“Say it ain't so, Joe?” All manner of nefarious activities are being conducted under the very noses of the authorities, with nary a move made to thwart the evil-doers. Of course, civilian criminal law doesn't enjoy nearly the reach that a prime operative does in the high stakes, cat and mouse, dog eat dog retail jungle of the mystery shopper industry. So when the Mystery Shopper's on the job, no slackers or cheaters are safe. Corruption, crime and just plain slovenliness exist to be rooted out and expunged, making society a better, more habitable place. And only a true expert with the skill set of Joe Lopp, The Mystery Shopper, could successfully and adroitly navigate his way through the tangled webs and twisting mazes which confront him during the course of his remarkable cases. Set down in print for the first time by his trusty sidekick and apprentice, Stan Greene, readers will marvel at the Mystery Shopper's exploits. Or contact their attorneys…
Michael gives an overview of the book:
Proclaimed amongst the information on the company’s brochure was this, and I quote, ‘I Can Make Your Day!’(Mystery Shopper, USA). My friend and employer made this his mantra, and pursued its fulfillment with a talent and gusto that has never been equaled, much less seen before, in the Mystery Shopper industry.
His given name was Joe Lopp. The names which he gave himself were, amongst others, Nathan Broadhurst, Colin Throckmorton, and Lamont Baskerville. It all depended on which agency he was working for at any given time. He liked to refer to 'the agency' whenever he was 'on assignment'.
In his younger days he had adopted the personae of such characters as Billy Ray Lester, complete in a wife beater, tight jeans, and cowboy boots or, another favorite, Sid Carpoli, in shiny suits, wide collars, and gold chains.
Important to note: it was from his early years on stage, as a child actor, that he learned the art of make-up, of costume, and disguise. It wasn’t so much that he applied this craft to altering completely his appearance, Lon Chaney-esque, rather he made the most of more casual changes, by giving each of his many and varied alter-egos different dress and personae, that served to allow the same man to morph imperceptibly from one character role to another. Thereby, he thwarted detection, even though, for all intents and purposes, he was the same physical person. He has always been a marvelous method actor.
Since those, his younger days, however, he had abandoned all plebeian trappings, and began clothing and carrying himself in a style more suited to his presumed station and profession. Also, as he became more than a bit long in the tooth and thick of limb for the kind of attire he once wore so proudly.
But his abilities, like a mellowed, yellowing page, did not diminish, and surely became more precious with the passage of time. He carried himself with a dignity that projected to people the style and wisdom of another, more genteel, tintype era. This served him very well in hoodwinking the unwary, which consisted of almost everyone who happened across the path he trod with ponderous footsteps.
Having been driven from his former ‘occupations’ by a combination of his guilt-tripping grandmother and wise guy mafioso’s, Joe eventually found his way into the burgeoning Mystery Shopper industry, where his talents could be displayed on an entirely different stage. Joe worked for more than a dozen different agencies, all told, on a regular basis, not to mention numerous others, which I can scarcely keep track of, on a more needs-based, special commission footing. And all at the same time. It was really quite astonishing, and totally unprecedented in the industry for a mystery shopper to be as prolific as Joe. But he had aliases enough to cover all the agencies that hired his services. And then some, no doubt. When made aware of the numbers involved, he would simply reply, “Ah, my dear fellow, aren’t they all really one ‘Agency'?”
It’s important to keep in mind that many MS agencies frowned upon the employment of shoppers, or as Joe would have it, 'agents', who were otherwise employed as mystery shoppers for other agencies. The same person circulating around the same assortment of places was bound to raise suspicions, especially amongst the more furtively lazy and bad tempered employees in the retail world. The point of the exercise was to catch them unawares in their natural surly state. But ability and a hard earned reputation could easily overcome such a discrepancy, when it came to Mr. Lopp.