Many shops require you to make note of what time you entered a store as well as what time you left. This is generally not a big deal for most shoppers.
However, other shops require incredibly detailed information on various milestones in your shop, with times accurate down to the second. Some shops are even very blatant in terms of telling mystery shoppers their detailed, down-to-the-second times will be verified by video cameras on-site. Shops will be rejected if the times provided in the report don’t correspond with the video footage. Wow, can that be stressful!
Luckily, there are some things you can do to make sure your timed shops are approved, and reduce some of the stress associated with these kinds of shops.
First, be sure you clearly understand on which milestones you are supposed to note the time. For instance, do you note time when you enter the line, when the salesperson greets you, and when your purchase is final? Or do you note when you get to the front of the line, and when you receive the receipt?
Then consider using a stop watch that has a split timer. (If you have to purchase one, don’t forget to write this off on your taxes as a business expense.) With one click of the button on a split timer, you can inconspicuously make a “note” on the timer of each milestone that you are suppose to log time on, and then continue timing until you reach the next milestone.
Once you get back to your car, the stop watch will have all the times recorded for you. Again, the trick is knowing what the milestones are so that you know when to accurately push the button on the watch. Don’t forget to keep the timer hidden in a pocket or purse where you can quickly push the button when necessary.
If you’re in a location where it is convenient for you to write the information down as you go along, take advantage of this. For instance, at grocery store shops, you won’t be out of place carrying around a paper and pen, as this would look like a grocery list. (Tip – you can also make notes of different salespeople’s names and other details you need to remember about their service.)
If you’re in a location where writing information down on a “shopping list” would stand out like a sore thumb, consider making notes in your cell phone or PDA. Make it appear as if you are working or sending a text message while you are waiting in line.
Or you can be a little creative, depending on the shop. For instance, if you’re in a restaurant, you may want to take out your checkbook and make notes on that. This works particularly well if you are dining alone, in such a case where you normally would be looking for something to fidget with while you wait for your food or wait for the check.
These are just a few tricks you can use to help you get those tricky timed shops completed accurately.