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Arguing with Editors Who are Just Plain Wrong.

Every so often on Mystery Shop Forum someone will post that an editor gave them an eight or nine and cited a grammar error. Some then continue on with, when they asked for a clarification, they never got a reply. Is it worth contesting the one or two points?

The English language is in an almost constant state of flux. It changes and evolves faster than probably any other language. I’m 57. When I went to school, the implement that George Washington used to chop down the cherry tree was spelled “axe”; half a century later the spelling has evolved to “ax”. And yes, the Open Office spellchecker does indeed highlight the spelling I was taught as being wrong. That’s not too big an error but, without spellchecker, it does date me.

Let me cite another example. I recently did a shop in the United States for a mystery shopping company based in England, and the client was also based in England. Do I write the report in American English or the Queen’s English? I wrote it in the Queen’s English; colour, organise, etc. I received a rather nice email from the editor asking that I rewrite the report in American English. He took the time to explain that Americans would be reading, and having to take action on, the report, so it was important that it be in American English. Lesson learned, never assume. I wasn’t dinged any points for that, but it reinforced what I already knew—when in doubt, ask.

There was a member of the forum who posted about a shop where they purchased “Earl Grey Tea” and the editor dinged them for “misspelling” Earl Grey, saying that it should be Earl Gray. While “gray” is indeed the “correct” spelling, very little research is required to discover that “The Right Honorable Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey” is indeed spelled “Grey”. And it is indeed the 2nd Earl Grey for whom the tea is named. I don’t know that I would necessarily “argue” the point with the editor, but I would certainly send them the reference as to the correct spelling.

Does it really matter what score you get on a report? In my opinion it doesn’t matter. While it would be nice if an editor would take the time to explain their score if asked, there aren’t enough hours in a day for them to do so.

There is only one real score that matters. It’s did you get paid the promised amount to complete the job? If you did, then what difference does it make if your score was 10 or seven? Granted, if you normally get 10s and all of a sudden you get a six, yes, ask politely what happened. It could be a new editor. It could be that you did misread the instructions and did make a mistake. But pick your fights carefully. Some MSCs read the forum, independent schedulers do talk with each other and with MSCs. Should mystery shoppers argue with editors, even when those editors are in the wrong? The answer is almost always no. While it is human nature to want to know what the mistake was that cost us a point or two, accept that, as mystery shoppers, some things must also remain a mystery to us.

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