They're not all assholes, though. Sometimes, mystery shoppers have to report people for being decent. Irving explains: "There was a cashier at the Disney Land ticket office who said, 'I shouldn't tell you, but Park Hopper tickets are really not worth it.' That was good advice, but the 'script' they're supposed to follow explicitly wanted them to try to upsell to that option. I had to report her. I imagine the Disney people were less than happy that a cashier was saving customers money at their expense. I cannot say for certain, but she probably got in trouble because of me."
"The court of Disney sentences you to 15 rides on It's A Small World."
And if that makes you feel gross inside, don't worry. There's more disgusting outside stuff to focus on. "I used to think all I needed in a hotel were clean linens and no bugs," Betty told us. "But I've seen too much ... I now know that bedspreads and duvets are washed and changed three or four times a year, tops. There is a hotel I stayed at recently that advertised cleaning the bedspread after each guest, but when I smelled it, it definitely did not smell fresh. You should also check the crease in the mattress for bugs or signs of bugs. They like to hide in the edge of the mattress border/decoration ... Finally, don't drink from real glasses. A lot of hotels don't wash them out between guests."
Being a mystery shopper is like putting on those glasses from They Live, only instead of seeing subconscious propaganda, you bear witness to a secret world of skid marks and bedbugs.
Jiri Humpolicek/Wiki Commons
Mystery Shoppers Are Even Used At Funeral Homes
Mystery shoppers investigate all kinds of businesses. All kinds. When Betty investigates funeral parlors, "I sometimes portray a person with a chronic disease, a family member with a disease, or a person who wants to prepare their end-of-life 'stuff' for a will or the like."
It might seem like a cruel prank, but this is a necessary service. For example, on one assignment, "I said I was interested in learning more about cremation. After receiving the information, I waited for a followup call. My job was to measure the usefulness of the followup information, the presentation/consultation itself, etc." If you get a bad taco, you're probably going to forget about it in 24-78 hours, but bad service at a funeral parlor is a lot more damaging.
"Eh, these all rot in the ground the same way."
The precise demands of clients go from extremely silly to downright poignant. "During another assignment," Betty says, "I was to go to a grave site and take a picture to make sure flower delivery had been placed." Checking up to make sure the dead are properly honored is a pretty heavy responsibility. We'd probably ask to be reassigned to Chalupa duty.
Cezary Jan Strusiewicz is a Cracked columnist, interviewer, and editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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