They say you’re never too old to start something new, and lately, that seems to be proving true for me in my senior years.
First of all, I recently began working as a copy editor, editing mystery shoppers’ reports. Mystery shoppers are people who are hired to eat at restaurants or go shopping at various stores and then fill out reports about customer service, product quality and the cleanliness of the facility. My job is to edit these reports so they make sense and sound professional. I also have to make certain the shoppers’ narratives match their scoring.
For example, on a report I recently edited, a shopper wrote: “Susie, our food server, was amazing. She was sociable and smiling, she recommended appetizers and specials, she kept our water glasses filled, and she checked back on us several times to make certain everything was OK.”
Then, on the next question, “On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being excellent and 1 being poor, please rate the server.”
The shopper scored her only a 2. I changed it to a 5. I mean, other than giving them their food free of charge and standing there cutting their meat and feeding it to them, I don’t think poor Susie could have done much more to gain points.
On another form, the question was: “What was the best thing about your dining experience at this restaurant?”
The shopper answered: “The guy I went with.”
Some of the clients’ questions on the reports, however, make me chuckle. For example, one of the questions asks: “Did the employee offer you a departing greeting?”
A departing greeting? Isn’t that an oxymoron? Maybe a “departing or closing comment” might sound a little better?
And most of the restaurants want their servers to try to upsell to the patrons. For example, if the customer orders a burger, the server should suggest fries or onion rings to go with it. If the customer orders a piece of pie, the server should suggest topping it off with a scoop of ice cream.
But the question on the form asks: “Did the server suggestively try to sell you any additional food items?”
When I first read the question, without understanding the full meaning of it, a vision of a female server dressed “suggestively” in lingerie came to mind, as she sat on the customer’s lap and cooed, “How about a nice turkey dinner, big boy?”
And then there is the busboy question: “Were the bussers busy cleaning or serving guests?”
I pictured them with wet cloths, “cleaning” the guests.
One shopper was sent to report on five bars in one day, which involved buying a drink at each one and then sitting and observing the bartender. He ordered straight whiskey at each bar. By the time he filled out his fifth report, I barely could understand a word he’d written.
And then there are the shoppers who can’t seem to follow instructions. One client wanted the shopper to take a photo of her meal before she took a bite of it because he was interested in how appealing the food’s presentation looked. Well, the shopper submitted a lovely photo of the exterior of the restaurant, including the parking lot. I haven’t figured out that one yet.
But I must say I’m truly enjoying the job because it’s always interesting. And I have to confess, I really am learning something new every day.
My other job began just two weeks ago, and it’s an entirely new venture for me.
There is this new online personality called Greta Grumble. Greta is in her mid-70s and is a cross between Mrs. Doubtfire and Maxine, that grouchy old lady on the Hallmark greeting cards. Greta has just started posting weekly videos called, “Greta Grumble Complains,” on www.youtube.com.
And I am the one who is writing the humorous material for her.
It’s not an easy job to come up with a new topic every week and then write out a script for Greta to follow, but so far, I’ve written two, and I haven’t been fired yet, so I think that’s a good sign. But this whole Greta thing is still in its infancy, so I have no idea if she will gain popularity or not. But being the big dreamer that I am, I’m hoping Greta will go viral and gain over a million viewers (I’m not wishing for too much here!) so then I’ll be guaranteed job security.
In the first video, I have Greta complaining about the world’s obsession with large breasts (you can check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IG7NvvNl75Q&t=17s and in the second one, Greta complains about how kissing has changed over the years: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZPW5qHaTKY
I write the stuff and then Greta ad-libs and adds her own comments, sound effects and gestures to bring everything to life. And then we pray that the finished product will make people laugh! All I can say is Greta is, well…a real character…um, unique.
Right now, however, I’m facing yet another rapidly approaching “Greta” deadline and I haven’t any clue what to write about. Talk about pressure. I’m praying I won’t crack, especially not this early in the job.
But who knows? If Greta becomes a hit, I just might end up getting a job writing for a big-time comedy show on TV and earning enough money to buy my own private island.
Hey, I may be older than dirt, but I still can dream big.
Meanwhile, I have to go edit a restaurant report now where the shopper has described the flavor of the food as tasting like sh*t.
As I said, it’s always interesting.
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