9.11.2021

I think Sam's Club is using 'secret shoppers' to survey customers about their scan-and-go app because I've been approached three times now; and they always used the same script/questions...

 


Good Morning CoffeeTalking Friends!

As I mentioned yesterday, I did my regular grocery shopping trip to a membership club.  Although I'm a member of both Costco and Sam's, I typically end up at Sam's because unlike most of the Sam's Club's in the USA that I would avoid like the plague, I actually live near a pretty good one

Also, the Costco is about 35 minutes further away, has horrible traffic and traffic patterns to get there, and they are on average about $1 - $3 higher per item for everything we regularly buy.  But Costco also does not offer the 'scan and go' app that Sam's does, which I am completely smitten with.  I despise waiting in check-out lines!

So... yesterday was my typical bi-weekly shopping trip that I've been making for... years.   And I'm pretty sure that Sam's is doing a 'mystery shopper' or 'secret shopper' in reverse.

I used to do secret shopping years ago.  You get your job description and there are certain tasks that must be done, certain key-words you have to use, and a script you must follow as closely as possible.  Blah blah blah.

Well, I think maybe Sam's Club is doing this in reverse to it's customers to survey how people are using their app and if they like it.  And apparently, either because I shop there a lot, or I have a very approachable face... it seems like maybe I'm a target?

This has happened I think three (3) times now in the past 18 months or so maybe?

I will be doing my shopping and obviously using the scan-and-go app as it's literally the only way I shop there.  Although I didn't pay much attention the first time it happened and I barely remember it, I recall a random stranger 'noticing' I was shopping with their app and asked me about it.  This was probably at least 18-24 months ago maybe?  I don't know... Covid quarantine screwed up my sense of time!  Ha ha.  I swear it's still 2020 and I have no idea how it's supposed to be 2022 in just 3 months.

So I barely remember it, and it wasn't a big deal - I just recall a middle aged woman stopping to ask me about it - and it seems like she said her sister or daughter (?) was interested in it and was wondering as well. Faint memory and very forgettable.

But then it happened a second time.  This might have been last... January maybe?  It wasn't important at the time so I didn't make any effort to remember.

This time I was shopping and (again) a middle aged woman approached me.  She said she noticed I was using the scan-and-go app and how did I like it?  I thought (at the time) it was an honest question so I took the time to go through it all with her, and explain it and the process, etc.  Yes,  I really am nice (and patient) in that way and I probably took 10 minutes to show this woman everything about it, scanned items to show her how it worked.  I thought at the time she may have been desperate for conversation and human interaction as we were coming off all the quarantines, etc. She was a little weird though - very sweet and quiet and dressed very nice - she seemed like maybe she was smart with things like numbers/accounting but weird on a social-level, and completely and utterly common sense stupid and really had a hard time comprehending the app and how to scan, etc.

I remember she was saying "mmm-hmmm" a lot and almost 'faking'? her enthusiasm... like she would pretend to be 'excited' about it... but it was off somehow.  I also know she made a big deal about saying "her daughter" was interested in it and had told her about it....

That woman and her conversation was off just enough that I was weirded out by it by the end of my time with her and had told the story of this woman and her questions about the app "for her daughter" to my husband, a couple friends, etc. 

Fast forward to yesterday.

___________________________________


I'm meticulously doing my shopping 'process' that I use when I shop with the app.  Not really paying attention to other guests in a way that would welcome conversation.

Again I'm approached out of no where by a middle aged woman.  She says "I see you're using that app... the Sam's app.  How do you like it?"

I replied... and because I really do love the app (and not having to socialize with people checking me out or waiting lines) I gushed it was great, I loved it and wished all stores in the US used it.

She oddly seemed like she was ignoring my answer after "love it" and seemed as though she was antsy and wanted to get to her next question. I could almost see the wheels spinning in her brain as she waited for me to finish my answer so she could quickly shoot the next question at me!

Again, she (like the other two women previously) mention to me at some point "my daughter was interested in it" and a few other key phrases they ALL SAID.

It was basically almost the exact same script or story (phrases/questions) as the last two women.

This woman yesterday was not pretending to push a cart, nor had any items in her hands.  She was the same age group and gender as the other 2 that asked me the same exact questions and used the same phrases.

She (like them) repeated a couple of my answers back to me so I would verify and repeat my answers of "love it" and "nope, no problems or issues with it".

But THIS woman was an even worse actor that the previous one.   This was was almost crystal clear that she was mentally checking off her questions, her exact phrases and comments from a list.  She was in a hurry to get the question/answer period over and was again, just weird and off.

At one point, I honestly glanced behind me to my purse in the front of the cart to make sure no one was sneaking into it or grabbing it while she kept me 'occupied' because although she was using the right phrases and words and questions and had a smile on her face... she was just 'off' somehow.  Just like that other woman.

It was when she reiterated the whole "my daughter was interested in it" part of the conversation exactly the like the previous women did that a little bell went off in my head.

I was being "SURVEYED" in a secret shop kind of way. 

After repeating my answers in a conversational way, she thanked me and walked away - disappeared and I never saw her shopping or in the store after our interaction.


_____________________________________________

I have a family member in retail and when I related this story to them, they immediately nodded their head knowingly and said, "Yep, you were secret shopped."

They laughingly told me the next time I'm approached by a woman with the opening line "I see you are using the Sam's scan-and-go app, how do you like it?"  I should reply with, "Oh, I love it - are you asking because your daughter is interested in it!?"