How To Create Great Cover Stories So You’ll Never Get Caught!

The thought of being revealed as a mystery shopper brings fear into the hearts of shoppers everywhere. One of the biggest tip-offs you can give a salesperson or store associate that you are a shopper is giving off suspicious clues during your conversation with them. Here are a few tips to follow to help you avoid being spotted as a mystery shopper: 

If The Shoe Fits. The story you tell your store associate often can give away big indicators that you are not who you say you are. First and foremost, plan ahead what you will (and will not) say to them. While not every store associate will ask questions, it is very likely that you may also get an associate that wants to make small talk in an effort to be friendly with you. Or perhaps you will get an off-handed comment that you need to respond to. You need to have a strategy in mind before you start talking to the store associate so you don’t blurt out something that makes them suspicious of you.  

So before you walk into the shop, get a story in your mind about why exactly you are in the store. It doesn’t need to be (and shouldn’t be) overly complicated. If you are going into a shoe store, maybe you just need some shoes for a new outfit you just bought. If you have to ask a question of someone at the meat counter in the grocery store, ask a simple question such as if they have any fresh chicken in stock.  

Short and Simple. Some shoppers have a tendency to over-elaborate while they are talking to the sales associate. For instance, if you are at the meat counter and ask for a fairly unique cut or type of meat, chances are the store associate is going to question it. Are you prepared to tell them what dish you are going to cook with your lamb loin if they happen to make small talk and ask? Or on that shoe shop, if you had said you need some sandals for a trip you are taking, this just begs the question of where you are headed. And can’t you just hear the store associate tell you she JUST got back from there and what hotel are you staying at? The more you chit-chat with the store associate while role playing a scenario you concocted in your head, the more likely you are to get to a point where you haven’t fully thought out all the details. 

Do You Fit The Role? Not every actor trying out for a role will be the right fit for it. And not every scenario that pops into your head will be a realistic role for you to play. While there are some middle-aged folks who like to go clubbing, if you are a 40-something that is on a shop for a trendy store that sells clothes for 20-somethings, it may be more realistic for the store associate to hear that you are shopping for a gift for someone rather than looking for an outfit to wear to the new club that just opened. If you need to try something on at the shop, simply say that you are about the same size as the person you are shopping for and what to make sure it will fit. To create a realistic scenario, you need to have a good sense of the image you portray to other people and adopt a role for that. Think about when you would normally enter that type of store in your normal life, and design your story around that.  

So before you set foot in your next shop, spend a few minutes thinking about what you need to accomplish in the shop, what image you portray with your own traits, and then design a short but very simple scenario that you can pull off.