8 myths about mystery shopping
1. It's always secretive -
This is true most of the time. I usually carry out a transaction in a business and report on the interactions I have. But today there is no secret. I am visiting 5 convenience stores with clipboard and a checklist. The employees will help me check on the list of products. I will spend about 40 minutes at each location. Each report will take about 20 minutes to do; I will be paid about $19 for each job. It's worth it as none of these places require me to drive out of my way.
2. It's easy money –
when I spend 7 minutes getting gas I need at a gas station, spend 20 minutes writing the report and get reimbursed $5 from the convenience store and $15 worth of gasoline it seems like easy money. On the other hand some jobs are a lot of work and require lengthy narratives in the reports. Even for the $15 gas station I have to write many sentences and two descriptive, paragraphs. At first those reports took me a lot longer than 20 minutes. One gets more efficient with practice.
3. It's more work than it's worth –
It’s funny that I hear it’s easy money as often as I hear this one. It is a lot of work at the beginning for many shoppers, including me. One has to sign up with the companies and look at their job boards often to learn what's available where you live. One has to find the jobs that either can earn a lot in one shop or one has to find many close to each other to make the drive worthwhile. It takes time to plan a day. Today’s plan was easier as all of the shops are the same and are from one job board. I had to pay attention to the addresses of the locations on the job board to come up with a route that did not take me out of my way. I had to print off the checklists for each location and make sure I knew how to find each address.
4. It's a scam?
I am asked this often. Mystery shopping is not a scam; some people pay all of their bills with mystery shopping. However, there are scams out there. I received phone call from someone using the name of an actual mystery shopping company inviting me to sign up. So I did. They sent me a check for $2400 dollars with some instructions about using some of the money to do a transaction at a local business; keeping some for my fee and wiring the rest back to them to “assess” Western Union. They even included a form to fill out about the service. I took it to the police. It is a common scam that they are well aware of. If you cash the cheque it will bounce and you will be out whatever money you used.
5. I am trying to catch people out
I am there to provide the opportunity to do a good job and get a good report. I am not there to look for mistakes. A lot of reports have boxes to tick yes or no someone did a certain action. If I tick no, I usually have to do a lot more explaining than if I tick yes. I hope everyone does the things they’ve been requested to do. I am not zealously looking for mistakes.
6. I have to spend a lot of money
I have spent money for expensive meals and for hotel rooms. If I don’t do my job properly to the client’s satisfaction I won’t be reimbursed or paid my fee. But I never have to spend money. I can do mystery shops such as banks, touring fitness centres, retail, and many more that don’t require me to spend anything. I can also do grocery and gas station shops that require I spend $15, but it’s for things I need anyway.
7. They want my opinion on service
Some people tell me they want to mystery shop so they can let people have it who give them bad service. Sometimes service I find annoying is exactly what the employees are expected to do. My job is to observe what I am asked to observe and fill out the report objectively. Some reports do have a place for my opinion, or ask a question about whether I would go back, but most do not
8. I get to keep a lot of products
The products I keep are the pop and small items from the convenience store, my gasoline and groceries. There are some shops where I must purchase something to create a receipt, so I try to find something that I actually need like shoelaces. Sometimes those shops will have a small reimbursement added to the fee; ranging from $1 to $10. I get reimbursed for food quite often. I get reimbursed for services like haircuts, oil changes and movies. The only retail shop where I got to keep something a little more valuable was a toy store. I got to keep a $30 purchase. There was no fee on top of the purchase. The shops where I had to buy something expensive I then had to return the purchase and evaluate that part of the process also.
sandralynn please consider this for the 8 challenge
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