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 Book: The Mystery Shopper's Manual by Cathy Stucker
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MissAnita
Member

Greensboro, NC
USA
25 Posts

Posted - 07/05/2003 :  7:29:23 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Has anyone purchased the book by Cathy thru the MSPA workshops. Was it worth the money and informative?

The Mystery Shopper's Manual; Cathy Stucker

MSPA Gold Certified

DM Griffin
Valued Contributor

Hayward, CA
USA
112 Posts

Posted - 07/05/2003 :  7:43:48 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have not purchased this book, but I have been considering it. I would be interested in opinions from others who have purchased it as well. I found that you can get it for a much better price on Amazon.com. You can buy new copies for as little as $18.25, which is considerably less than what it is being sold for at the workshops or on other sites.

Diane
Shopping the East Bay in Northern California
MSPA Gold Certification: crcaxm
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.Denese In Denver
Inactive

Las Vegas, NV
USA
70 Posts

Posted - 07/05/2003 :  8:27:38 PM  Visit .Denese In Denver's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
For anyone who hasn't been there yet, Cathy also has a great site:

http://www.idealady.com/tmsm.htm

enjoy

Denese
MSPA Gold Certified Shopper
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Catherine777OC
Contributor

Lake Forest, CA
USA
66 Posts

Posted - 07/05/2003 :  8:29:12 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I purchased this book after conducting my first couple of shops just over three months ago. I found it to be a fairly basic overview of the profession, and I think it would be good to give to someone who is starting out or has expressed an interest in mystery shopping.

Catherine
MSPA Gold Certified
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Karen in Columbus
Member

Columbus, OH
USA
32 Posts

Posted - 07/05/2003 :  11:56:27 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I bought a copy of the book and I think that if you have already successfully completed a shop then you probably won't find it all that helpful. It would, however, be immensely useful to someone who is curious about MSing and doesn't know where to start. My bet is that if you're here, you already know everything that is in the book.

Silver Certified z2nfa5
Cheerfully shopping for you in Columbus and surrounding cities!
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CathyStucker
Contributor

Sugar Land, TX
USA
75 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2003 :  08:39:16 AM  Visit CathyStucker's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Obviously, I think "The Mystery Shopper's Manual" is the best book out there--I wrote it! So I'm not the most objective person on this subject. It might be useful to know a little background, though.

I wrote the first edition of the Manual in 1995, to answer the questions I had about mystery shopping: what it is, why it is used, how much it pays, what qualities do good shoppers possess, etc. One thing that has made the Manual different from most (all?) of the other books out there is that I include information from company owners. They told me about the industry, what they look for in shoppers, and more.

The Manual was intended to be basic enough that even someone unfamiliar with mystery shopping could learn enough to get started and be successful; however, many experienced shoppers have told me that they picked up lots of useful tips and ideas. The Manual gives a realistic view of mystery shopping, which is why it has received the endorsement of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA)--the only book to receive their endorsement.

If you want a preview of the Manual, I offer a free email course on mystery shopping through my web site. (There is no cost at all, and I do not share your email address with anyone.)

I've enjoyed meeting many of you at the MSPA Gold Certification Workshops, and I'm looking forward to meeting more of you in Boston, Phoenix, Los Angeles and beyond!

Cathy Stucker
Author of "The Mystery Shopper's Manual"
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JackieInTX
Contributor

Houston, Texas
USA
59 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2003 :  09:53:39 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Hello,
I checked out the book from the public library. I found it to be a wonderful tool for me as a new MShopper. I believe the tips and the advice help me to be more objective and state just the facts in my writing. I scored a 10 on my first Sassie shop and will give most of the credit to reading the book. It was very helpful, I highly recommend it. Jackie
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DM Griffin
Valued Contributor

Hayward, CA
USA
112 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2003 :  7:26:07 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Cindy,

WOW!! I did not see some of those other books that were selling for astronomical amounts of money, that is just crazy! I am with you...writing our own book is starting to sound like a GREAT idea~~

Diane
Shopping the East Bay in Northern California
MSPA Gold Certification: crcaxm
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Ray Sola
Volition.com Staff

Prescott, AZ
USA
3099 Posts

Posted - 08/13/2003 :  1:47:42 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I got an autographed copy at the MSPA Gold and finished going through it this weekend. It think it is quite worth the price, especially for someone just starting out who has lots of questions and needs all the answers in one place.

The only book for mystery shoppers endorsed by the Mystery Shopping Providers Association.

ciao,
Ray

MSPA Gold Certified
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ShAndrews
Inactive

Inland Empire, California
USA
480 Posts

Posted - 08/13/2003 :  2:11:56 PM  Send ShAndrews an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by CathyStucker

I've enjoyed meeting many of you at the MSPA Gold Certification Workshops, and I'm looking forward to meeting more of you in Boston, Phoenix, Los Angeles and beyond!
For those of you who didn't know this, Ms. Stucker was the speaker (teacher?) at the MSPA Gold in Long Beach. If her book is anything like her method of teaching, I am sure it has valuable information in it.

Shannon R. Andrews
MSPA Gold Certified
Shopping the Inland Empire, Southern California
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Cath
Star Contributor

USA
703 Posts

Posted - 08/13/2003 :  9:40:39 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Cathy was also the main speaker at the Boston Gold certification. She even autographed the books for those who bought them that day. She was very interesting to listen to and had some helpful ideas, as did many of the shoppers. We certainly didn't start snoozing at that conference.

MSPA "Go To Shopper" 2006
MSPA Gold Certified, July 2003.
MSPA Gold Certified Shoppers Panel, Washington, DC, November 7, 2003.
Specializing in hotels, resorts and restaurants since 2002.
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SherryShopper
Star Contributor

Orlando, FL
USA
490 Posts

Posted - 09/04/2003 :  8:09:25 PM  Visit SherryShopper's Homepage  Send SherryShopper an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
Are there any MS books available that "specialize" in the area of writing your reports, especially the narratives? I mean one small chapter on this subject is not what I had in mind. Most reports require a summary, a lengthy narrative, or even comments on every question of the report. Writing is a skill, and I would like to get better at this porting of MS'ing. Any suggestions???

~*~ Sherry ~*~
sfox@yourwebness.com
MSPA Gold Certified #bzxeut
Shopping:
Orlando, FL and surrounding areas
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Cindy in Indiana
Star Contributor

South Bend, IN
USA
277 Posts

Posted - 09/05/2003 :  06:02:40 AM  Send Cindy in Indiana an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
I had the pleasure of hearing Cathy speak (teach) at the MSPA Gold workshop in Toledo, OH. She has a lot of knowledge to offer--I am sure the book is certainly worth the money for someone just starting to mystery shop.

Cindy
MSPA Gold Certified #hp4ksf


Happily shopping Northern Indiana and Southwestern Michigan since 2000.
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MaryLou
Inactive

East County / San Diego, CA
USA
915 Posts

Posted - 09/05/2003 :  08:06:25 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SherryShopper

Are there any MS books available that "specialize" in the area of writing your reports, especially the narratives? I mean one small chapter on this subject is not what I had in mind. Most reports require a summary, a lengthy narrative, or even comments on every question of the report. Writing is a skill, and I would like to get better at this porting of MS'ing. Any suggestions???
I have been shopping for a long time (almost 5 years). I learned more from reading the information provided to me by Grantham, Orilio, and Associates than I have learned from all other sources combined. If you can satisfy them, all other reports are a piece of cake. You can apply online, and they are listed on Volition's List of Mystery Shopping Companies (affectionately known as "Ray's List".)
I wouldn't be against buying Cathy's Book if anyone is considering it. She is quite knowledgeable and gets "the big picture".
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JenyG
Trainee

Largo, FL
USA
5 Posts

Posted - 09/05/2003 :  1:36:10 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Hi Sherry,
I find to be most successful with a rhythmic pentameter, j/k (geek humor)
If you look in any book store you can pick up a creative writing book. If you go to a collage type book store you can get a style book , used mostly by journalism students, this spells the different style formats. Personally I prefer AP style. (Associated Press). Very helpful in any writing situation,or just an interesting read if your into that.

Jena, in FLA
MSPA Silver Certified
St.Pete, Clearwater, Tampa & every where in between!
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SherryShopper
Star Contributor

Orlando, FL
USA
490 Posts

Posted - 09/05/2003 :  11:04:50 PM  Visit SherryShopper's Homepage  Send SherryShopper an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
Mary Lou---
Thanks I just signed up with them after reading your post. I do appreciate it!

Jenny---
Okay, cool. I never thought of "traditional" writing books. I guess sometimes the obvious is a bit TOO obvious to see! There is a B&N around the corner, so I can check it out tomorrow. Thanks bunches!

~*~ Sherry ~*~
sfox@yourwebness.com
MSPA Gold Certified #bzxeut
Shopping:
Orlando, FL and surrounding areas
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Eileen
Member

USA
30 Posts

Posted - 11/06/2003 :  1:39:03 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Yes, I have bought the book, and it has some very good information in it.
Another good publication that I found is the Ultimate Guide to Mystery Shopping that Reality Check Mystery Shoppers put out. It is only 6 dollars and had some very interesting information about the industry in it. It is more of a guide, not really a book though.

If your serious about mystery shopping, I would get as many sources as you can. I havent found a book or guide yet that I didn't get something out of.
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Harry J
Contributor

Smyrna, TN
USA
87 Posts

Posted - 11/06/2003 :  1:48:08 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
It's not specific to mystery shopping narratives, but anyone interested in improving their writing generally should check out Strunk & White's "Elements of Style." "White" is E.B. White of "Charlotte's Web" fame. The book is partly a guide to grammar and usage, but also includes great sections on tightening up one's writing style in order to write clearly, consisely, and interestingly.

Harry
Newly shopping in middle Tennessee
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PamInCa
Star Contributor

CA
USA
6557 Posts

Posted - 11/06/2003 :  8:24:42 PM  Visit PamInCa's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Marylou, you are so right about Grantham and Orilio. I could not believe the size of the manual. I heard they are in the process of minimizing it. It is certainly a full detail oriented company.

PamInCa
Author of: "The Essential Guide to Mystery Shopping"
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ElaineHN
Star Contributor

Georgia
USA
462 Posts

Posted - 03/02/2004 :  12:08:33 PM  Visit ElaineHN's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
As I read through this thread I was planning to post and recommend Strunk and White's The Elements of Style ... but I see Harry already beat me to it! So I'll just second his recommendation and mention that it is a VERY easy to use, small book (so don't be intimidated by it) but it is chock full of good info!

Another really good one for business report writing (and academics, and media) is Hodges Harbrace Handbook ... or just plain ole Harbrace's to most writers!

(And NO! Don't take my informal message board writing style and over use of ellipses as a negative mark against either of these great books ... I definitely don't Strunk my message board posts! )


Elaine

~*~ Shopping West Georgia (Carrollton, Douglasville, Newnan, etc.) & Metro Atlanta ~*~
MSPA Gold Certified Shopper
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MsRobynM
Member

Godley, Illinois
USA
34 Posts

Posted - 03/22/2004 :  9:54:07 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I am a "newbie", as I only very recently come across the idea to become a mystery shopper. I read a small handbook that I purchased online. It was a good start for me, because it directed me to the MSPA website and it was because of that website that I found Volition. I did purchase the Mystery Shoppers Manual because it seemed to be so highly regarded and I felt comfortable that the author knew what she was talking about. I am glad that I purchased it, since the information is all in one place. You could however, find much of the same information by browsing around the internet.

Robyn
I love to shop!
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