to do with the service you received there.
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NatalieH
Contributor

USA
8291 Posts

Posted - 04/06/2006 :  03:04:47 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Bethany, I thought your essay was intelligent, descriptive and well-written, and it conveys that you have strong writing skills. First and foremost, this is exactly what the companies are looking for. The main thing with these writing samples is to be able to display competent written communication abilities (i.e. proper grammar, punctuation, syntax, etc.). Unless a company specifies exactly HOW they want your essay to read, the style of writing and the actual details are of comparatively little importance. I would certainly not start over from scratch.

Some companies have clients that like their reports to read almost like a police report with zero personal opinion, and other clients prefer plenty of descriptive, flowery detail and a small dose of subjectivity. It all depends, and the instructions will always state what they are looking for with each individual job.
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MSJamey
Valued Contributor

McKinney, TX
USA
116 Posts

Posted - 04/06/2006 :  07:06:39 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
My "best" experience is an event that happened almost 20 years ago, now. It was a restaurant and to this day, I still compare the services I receive to that experience. My waiter turned a simple, single lunch into a sublime experience of etiquette, grace, precision, and perfection. I can't remember what I had to eat...but, I remember that time spent with that waiter that afternoon.
LOL, the service was so good, I paid more in a tip than the cost of the lunch. I dream of the day I can do that again.

I love writing that story out. It takes me right back to that half hour-45 minutes of being served like I was a queen. Granted, the story is more detailed than the brief above, and the idea is to give the reader the impression of being there, and watching the events happen. Some want a more subjective story in actual reports, but I think in the initial application, writing objectively, clear and consise is the way to go. I feel without a doubt, details are the thing they are looking for.

Funny thing....the "worst" experience? I actually had to dig up one of my old applications to get it...I don't even remember the experience. To this day, I only remember an employee who was nasty about something.

Jamey
I can see you.
MSPA Silver Certified
Queen of theater Standees!
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PamInCa
Star Contributor

CA
USA
6492 Posts

Posted - 04/06/2006 :  08:28:36 AM  Visit PamInCa's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Bethany, I found your post to be interesting. I read through it, waiting to see what was going to happen next. I think this is the type of writing companies will appreciate.

PamInCa
Author of: "The Essential Guide to Mystery Shopping"
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Lori CA
Valued Contributor

Los Angeles, CA
USA
105 Posts

Posted - 08/06/2006 :  6:15:03 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Hi Bethany--if you can briefly summarize a retail experience at a store in your area, this will be good practice for writing narratives for shop assignments. Janet W's points are important.
Attention to details such as nametags, descriptions, timings, etc. is vital. Try to practice these observations even when you're not on an assignment. Best wishes to you.

MSPA Gold Certified
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