I don't often do "reveal" mystery shops, because they can be awkward sometimes, but I signed up for one awhile back, trying to expand my resume. The pay wasn't great, but it turned out to be a very interesting experience for unexpected reasons.
During the "reveal", I was telling the person in charge that they, and everyone working there that day, would receive a $20 gift card because they passed the mystery shop. Her response was, "I thought they were lying."
I'm not sure if she thought her employer was lying about the fact that there was a good change to earn a gift card if they did the right thing, or if she didn't believe that the company actually sent mystery shoppers out to make sure they were doing their jobs. I would have expected her to be excited about winning, but she seemed more like she was in disbelief that I was a real person and physically came to the store
to see how she did at her job.
It's a little sad that today that we're surprised when we get a real person. Whether it's on the phone, or at a store. We shouldn't be surprised by real people, we should be sad when people aren't real. I'm sad when the person who takes my order at McDonald's doesn't speak to me other than to tell me my total or call my number to hand me a bag of food. I'm sad when the cashier at Walmart is entirely apathetic about the fact that an entire display of glue sticks are priced incorrectly (I didn't really care either, because there were just going to be "extra" glue sticks to donate or use if we ran out, so I just asked her to put them back).
We should be surprised, not that real people exist in these jobs, but that we can go through our day and not notice them at all. We need to make sure, that no matter what our jobs or activities are, that we are being real and honest and not just pretending to be a machine. We should take our passion, and our intellect, and our honesty, and our personality into wherever we go, and make sure that we're sharing it with those around us. Make sure that you are truly seeing the real person in front of you.
I was actually kind of sad that they didn't have a self-checkout today at the Walmart. But then, on the way home, I saw the cashier in my mind. She was older. Maybe she hadn't saved for retirement and she was working to supplement her social security. Maybe she got the job because she's depressed sitting at home all day, only now she has to deal with customers who are upset by the new chip card reader that makes you leave your card in it while you purchase your items. Maybe she has sore feet and tired arms, and was supposed to be on break 10 minutes ago. Maybe, she just woke up with a bad headache, but had to go in to work anyway.
Whatever her situation was, I said a little prayer for her, and I hope the rest of her afternoon went a little easier for her. Let's not be surprised when someone turns out to be a real person, let's make other people surprised at our refreshing realness.