I think it safe to say that members make the forum. Any forum. Years of reading Mystery Shop Forum have shown me it is used in many different ways. Some people read the forum with little or no interest in posting. Some sign up, but many do not and are evidenced by the large number of guests active at any time.
Others come here to vent, posting comments about being screwed over by an MSP and advising everyone not to work with them. These users often flame out quickly posting only once or perhaps with limited followups to the original post. Many of our longtime users post about problems or how shopping made them feel.
These posts give a look into their lives and give the forum a personality of sorts. Some posts are for pure entertainment value. I’m always up for a good laugh.
Many users provide great information about mystery shopping. They answer questions and add unsolicited comments. It is the latter type of posts that I gravitate towards most. Sometimes I look at it as a competition. Is there a different or better way of presenting that information?
Other times I look at what I learned from the post as I still have much to learn. As such, certain forum members have become “Must-Reads” for me mostly because they always have something worth reading. This is my personal take on those members.
Flash and Mert – Individuals, no doubt. But to me they were a tag team of knowledge back in the earlier days of the forum. Because of frequent posting, great value of information, and a genuine willingness to help, I quickly learned to trust this pair. Flash has so generously written most of the sticky threads in the New Mystery Shoppers section of the forum. Although neither posts as much as they used to, these All-Star members always get my attention.
Walesmaven – From a wealth of experience that includes longtime video shopping she not only posts valuable information but also does it with a writing style that is very complete and utterly understandable. Her posts are of a quality that I try to emulate.
James Bond 007.5 – This is someone who does drive luxury automobiles for his job. Mystery shopping. On the forum he assists most with video shopping. His posts frequently provide good advice for shoppers thinking of entering this particular field. His encouragement helped me to start down that road. He also shares experiences with unconventional shops or alternatives such as signal piracy assignments and car wraps. For me his most memorable post demonstrated an acute sense of karma. It started with a description of a test drive that got out of hand. The salesman, who was driving, took the car up to speeds of 100 MPH. After submitting the report and learning the salesman was fired, James saw him flipping burgers at a fast food restaurant. He simply left without making a purchase.
Cettie – Where to start? Perhaps with her tag line, “Her Serene Majesty, Cettie – Goat Queen of Zoltar, Sublime Empress of Her Caprine Domain.” This veteran shopper has numerous stories of shopping misadventures that are second to none. There is also her over-the-top writing style which has helped give those stories legendary status. I always smile when I see her name, because I wonder what humorous thing will spring from her keyboard.
KSSSarahC – KSS (Kern Scheduling Service) scheduler Sara Caddell is not the only scheduler to invite questions and respond to them on the forum. She is the only one I know of to do it twice. Yes, she twice started a thread that invited any and all questions for a scheduler. Her comments were appreciated not only because she took time out from her day, but also because of the rare perspective of a scheduler she brings to the forum. I find comments from that perspective a valuable insight. There are a number of other schedulers that have shared in a similar manner on the forum. For me, KSSSaraC stands above this particular crowd.
Scanman1 – The newest member on this list, having joined the forum about a year ago. His very first post started a spirited discussion about the best covert camera for video shopping. A self-described technology lover, he brings to the forum an in-depth understanding of technology. His posts often provide information or test the boundaries of the mystery shopping norm. From them I have gained valuable insights into equipment the use of technology and been made aware of new items to assist me shop. However, his talents are not limited to providing guidance about technology. Recently, he used his research skills to provide shoppers with information regarding a new company springing out of the ashes of the now bankrupt GrassRoots.
Dspeakes – The forum’s resident accountant. She is never shy about sharing advice on this sometimes annoying but necessary topic as well as mystery shopping in general.
There are others of course. Among them are Stilllearning for her interview skills and empathy. Another is AustinMom for her frequent helpful comments. Also notable are Micheal C for his often odd point of view, techman01 for his notes on sales, and SteveSoCal for his insight into hospitality shops. There is also the individual that often posts on the holiday of sorts in the fourth month of the year. For those of you that figured it out, awesome. 🙂 For the rest of you, I do not want to spoil it. In addition are a number of members that I have connected with in some way on the forum.
Each of us comes here for different reasons. One of our newer forum members put it well. “Pay particular attention to the following seasoned shoppers: MDavisNowell, scanman01, Lisa STL, Cettie, techman, and a few others who post regularly. They are patient, kind, and fair about you, your shop, and the MSC. Someday when Cettie chooses to retire, I hope to inherit her titles, LisaSTL has amazing tag lines!” (posted by Lisa4984)
Who are your Must-Reads? Tell us on the forum, right here.