As you know, mystery shopping is always a bit of an adventure. You are required to play the role of a customer with a specific scenario, pretend to be interested in something you might never want to buy in your real life, and you have to invent an entire background story for your request… It’s a challenge, no doubt.


However, for the absolute adrenaline junkies who are looking for the real deal, this simply doesn’t do the trick. These people are happy with nothing less than the biggest possible challenge, pushing themselves to the limit and enjoying every moment of that stage of utter excitement. In the world of mystery shopping, these people long for the fight in which they can really put their shopping qualities to the test, the month-long struggle during which nothing is easy.
I’m talking about the battle with the horrible creatures called SuSa and WiSa, but you probably know them under their more common names: “Summer Sales” and “Winter Sales”.

[spacer height=”10px”]Working in the main shopping street of Antwerp, I could witness how the monster WiSa took control of all the stores around me during the month of January. It was brutal. Masses of helpless people getting cramped in small spaces, traffic jams occurring on all roads towards shopping areas, young girls crying hysterically because they couldn’t find that cheap yet astonishing dress in their size… WiSa certainly had a big impact on the daily lives of people.

Luckily there were people brave enough to defy these horrors. One of these adrenaline junkies – let’s call him John McClane, for anonymity purposes – faced the danger on several occasions, and explained me in detail how to defeat these monsters. The trick is as simple as it is ingenious: You have to pretend that everything is fine. Just absolutely, effing marvellous!

He told me how to face the most common issues caused by the Sa-sisters, and I gladly share this information with you:

Problem one: Your size is missing
Bright side: Finally a good motivator to lose weight or an excuse to eat that chocolate cake that stares at you every morning when you pass by the bakery. Go for it!

Problem two: It’s still too expensive
Bright side: Good, then don’t buy it and use the money for something else. That chocolate cake for example, yummy.

Problem three: Somebody else takes the last piece just in front of you
Bright side: They won’t think of buying it anymore when they somehow
have an accident in the store. And come on, admit it, you always wanted an excuse to push that annoying little boy or that slow old lady from the escalator. Accidents happen you know, and the last piece will be aaaall yours!

Problem four: A long queue to get to the dressing room
Bright side: Peoplespotting! This is the perfect moment to have a look at those people around you. Look for that attractive girl/guy, or for that man that feels absolutely miserable because his wife forced him to go shopping with her. Don’t feel bad about it, malicious pleasure is just as entertaining as any other kind of pleasure.

Problem five: Somebody opens your dressing room curtain while you’re trying something on
Bright side: Ask her/him inside. A dressing room is as good a place as any to get to know new people. And you’ll have a funny story for later on!

Problem six: There isn’t a single salesperson available to assist you with your question
Bright side: Lucky you! Under this pressure, salespeople are completely stressed out. Don’t poke the bear!

Problem seven: A long queue to get to the cash desk
Bright side: See problem four

Problem eight: Back home it doesn’t seem to fit after all
Bright side: Either be very brave and go back… or see problem one. A good solution remains a good solution.

[spacer height=”20px”]If you manage to behave this way in the hard circumstances that come with these attacks on our civilisation, then you are part of the solution: a small but important piece in the puzzle to restore the order. It’s because of brave people like John that creatures like Wisa and Susa always give up after exactly one month, frustrated that there are still people standing tall, and we should all be grateful that these people are out there to look after us.

For the John McClanes of this world, it’s a sad thing that it’s no longer January, but the normal people can rejoice. Prices are high again like they should be and people spread their visits to the stores more nicely, which is a win-win for both the store managers and their customers.

So if you’re a real adrenaline-junkie: Don’t worry, you’ll have another chance in July.
Otherwise: The time to (mystery) shop is now, enjoy!


Author: DavyDSCF4922_resized2

Davy is active in the BARE International office in Antwerp. He has a Master’s degree in Multilingual Communication, and can get himself understood properly in 5 languages. Professionally he’s mostly busy with cars and wireless speakers, topics he’s fond of in his private life as well – apart from other hobbies, such as travelling, cooking, cycling and football.


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