Have you done mystery shopping and did you like it? - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: have you ever been a mystery shopper?
Yes - And still do 5 83.33%
Yes - but it wasn't my thing so I gave up 7 100.00%
I make decent money w/ it (if you don't mind giving a range plz do) 0 0%
I don't make much money w/ it 7 100.00%
No - heard about it, but it seems like too much work 5 83.33%
other (just incase) 7 100.00%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 6. You may not vote on this poll

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#1 of 16 Old 07-16-2008, 04:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok I guess this is not really working at home but comes closest.

I have been hearing about mystery shoppers and have an email about it. It is free to sign up. I don't know anything about it. If anyone did it can you plz let me know your experience.

TIA
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#2 of 16 Old 07-16-2008, 06:24 PM
 
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Hmm... I'm curious about this, too. (So I didn't vote in the pole.)

Most of the "free" ones I've encountered have been pure spam, as in you have to complete X number of "offers" to qualify for, or some such crap. There was one a while back that an MDC momma was doing well at that you had to pay $50 to join, and that seemed more realistic to me. I just never had the $50 to spare to try it myself. If only the search feature was working, I'd search it out and find that link again.

I'd love to mystery shop not just 'cause it's fun to shop, but also having worked retail for my whole adult life I think I would be really good at giving a fair and honest opinion of what kind of customer service I should expect. Unlike the woman who mystery shopped the place I worked at one time and gave us a "failing grade" in every category over the most trifling sh!t ever, most of which was actually beyond our control. Even the manager was like, "WTF? Did she want us to wipe her @ss on the way out, too???" when we had to go over it. Every other mystery shop we all got fairly high marks, because out of the 5 people that worked there, we all loved what we were doing. It was a really fun place to work.


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#3 of 16 Old 07-16-2008, 08:49 PM
 
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It wasn’t really worth it. In my area, all of the assignments were out of the metropolitan area so it required a lot of driving to make a *few* bucks. Plus, eventually I ended getting a lot of assignments that involved fast food [vomit smilie] which I don’t/cant/wont ingest. It may be different in other areas though.

I did it when I was in-between jobs, but was doing a lot of other things on the side as well (besides temping in my regular field) modeling, movie extra work, working at expos, etc.
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#4 of 16 Old 07-16-2008, 10:38 PM
 
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I've thought about it, but heard that some of them require their shoppers to be deliberately nasty to the employees (too see how well the employees handle that) and I never felt like looking into it farther after that. People in customer service work hard for little money, and NOBODY deserves to be treated poorly, particularly intentionally. Nobody should have to put up with that. There probably are mystery shopper jobs that don't require it, but I wouldn't know where to begin to find out.
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#5 of 16 Old 07-16-2008, 11:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krisw View Post
I've thought about it, but heard that some of them require their shoppers to be deliberately nasty to the employees (too see how well the employees handle that) and I never felt like looking into it farther after that. People in customer service work hard for little money, and NOBODY deserves to be treated poorly, particularly intentionally. Nobody should have to put up with that. There probably are mystery shopper jobs that don't require it, but I wouldn't know where to begin to find out.
None of my assignments required me to be nasty or anything - just myself. I was given a checklist/survey to fill out at the end to rate the service.
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#6 of 16 Old 07-21-2008, 04:11 PM
 
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I've done a bunch for my local supermarket chain. They're pretty easy, pay between $8 and $12 and I can often do them with my kids.
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#7 of 16 Old 07-21-2008, 04:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krisw View Post
I've thought about it, but heard that some of them require their shoppers to be deliberately nasty to the employees (too see how well the employees handle that) and I never felt like looking into it farther after that. People in customer service work hard for little money, and NOBODY deserves to be treated poorly, particularly intentionally. Nobody should have to put up with that. There probably are mystery shopper jobs that don't require it, but I wouldn't know where to begin to find out.
I've done ms from time to time and never had to be nasty to anyone. I did have a few assignments where I was supposed to offer an objection such as "I'm not sure how long this item will last." There are some assignments that ask you to do special requests (ie no tomatoes) to make sure the cs people follow through. You can review assignments before accepting them too.

MS doesn't pay a lot but it is sometimes fun to do. I wouldn't do it for a living but if you are going to be at the mall anyway, sometimes an extra 10 minutes can pay $10.

Here is a big old list of ms companies. It should be free to sign up.

http://www.volition.com/mysteryUSA1.html
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#8 of 16 Old 07-21-2008, 07:43 PM
 
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Someone gave my name to a couple of companies a few years ago and I was asked to do a few shops. I've had fun with it, though I've always made more money with Audits than with 'Mystery Shopping'.
I've never paid anyone to get started and don't think you should have to. There are several companies which will match shoppers for free.

As mentioned, Volition is a good starting place. Bestmark, Intellishop, Kern Sheduling, and Ritter and Associates are some good choices.

Also, if you come across a shop that needs to be done ASAP, ask if there will be a bonus for getting it done within the day. I've been able to get double (or more) the original rate on a few jobs, simply for stepping in at the last minute.

Good luck!
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#9 of 16 Old 07-23-2008, 02:44 AM
 
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I'm with a couple of companies. This is NZ though, with a) fewer shops and b) fewer shops who can be bothered with mystery shoppers. So my mystery shopping opportunities revolve on a tiny little treadmill of 2 fast food places, 1 bank, 1 video store and 3 retail stores. Not very exciting. And definitely not 'worth' the money, especially as I don't have a car; but still, kinda fun. If I feel like getting paid to eat fast food, I'll take a job.

I'd be surprised if a mystery shopper was ever asked to be rude. With my companies the focus is on being an 'average' customer--not ordering unusual foods (like a burger without pickles), or spending ages chatting with the staff (which would affect service times), etc.

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#10 of 16 Old 07-23-2008, 07:23 PM
 
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I did over 300 shops between May 2004 and October 2005 and have since quit. I quit first because of pregnancy brain - I screwed up some BASIC shop requirements (like getting names, receipts) and felt horrible. Then, after my son was born in June 2006, I decided to be a SAHM (now a WAHM) and was still concerned my concentration wouldn't be where it should be, so I've semi-permanently retired from it.

Did I make money? No, nowhere near what I put into the gas (and that was back at like $1.85-$2.25/gallon!). But I live in a very rural area - I am 45 mins. drive from two large malls. So there were a lot of shops available (even locally in my small town), but very rarely was I able to make a "day of it" and it's not like the mall was super convenient to get to. But, it definitely gave me and my family something interesting to do on evenings/weekends. My kids loved going with me, especially on gas station shops that paid $10 and reimbursed $1 purchases - I'd let each kid get something for the $1 and they loved it. We got to eat at places we might never have otherwise tried and I was often able to buy things that I could use more in my "business" (like a headset from Radio Shack that cost $20 - I was reimbursed $10 and was able to use it for making phone calls on behalf of MS companies).

I agree there is more money in doing the audits and/or the merchandising. Volition.com is a great starting point to register with companies. NEVER, EVER pay to join any shopping company!!

If you love the challenge of remembering dozens of small details and getting it done right and don't mind writing like 250 words on the quality of a restroom, MS could be for you. If, however, you actually need extra income, I would definitely steer you away from MS as you generally end up spending more than you're making.

It's fun, it takes huge amounts of concentration and 100% commitment when you've signed on to do a shop. If you want to do it, I'd say go for it!

Wife to one amazing man, unschooly mama to 2 boys daily (8/99 and 6/06), mom to 4 boys (6/94 and 2/00) and countless exchange students, praying to someday homebirth a daughter...
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#11 of 16 Old 07-23-2008, 07:33 PM
 
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other, it sounds like a dream job to me, but i have no idea who would hire me for this!!

eta--looking at the volition site--it couldn't hurt to play at, i live right near a mall

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#12 of 16 Old 07-23-2008, 08:20 PM
 
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I did it for a little while. It just wasn't my thing, I don't care for shopping. If DH had the time I'm sure he'd love it!

I'm a modifiedartist.gif DH is a reading.gif we have 2 angel.gifs, and DS is a rainbow1284.gif baby.gif
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#13 of 16 Old 07-26-2008, 01:12 AM
 
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I quit b/c when I signed up for it I thought I would be able to take DS along, but most of the assignments specified no children. The part that really annoyed me about it was that they didn't list it in the assignment offer, just in the instructions after I had accepted the assignment. Needing do the assignments while DH was available to watch DS, instead of while DS and I were out running errands and whatnot, meant extra car trips that made it cost more than it was worth.

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#14 of 16 Old 07-26-2008, 11:12 AM
 
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I did mystery shopping for a couple of years. I started when I had only one DS. In a nutshell, some assignments were fun, the report writing was mostly boring and the fact that you spent hours to perfect a report and couldn't bring your kids were negatives.

Some of the visits were fun i.e. visit a bank and pretend to open a savings account and ask a set of questions. Write a report - get $30. Sometimes I visited a clothing store and had set questions to ask. But mostly it was fast food and you had a set amount of questions and things to observe.

And the report writing - unless it was an essay-style report, I found the writing very very dry and tedious. I had to write essay-style answers about Pizza Pizza food, for example. It sounds okay but trust me - the reports were very boring.

The assignments were too labour intensive. It would take me 2 hours or more to do a report. If the report is not perfect, they just don't pay you for the assignment.

So here is the biggest negative - at least within the company for which I worked - when you take on an assignment, you are required to cover out-of-pocket expenses. You will be reimbursed for the expenses but only after your assignment has been read and accepted. If you don't get all the correct information, you miss a detail or your report is not written correctly - they will either request more details or reject the entire thing.

So when I would see, for instance, a Mystery Shopping assignment at a Niagara on the Lake spa - I'd kind of be nervous. Sure - you get a night in a hotel and spa treatments for free - but you must pay for those things yourself first and then only after the assignment is accepted, are you reimbursed.

There would, therefore, be stress about whether you'd actually have the assignment accepted or would you end up spending money!

And as I said, no kids and the exotic assignments were only for experienced shoppers who has passed numerous levels of exams and minor assignments.

I actually would still be doing the assignments because I had great fun doing the retail and banking ones but they seemed to dwindle and eventually my city only seemed to have Pizza Pizza assignments! And I don't like Pizza Pizza!

Oh yes - I'd have to find someone to watch my kids, I'd drive to the assignment, I'd do the assignment. Then I'd bring home the food (you're not supposed to do this but there is no way I could or would eat all that food) to share with the family. THEN, I'd spend about 1 - 2 hours writing my assignment (that is again, without kids). Then I'd get paid perhaps $8-12 and reimbursement for the food.

I guess if you really like fast food, it's okay but I really didn't care if I had a free meal of New York Fries or Pizza Pizza!

Also - some of the other assigments (i.e. visiting a pub or restaurant) involve two adults. So you could bring a friend (but again if you have children, they can't come).

The last detail I recall - I had a strict timeline. You had about 24 hours to submit your report. So - if I went to a scheduled visit at 1pm., I had until the next afternoon to submit my write-up. So again, I had to plan the visit around my family's schedules.

It was a lot of hassle. My DH still misses the free fries though.
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#15 of 16 Old 07-26-2008, 01:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by barose View Post
It wasn’t really worth it. In my area, all of the assignments were out of the metropolitan area so it required a lot of driving to make a *few* bucks. Plus, eventually I ended getting a lot of assignments that involved fast food [vomit smilie] which I don’t/cant/wont ingest. It may be different in other areas though.

I did it when I was in-between jobs, but was doing a lot of other things on the side as well (besides temping in my regular field) modeling, movie extra work, working at expos, etc.
(remembering more now)

Just to add onto my experience. When I first started, I didn't get fast food assignments. Most of the assignments were at restaurants. Either small local chains like Straights in the Bay Area or national ones (ie. PF Changs or Ill Fornaio). I never have been a chain restaurant diner, but some of these places I was assigned to wasnt bad. Never places like The Olive Garden or anything like that (I would decline if that happened). They would have me filling a long questionnaire/form about the experinece. They would base it on dining with two people so I always invited my DP or a friends to go with me. I was paid for the assignment and reimbursed for the meals (for two) after I turned the questionnaire and receipts in. They would reimburse up to a certain amount - mostly to pay for two entrees, sometimes starters and drinks. Anything else was on me.
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#16 of 16 Old 07-26-2008, 04:26 PM
 
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I've done them. I generally only do them if it is something that interests me (free food or clothes for example) or something I don't have too drive too far for. I live in the country so I just do them a few times a year. I would not consider it something in most cases that you could make a consistant income from.
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