When I was last fishing for blog fodder, Emily asked me to write more about mystery shopping. I most likely discovered mystery shopping as the “shop-ee” while laboring away at Blockbuster video when I was a young, wide-eyed, recently-graduated card-carrying English major. It was that job that introduced me to the cold, cruel world of corporate uniforms and scripted conversations. (Really, a part-time job during high school would not have been such a bad idea for me. But NOOOOOoooooo, I was too busy overachieving for such bourgeois activity.) (hmmmmm, wondering if having a part-time job really counts as a bourgeois activity)
I signed up with a couple of mystery shopping companies last February after reading about mystery shopping on some of my frugality blogs. I have to credit Bargain Shopper Lady for suggesting I sign up with Market Force (then Shop ‘n Check). They have provided me with the bulk of my mystery shopping jobs thus far. I am definitely still learning.
I have done mystery shopping for Market Force International and Spies in Disguise. I would recommend both of these companies. Both companies list a variety of jobs in my area and provide helpful instructions on how to complete the jobs successfully.
Some qualities that will help you to be a successful mystery shopper are good organizational skills, attention to detail, and strong writing skills. There is a lot to remember.
Don’t expect to be able to drag the kids with you. Most shops will specify whether you are allowed to bring anyone else along. I definitely prefer to go out by myself in the evening or on the weekend and clear the ole brain cells while making a few bucks. When I go out with my kids, all my brain cells seem to be sucked away making sure my children are not illegally filling their pockets with tic tacs or hurling themselves in front of oncoming traffic.
I like to think of mystery shopping as an interesting new hobby. I sign up for shops that are not that far afield from my normal travels, because often the shops do not pay that much. You might get reimbursed for a purchase and/or paid a small fee.
But, you know I love the small things. And I’m an “every little bit counts” kind of a girl. Also, having worked in public service for over 10 years (after that fateful first job at Blockbuster), good customer service is very important to me. I worked hard to master the art. And I enjoy helping others perfect their skills as well.
So there you go. That’s pretty much the extent of my current mystery shopping knowledge. Anyone else have any experience to share?