At any point in your mystery shopper career, someone you are shopping is bound to ask, “Are you a mystery shopper?” So it’s good to be prepared for what to do in this scenario. In my head, there only two reasons that a target would ask if you’re a mystery shopper, and both of them make zero sense to me really.
If someone asks you in the middle of a shop if you’re a mystery shopper, it is probably for one of these two reasons:
#1: They actually think you’re a mystery shopper.
In this case, I really can’t imagine being dense enough to ask this question. Anyone who is as bright as a box of crayons would know that the best thing to do is keep quiet and give the mystery shopper the best customer experience possible and then earn themselves that glowing review you are going to write when you get home.
#2: They want to be sure you’re not a shopper.
If that’s the case, then it’s because they know or afraid they are doing something wrong in their job and that they are going to get “caught”. That’s just wrong on a million levels, because they’re probably costing their company a lot of money and risking getting in trouble for something – maybe even Fair Housing issues.
Regardless of the reason, you definitely don’t want to blow your cover. Just stay in character. Since you don’t really know why they’re asking, just act oblivious. Respond with something like “A what?”, “What is a mystery shopper?” Most customers have no clue that mystery shoppers really exist in so many types of businesses.
Your mystery shopping company expects you to report what happened on your shop, including if someone asked if you are a mystery shopper. Always tell the mystery shopping company what happened before you submit your report. Just because someone asks if you are a mystery shopper does not mean you did anything wrong, even though sometimes we do make mistakes that can jeopardize our identity.
Have you ever been asked if you are a mystery shopper? How did you respond?