Whenever you head out into the mystery shopping field, you never know what you are going to find. Most shops play out just as expected. But occasionally, something unexpected happens.
That was the case a few years ago when I signed up to complete a typical gas station mystery shop and site inspection. It’s the kind of assignment I have done hundreds of times.
On this particular day, I took a day trip up to the Richmond area and thought I would grab a quick shop in a small town on the return home.
As I turned onto the country road, I scanned each side for the gas station, which should have been located within one- or two-tenths of a mile from the main highway.
When I spotted what I thought was the driveway to the store, I quickly realized something was not quite right. A police car sat out front and caution tape surrounded the building, or what was left of it. The parking lot was taped off, as well. Much of the store had collapsed due to a recent fire. The pile of rubble was still smoldering.
After double-checking the address and allowing the disbelief to wear off, I snapped a few photos to upload to my report and made note that the store served a terrible cup of coffee.
When I returned home, I did a quick Google search and discovered that arson was suspected.
I submitted the report as a ‘closed’ location, as we are instructed to do when a shop is not open or has gone out of business. It is the one and only time I have ever listed a fire as the reason for a shop closure.
That smoldering rubble definitely represents my most bizarre mystery shop ever.
What has been your most bizarre mystery shop or shopping experience?