The Adventures of a Mystery Shopper: The Great Zoo Escape

Never would have I expected to have to out-run a love-starved goat while doing a mystery shop. It wasn’t exactly in the shop instructions but then, I tend to have some adventures uncommon to most shoppers.

It all started that bright summer day when I visited the zoo in a nearby city to do an evaluation, “it should be pretty routine” I thought to myself as I drove to my destination, “ask some questions of the staff, make a small purchase at the gift shop, look around and leave.”

WRONG! Things were going well, perhaps too well. I noticed a crowd of zoo patrons focusing their attention to a corner of the footpath—where a goat browsed happily after making its escape from the petting zoo.

Suddenly it’s gaze spotted a face in the crowd and was instantly smitten, making a fast dash for this divine love-object it wished to know better. Much better. My mother did not raise a fool and it didn’t take much for me to realize that this amorous goat was not about to take “NO” for an answer.

I flew down the path and away as fast as my feet could carry me, harking back to my old days on the basketball team.

A park bench was in my way, but I was not about to let it hinder my headlong flight from this love-starved goat.

One leap up and over bought me enough time for zoo personnel to capture their escapee.

I thought back to the instructions sent out by the mystery shopping company telling us to “remain inconspicuous, evaluate as though a regular patron.” On my way home I thought about the required lengthy narrative “telling in a story-like way the visit from beginning to end”.

Mystery shopping reports call for factual reporting, exact timing, accurate descriptions of people, places and quotes. They would definitely have all that and then some, but if there were questions, I also knew the video camera placed around the location could indeed bear out my story.

Musing upon the days events I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself and fervently hope the client was sitting down when my report came sailing across their desk.


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