Every industry has their own language. The world of mystery shopping is no different in that respect. It can be confusing to both experienced and novice shoppers from time to time. As this field expands, more specialty terms are developed. Each issue of ShopTalk will explain some of the more commonly used lingo.
BOB = Bottom Of Basket. Term used for items put on the lower shelf of a cart while conducting certain grocery store assignments.
FAQ = Frequently Asked Questions. Self explanatory.
FF = Fast Food. Self explanatory.
FD = Fine Dining. Self explanatory.
ICA = Independent Contractor Agreement. Shoppers are required to fulfill the obligations of this agreement, which heavily stresses the importance of confidentiality as in regards to the MSC and its clients.
IMSC = Independent Mystery Shoppers Coalition. An organization whose mission is to improve the industry through educational means, most notably by hosting semi-annual conferences.
MS = Mystery Shopping. Self explanatory. Interesting enough, this is frequently found spelled out in full rather than abbreviated in forum discussions.
MSC = Mystery Shopping Company. More commonly used than MSP.
MSP = Mystery Shopping Provider. Less commonly used than MSC.
MSPA = Mystery Shopping Providers of America. Industry trade association composed of members that are MSCs.
NLT = No Later Than. Usually describes a deadline.
OP = Original Poster. Used to describe a writer that initiated a new discussion on the Mystery Shopping Forum.
P&R = Purchase & Return. This is used in conjunction with retail shops that require the shopper to both purchase an item and then later return it.
POV = Proof Of Visit. This can take the form of a receipt or a picture or other documentation.
SABOTS = Sisters And Brothers Of the Traveling Shirt. Because many video shoppers need to alter a shirt to accommodate their equipment, it has become an icon to represent those involved in this aspect of mystery shopping.
SWAG = Not an abbreviation or acronym, swag is the term used for giveaway items such as pens and notepads and other trinkets used for marketing businesses.
TC = Trailer Check. This refers to an assignment in which a mystery shopper check the trailers prior to the start of a movie.
TWoO = The Wizard Of Oz. This describes an owner of a small mystery shopping company who fulfills all of the responsibilities themselves that would normally be performed by multiple employees.
VID = Video. This pertains to the rapidly growing segment of the mystery shopping world using covert video recording to capture what occurred on a visit.
YMMV = Your Mileage May Vary. Normally used in conjunction with mapping software, this can also mean that your results may differ from that of others.