Hello shoppers...

I'm pooped.

All this secret shopping and changing outfits and writing about secret shopping and changing outfits has me gassed - fat-ee-gued, to quote Foghorn Leghorn.

Which means it’s a great time for you, kind reader, to take center stage. With today's post I share actual comments from what I assume are actual readers, or just really good guessers. I'll occasionally share my thoughts on your thoughts, but mainly I'm just gonna lay here while you talk...


On "The Unsecret Shopper Goes Shopping: Karl Chevrolet"


"Dude, W. E. Moranville is a woman!"


The Unsecret Shopper: Oh. Sorry. Guess I can’t just lay here.  

"Great stuff, Jonnie. Keep up the good work."


"For car dealers, this is serious business about how we wait on a customer and we don't need to read about your Prius remark."


"Your blogs are great. You have a way with words and blogs that's interesting."




“It didn’t happen like you said it did. I think you made it up. You probably make up most of the (interesting prose) you write.”


US: Except for your comment, yes.



On “Legends, The Fall: Think Toyota But With Salad”


“Ask any business owner – teachers are the most demanding customers. They’re never satisfied.”


“The way those employees acted was horrific - none more that Mark.”


“All the people up in arms about it, weren’t there. They need to keep their opinions to themselves – including you.”


“Get writing the book. No excuses now!”


US: If I write it, will you buy it?



On "What The Oscars Can Teach Us About Customer Service"


"Nice job on the analogy. Honest, it’s not overkill at all!"


"Nice to know I'm not always being to harsh on local businesses expecting so much b-4 I give them...hard earned $$."




On "A Call From Mark Rogers - And My Response"


"Have you ever waited tables or bartended. What makes you an expert in customer service?"


“I’ve always gotten great service at Legends. You’re an idiot.”


"Have you ever even worked in the restaurant business? You're a moron."


US: I think that career door is closed for me now

“If you came in while I was working my shift, I’d (spit) in your salad.”


US: I think that eating option is closed for me now.



On "Shopping: Why We Need To Buy Less $@&# So We Can Buy More $@&#"


"Some of the blog was over my head but interesting."



On “Freaky Friendly – Fareway And Quik Trip”


"Bryan and the entire team at [Norwalk Fareway] are a great example of what we expect our customers to find in every Fareway location!  We take pride in the fact that we offer exceptional customer service as well as being the "best at fresh" and everyday competitive pricing that our customers come to rely on!"


 “Thank you for the great comments about QT. We strive to create an excellent experience for our customers, and it’s nice to get noticed. “



On "Apology Smackdown 2010"


"You officious jerk."


"I personally do not think all the apologies in the world will save him."


"Nice job being the expert on TV for customer service. Can you sign my book?


US: Yes. Who wrote it?

"Tell me more about what being a secret shopper entails."


"Keep your mouth shut. Just...keep your mouth shut."




On “The Unsecret Shopper Goes Shopping: Homemakers Furniture”


“Whenever I shop there, I always walk through the entire store and am greeted by every employee, every time. Did you bathe?”


“Let me know if you need a mommy with kids to help with your un-mystery shopping.”


US: Thanks – I have a secret shopper outfit that makes me look the part.

(Look for an upcoming Thursday Secret Shopper evaluation.)

“So I checked out your secret shopper experience at Homemakers - both informative and hilarious. So I went to your Buyosphere website - VERY interesting. But one point I wanted to make to you - I think you should update [your web site] to say "2010" instead of "2009".”


US: Oh…yeah.



On "The Answers To The Customer Service Pop Quiz"


"I know I got them all correct, so you don't even need to check my answers."


"Answers to the quiz...am I too late? Did I win??"


"Please take my email address off of your list."


US: Okay. Is it because I haven’t updated my web site?

“You say I only got four right. This is stupid.”


"Marc Hansen gave you a nice plug.  How'd you get on his good side?  Not easy, based on my assessment of reading his articles."




On "The Unsecret Shopper Goes Shopping: Legends American Grill”


“Great stuff!”


“Did you eat at the right place?”


“(Bottom) kisser…”




Attempting to qualify for "The Shopping Hall Of Shame"


 “So this morning I stop for gas and coffee at the BP station on sw 9th st, the gal has her newspaper sprawled out on the counter so she can easily go back to catching up on the daily news and she answers her cell phone and while talking about the B she got on her college test, oh, it could have been an A if she had applied herself fully, she rang me out for my coffee, fortunately she didn't say thanks for the biz or anything because the damn phone was stuck to her ear!!!!!!! People have NO clue."


“Last year I was shopping at Stein Mart in West Des Moines and was in a hurry to find something to wear for Easter. No one helped me get other sizes while I was in the fitting rooms so I was forced to have to go out into the store wearing what I was trying on to find other sizes and had very little time to shop. Really could have used some help from one of the 2 women hanging around the fitting room. When I left the fitting room, I had to leave clothes lying everywhere when I left to get new sizes. Needless to say the room was a mess. When I got back to try on the new sizes I bought into the fitting room, there was a lady in my fitting room saying,"My goodness what a disaster this room is. If my daughter ever left her room looking like this, she's be grounded. How does someone live like this!"

Well I had to go into the other room to finish my "delightful"shopping experience since she was in the room I was originally occupying.

She had no idea I was in the room next to this room and heard her say all that. Bottom line is, they should have been helping me!

You should have seen her face when I came out of the fitting room.

You can bet I bought nothing!!


“The one restaurant where we consistently get dreadful service is “Chef’s Kitchen” on Beaver and Franklin.  One time we had a reservation for 6, showed up on time, waited for 10 minutes…and finally sat down.  As our group sat there in the middle of the restaurant for the next 15 minutes without so much as a “we’ll be right there to get your drink order,” we decided to go to another restaurant. (Flying Mango) I felt slighted because we were a group of young twenty-somethings.  I’ve since been back and I had a steak sandwich that tasted like propane.  It’s too bad because I live LITERALLY 80 steps from the restaurant and I’d love to go up there to have a drink from time to time.  But I refuse.”


"Let me pass along MY 3 pet peeves of restaurants. All 3 are very trainable.

#1 involves the seating host/hostess. OK, I'm a big guy. I'm not gonna fit (and if I do FIT, it won't be real comfortable) in a standard booth. Please do not take me to one. This takes a simple assessment/once-over as I walk in the door. (thought balloon here...) "Wow, that's a LARGE fella there. He ain't fittin' in no booth! Better sit him at a table".

They are great about this in Vegas. I've never had to tell them (while standing in front of the empty little booth they've taken me to) "Uh, could we get a table, please". They just do it. But most hosts/hostesses around here are skinny little young women who don't even give it a second thought. Maybe that's a good thing...they see me as normal! But I think it's an oversight. Hey, be good to the big people and treat them right...they obviously eat out a lot!

#2. Food out of the kitchen. This one goes back to my days of having a little kid. It would take a note by the server, or just a little attention by the cook. I always hated it when the food came to the table and my kid wanted to dive in and eat, but the food was too hot. Meanwhile, my fries are lukewarm. They gave him the HOT fries and me the cold ones! And he's complaining because it's too hot to eat! Give the kid the lukewarm food!

Finally, my biggest peeve. I can't believe servers aren't coached on how to handle the final check. They give me the check and say "I'll turn that in when you're ready." I put my money with the check and she comes back. Then, the dreaded words...."Do you want your change back???" ARGHHHHHH!!!!! Nails on a chalkboard!!! "Do you want your change back"!!!!

I can't believe how many times I hear this. Drives me crazy, and makes me want to say "Yes, ALL of it". It's enough for me to deduct from the tip for saying something so rude.

In my mind, among the first things a server should be taught is to say "I'll be right back with your change". That gives me plenty of opportunity to say "No, don't worry about it" and give you a nice tip.

That's what I want to hear..."I'll be right back with your change". I don't wanna hear "Will we be needing any change today?", either.

End Rant. Thanks for listening!"


US: Consider yourself a future guest-ranter.

“In late 2005 or early 2006, my wife and I went to a Wells Fargo Bank branch in the Seattle area to open a savings account for our daughter. We had adopted her from China in June of 2005.  

Having done this, we had a portfolio which included an official copy of her birth certificate, a Social Security card, and a certificate of citizenship. That’s more ID than most people have for a two-year-old.

While at the branch, the tellers (both girls in their 20s) told us that we had to wait until another employee returned from lunch in order to open an account. While we were waiting, we could hear idle chit-chat about the party the night before, etc. Finally the other employee returned from lunch. He was a guy, also in his 20s, and very friendly.

We wrote up all the paperwork and handed over some savings to start the account. We offered to make copies of all of our daughter’s documents in our possession that day.

This employee assured us that he had everything they needed, and he gave us a sales pitch for all the other products we could get at their bank.

A couple weeks later, we got a letter from Wells Fargo Corporate. According to the letter, we were to present additional documents at our branch.

Apparently, some provision of the PATRIOT Act flagged some new bank accounts for additional scrutiny. This was especially true of anyone born outside the U.S.

Why anyone would think that a two-year-old Chinese girl was a terrorist was beyond us, but we tried to work with the bank.

We called the employee at our branch again, and told him about the letter. He stated that “corporate was always screwing up”. He assured us that it was a mistake, and that he would “take care of it”.

A few weeks later, we got another letter from Wells Fargo. This time, we called the guy at our branch, and had to leave a message.

A few weeks after that, we got a letter from Wells Fargo indicating that the account was closed. We received a check for our original deposit amount.

I had used Wells Fargo for my personal accounts before I got married. After that experience, I decided to close my checking account.

In 2007, I decided to close my savings account. At the branch, the teller had to call another banker because the account was “dormant”.

I had continued to receive statements every month on this account, even though I wasn’t doing anything with it. At no point did anyone contact me to ask my why.

Once the banker verified my identity, they “reactivated” the account. I took all of the money and closed the account.”


US: It’s good to see the banking crisis has brought out the best in our financial institutions.



Bad cell phone company customer service stories...

US: That’s its own blog.



Jonnie Wright is a customer service evaluator and trainer, marketing strategist and radio show host. You can hear his "The Unsecret Shopper Radio Show" Saturday mornings from 8-9am on 1350 KRNT in Des Moines. Email him at jonniewright@thebuyosphere.com.

Open The Buyosphere Toolbox to get FREE exclusive access to proven tools that will help you generate higher shop sales and profits - delivered weekly, right to your inbox!