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 Mystery Shopping a department store the day after Thanksgiving! (Black Friday)
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Julie_WA_Writer
Star Contributor

Western, Washington
USA
1889 Posts

Posted - 11/27/2004 :  01:36:06 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Ohmigosh!! First, find a parking spot closer than half a mile away from the mall. Make sure to lock it and leave some sort of flashing light in it so the purchases you've already made won't be as attractive to the holiday thieves.

Try finding an available associate in a department where 26 bargain-hunting women are poring through racks of sale items. Then present a scenario and pretend to be interested while four other customers are waiting to yak at her. Try and find her nametag under the mounds of clothes she is trying to restock while talking to you. What were the rest of the associates in the department doing? You mean, other than pulling their hair out and wishing they had never quit college? Remember all the details until you can duck out of the store into the mall and write them down. Now do it over and over and over and over and over, seemingly ad infinitum. Don't forget to make a purchase -- the return is on your own time.

All this for the princely sum equivalent to a burger shop and a stop for gas.

Will somebody please slap some sense in to me at the BEGINNING of next November?
[purple]


ADMIN NOTE:
Please keep this thread about doing a Mystery Shop on Black Friday.

KFoy
Contributor

Vancouver, WA
USA
97 Posts

Posted - 11/27/2004 :  01:44:07 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Julie,

So sorry you had a bad day. I won't even go out of the house till after the sales are over. I used to work for Toys R Us so I know what this day is like. Wouldn't catch me dead in any store the day after Thanksgiving or Christmas. I've seen women fight over the toys. Remember the Cabbage Patch craze? No way, not me. The sales nor the pay isn't worth the hassle. Hope your day was better after you left the mall.


Katherine
Shopping SE Washington and Portland, OR, Gold Certified, SQM level 9 shopper
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Elsie
Star Contributor

Camuy, Puerto Rico
USA
444 Posts

Posted - 11/27/2004 :  02:45:17 AM  Visit Elsie's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Wow I would never do a shop on Black Friday, no matter how much you pay me. I really don't care for the "ladies" smacking themselves silly for the last pair of batteries. Some people need some serious help.

Shopping Puerto Rico! I wanna merchandise too. Help!
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AdAora
Star Contributor

Deep in the heart of, TX
USA
3770 Posts

Posted - 11/27/2004 :  04:48:03 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
May I remind you now not to do any shop in the mall the week before Xmas also?

Last year, my ex-DH scheduled my daughter's 10th birthday party at the mall skating rink two weekends before Xmas. What a nightmare! Even I was late to the party because I couldn't find parking anywhere. Some of her friends didn't show because their moms actually gave up and went home.

Gold certified in TX
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.Kenthe Sub
Inactive

WI
USA
658 Posts

Posted - 11/27/2004 :  05:21:00 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I would never do a shop on Black Friday. I took our dog into PetSmart (Madison, WI) for grooming and the Best Buy 2 stores away had so many vehicles in their lot that some even drove up on the grass to park! The same with the Circuit City across the way and the large Menard's (competitor with Home Depost) was packed. I did get some faucets in Menards during the 3 hours to kill while the dog was washed and groomed) and was glad to get out. Needless to say once the dog was done we dead-headed home.

I worked a holiday season 6 years ago at Circuit City; people were lined up when the doors opened at 7 AM (now they opened at 5 or so to keep pace with Best Buy) and the rudeness of the crowd, etc. was incredible. People fighting over the cheap items to lure the crowds, etc. Sure a sad commentary on how Christmas is for so many.
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DonnaS_MA
Contributor

Townsend, MA
USA
96 Posts

Posted - 11/27/2004 :  05:42:29 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I must have lucked out! I did two department stores (same store different locations) and it was pretty quiet. I had the luxury of waiting until later in the day. It was so quiet that in one store there were cashiers waiting at the end of their aisles and asking people if they were ready to check out.

Gold Certified
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VickiA
Star Contributor

Rapid City, SD
USA
845 Posts

Posted - 11/27/2004 :  07:16:40 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Wow, I am sorry you had such a horrible day! I had my first Black Friday experience yesterday and will never go out on that day again. If I would have been on a shop, I would have left when the line to the check out was a mile long. I made it in and out of one store (for an office chair ) in 2.5 hours!

Silver Shopper ID# 3akxzg Shopping Rapid City South Dakota and surrounding areas!
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Sandi In Mississippi
Star Contributor

MS
USA
1285 Posts

Posted - 11/27/2004 :  07:23:30 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
On a high note, this year the doors of our local Walmart were not knocked down flat by herds of shoppers. Year before last every single door was burst out and there was a near-riot as people leapt to get out of the way. Last year only two doors were broken out of their tracks. Management had solved the problem by only unlocking those two doors and barricading the others. My guess is they didn't want to have to pay to get all doors fixed and figured the shoppers were stupid enough to try to squeeze through whatever they opened. L0L.

But 2004, a contentious year by anyone's standards, resulted in -0- doors broken out, even with the $4.99 toasters and $29.97 DVDs! At our house we enjoyed hot chocolate and cheese toast while reading the paper and looking at the boxes of Xmas decorations drug down from the attic. I would rather mate with a wild bull elephant and his second cousin than shop on Black Friday.

Can't imagine mystery shopping on such a day. Actually, I've come up with my own little 'gifting' system for some of the schedulers who have been especially nice to me. Since I slow down my business during December I look for shops in tiny little towns a bit further than I usually travel. Those places are hard to fill and always linger on the boards. I just sign up for a few of them and chalk off the net loss to charity for the scheduler who won't have to spend the week before Christmas begging for a shopper. Also, it's surprising what odd gifts and decor you can find in some of these little hamlets! The season is upon us.

MSPA Gold Shopper
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MichelleNJBeachGirl
Contributor

Brick, NJ
USA
81 Posts

Posted - 11/27/2004 :  09:04:53 AM  Send MichelleNJBeachGirl an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
I had a wonderful black Friday! I started the day off with 2 trailer checks for "Christmas with the Kranks", which was a great movie! Then I went on to do 3 Target's... which have got to be the best shops on the planet, even if they are done on Black Friday! I took the kids out for some dinner, dropped them off at the gymnastics "open gym" from 7-9pm and did 2 more trailer checks to end my day. I love shopping!

Michelle, NJ (Monmouth and Ocean Counties)
MSPA GOLD July 2003 Boston
Certification #nth1th
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.StephanieA
Inactive

Redmond, WA
USA
1816 Posts

Posted - 11/27/2004 :  09:08:24 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by DonnaS_MA

I must have lucked out! I did two department stores (same store different locations) and it was pretty quiet. I had the luxury of waiting until later in the day. It was so quiet that in one store there were cashiers waiting at the end of their aisles and asking people if they were ready to check out.
We must have done the same shops. I had no problems with mine either. The girl at the second one was so cute as she did everything right and was so happy. I waited until 2:30 PM to start mine.

Shopping WA especially, Redmond, Kirkland, Bellevue, Woodinville and from Tukwila to Lynnwood.
MSPA Gold
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WReichart
Apprentice

Orlando, FL
USA
4 Posts

Posted - 11/27/2004 :  09:12:31 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I did a shop yesterday during Black Friday, it was a retail shop. When I first scheduled it, I didn't at first think about it being the busiest shopping day in the U.S. during the year. But I can say that it actually went much better than I expected. This shop required that I go later in the day, therefore I suspect that most of the bargain hunters had since left the store and were all taking naps (since they probably got up at 4am to wait in line). The crowds at around noon were modest and I actually walked up to an empty check-out lane (of course it helps when every check-out lane is open and full staffed). I would do it again, but with fear and trembling - you never know what you might actually face.

William
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Julie_WA_Writer
Star Contributor

Western, Washington
USA
1889 Posts

Posted - 11/27/2004 :  11:06:45 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I did a couple of Targets, too. They were WONDERFUL! That's really a plum of a shop. Offer to pick up some of the scheduler's 'stinkers' to be guaranteed the Christmas ones. He's happy to bundle the plums with the lemons.

In truth, this particular shop would've been awful on ANY day. The requirements had changed since the last time I did it, and there was WAY too much work for the money. Should've paid AT LEAST double, with reimbursement.

I have always enjoyed shopping on Black Friday (I first made my list from http://www.BF2004.net), and did 80% of my Christmas shopping yesterday. But with the exception of Target, I won't take any mystery shops on it again.

“Great empires are not maintained by timidity.” Tacitus
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DebberTX
Member

Hickory, nc
USA
24 Posts

Posted - 11/27/2004 :  11:08:46 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I am new to mystery shopping but tells me that December 26th will be another wild and crazy day!

Silver Certified
Shopping Charlotte, Hickory, Statesville
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RichardM
Contributor

Imperial Beach, CA
USA
56 Posts

Posted - 11/27/2004 :  1:41:17 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I did a shop the day before Thanksgiving this year. It was in one of those giant supermalls where you have to call the store and find out their exact location in the mall.After driving around 30 min+ to find a place to park I fought the crowd and did the shop..What did I learn from this? to stay away from the big malls from before Thanksgiving until after Xmas. I'll stick to the shops in the little strip malls for now and you in my area that want to do the malls, knock yourself out!!!

MSPA Silver Certificate
Shopping San Diego County Ca.
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KelliW
Contributor

Little Rock, AR
USA
71 Posts

Posted - 11/27/2004 :  2:11:53 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SandiInMississippi

Can't imagine mystery shopping on such a day. Actually, I've come up with my own little 'gifting' system for some of the schedulers who have been especially nice to me. Since I slow down my business during December I look for shops in tiny little towns a bit further than I usually travel. Those places are hard to fill and always linger on the boards. I just sign up for a few of them and chalk off the net loss to charity for the scheduler who won't have to spend the week before Christmas begging for a shopper. Also, it's surprising what odd gifts and decor you can find in some of these little hamlets! The season is upon us.
Sandi in Mississippi - that is very sweet of you. I know some people may think of it as too much of a loss. But I assume you are surrounded by the tiny towns like I am, so I totally understand where you are coming from. This is the perfect time to show how much we appreciate our schedulers. That's neat holiday spirit.

As for me and shopping on Black Friday? No way, no way, no way. I have shopped for real and know how much of a nightmare it is. So I leave the house, WAY later - just to get a newspaper!! I have found that the wild crowd goes home early since they were up early. And the mall - won't touch it with a 10 foot pole!

Silver Certified & about to go GOLD!
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CandyA
Member

USA
43 Posts

Posted - 11/27/2004 :  2:42:51 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have never shopped the day after Thanksgiving or had the desire to. But a scheduler called me around noon and needed a shop done in the Mall and the pay was good. I was able to park in the first spot by the door and get right in. Did the shop, took advantage of two bargain items for myself (there went the shop pay) and ended the evening with an easy Bar shop with enough shop fee to make up for what I had spent earlier.
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SAnne
Contributor

WA
USA
80 Posts

Posted - 11/27/2004 :  3:48:31 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Hi well I was the one behind the counter from 7am- 5pm yesterday. I hope I gave good customer service if you shopped me. I was in a good mood and most of my customers were very patient and kind. The only person I lost my temper with was another associate. She had to take every number off the customer's driver's licence. Then she re-wrote in on 4 mall certificates. I came unglued as I was waiting for the register and there was a line of people waiting to be helped. I told her to take the certificates and write all the info down later. She didn't like my opinion. Well I just hope you don't get the diamond bracelet from JCPenney's doorbuster. See you on December 26th!!!

MSPA silver certified!

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AShuman
Star Contributor

Gastonia, NC
USA
448 Posts

Posted - 11/27/2004 :  3:52:24 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
All I scheduled myself for were some out of the way gas shops. It was actually rather nice, just driving around and not "shopping!"

Alison
MSPA Gold 2006
Shopping Greater Charlotte, Gastonia, and the Upstate of SC.
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TerriKay
Valued Contributor

WI
USA
172 Posts

Posted - 11/27/2004 :  4:43:28 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I had to laugh at this topic, since it was my first time doing a mystery shop on Black Friday as well. I only had one, and it was at a location I'd done before, so I was familiar with the shop itself. Also, I had the luxury of waiting until 11:30 to start the shop, so most of the craziness was done.

I took the shop thinking "this should be easy since this store probably won't be that busy, and there should be a lot of employees...right?" Boy was I wrong! There were more employees than usual, but the store had a LOT more customers than I expected! In almost every department, I had to stand in a line of customers to get to the only visible employees, who then had to take time away from purchasing customers to help me! I felt bad taking them away from legitimate customers, and spent an awful lot of time standing in lines!

On the other hand, it did pay quite well imho, and my dd had fun trying things on, so it was a mostly positive experience. Sort of! I'd do it again!

Shopping Central WI
MSPA Silver Certified
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PamInCa
Star Contributor

CA
USA
6557 Posts

Posted - 11/27/2004 :  10:38:10 PM  Visit PamInCa's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote

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

Wheatley Heights, New York
USA
556 Posts

Posted - 11/28/2004 :  07:40:19 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Julie, you hit the nail on the head (as usual)! I am over here cracking up. I had my own black Friday experience, to make matters worse, I had 2 shops that I couldn't cancel (because I took a 'blood oath' that I would do this thing on the exact day). Went to bed early and planned to go early, but woke up at 4 am with the mother of all sinus infections. The Doctor is still on vacation for Turkey day and you had one miserable, groggy woman, semi-high on Nyquil trying to navigate traffic in New York City on Black Friday. I should get a T-shirt or something for living to tell the story!

MSPA Gold Shopper # 63irfm
Shopping Suffolk & Nassau Counties; Manhattan; Queens; Brooklyn, New York and Bergen County, New Jersey
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