A research approach to training a case study of mystery guest methodology

Deriving meaning from the world requires us to relinquish some of its texture. Like Funes, S.

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Luria wanted to discover not so much what S. He quotes long passages from their interviews and correspondence, and the two voices—Luria, measured and thoughtful; S. Luria is more reticent when it comes to the outer world of the man he studied for nearly three decades. He offers only the barest of biography, and never identifies S. Exactly how S. Some sources have him spending his sunset years as a Moscow cabbie, ferrying passengers around without need for a map, while others assert that he went insane and ended up in an asylum, unable to distinguish the present from the ever-living past of his memory.

Neither, it turns out, is true.

Eventually, I tracked down a relative. Written not long before his death and left incomplete, it opens with his impressions of that first meeting with Luria twenty-eight years earlier. It even provides the exact list of things Luria gave him to memorize that day. My search for Solomon Shereshevsky revealed a person who fit uneasily in the story of the Man Who Could Not Forget, as he has so often been portrayed.

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He did not, in fact, have perfect recall. His past was not a land he could wander through at will. For him, remembering took conscious effort and a certain creative genius.


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His extraordinary case also reveals something of how our ordinary minds remember, and how often they do not. He dates their meeting to April 13, , while Luria has it occurring a few years before, and Shereshevsky gives his age at the time as thirty-seven, while Luria asserts that his subject was still in his twenties.

According to Shereshevsky, he returned to the newspaper that day and told his editor that his memory had been tested and was found to exceed the bounds of what was believed to be physically possible. In short order, he hired a circus trainer as his manager and travelling assistant and was coached by a carnival juggler on how to entertain. Then he set off for the provinces. For Reynberg, S. I tracked him down through a contact in Moscow and went to see him a few years ago on a hot summer afternoon in Brooklyn, where he now lives.

His apartment was a rambling series of neatly kept rooms that had an unmistakably Russian feel to them, from the beaded hallway curtain to the feast of delicious zakuski that had been laid out for my arrival. Reynberg is stocky, with a head of neatly combed ivory hair, and we sat for hours in the kitchen, talking about his uncle.

In that town outside Moscow, he said, the farmers who were supposed to meet him and his uncle at the train station never showed up, so they hired horse-drawn sledges to take them through the snow to find the venue on their own. The actual performance never happened, but they paid him nonetheless—in potatoes, Reynberg recalled, for which his uncle was grateful. Like food, housing was in short supply in those years. In Moscow, Shereshevsky lived with his wife and son in a damp room in the basement of a janitorial outbuilding tucked away in a courtyard.

A graduate of the famous Smolny Institute for Noble Maidens, Aida was a talented musician who kept her own piano in their cramped quarters. During spells of fine weather, husband and wife wheeled the instrument out into the courtyard to let it dry out.

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There was something striking about this incongruous image: the two of them trundling the heavy piano to a sunny spot in the courtyard, each bump calling forth dim polychromatic echoes from inside its wooden body. According to Reynberg, Shereshevsky was pressured to put his talents to work for the secret police, but he declined. His problems deepened after the Second World War, Reynberg said, during the so-called anti-cosmopolitanism campaign, a purge directed primarily at Jews. Shereshevsky found himself increasingly shunned, his shows cancelled. After a disastrous performance that left audience members clamoring for a refund, his career was essentially finished.

Shereshevsky had made a living off his memory in a land ruled by amnesia.

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Something else I learned that afternoon threatened to change my entire sense of who Shereshevsky was: His uncle, Reynberg said, could be forgetful. Reynberg told me that his uncle trained hours a day for his evening performances. Was he a mere showman after all?


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  7. Memory Championship. There were serious drawbacks in having so many channels open to the world. Shereshevsky avoided such things as reading the newspaper over breakfast because the flavors evoked by the printed words clashed with the taste of his meal. In many cases, we have involved personnel with criticisms or objections in the set-up process to gain support from the organization. In addition we offer training programmes service and sales to support training initiatives as a potential result of a mystery shopping campaign.

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    Case Study

    If you are planning a mystery shopping campaign, please contact us! For one of our clients, a large European OEM, mystery shoppings, along with mystery calling and mystery mailing are essential tools to monitor the quality of sales and service across their dealerships. These initiative are also used to identify improvement…. A manufacturer of office and school supplies was re-evaluating it sales channels. In order to stop negative developments, several measures were….