The concept of mystery shopping has been around for awhile. Mystery shoppers go into stores, posing as real customers, and then write up an evaluation of their experience in exchange for a small payment. I started mystery shopping a few years ago primarily as a way to earn a little extra cash. But over time, it has grown to be much more than that. Did you know that mystery shopping can be used to accomplish tasks you wouldn’t have normally? Did you know mystery shopping can help improve your marriage? Did you know it can even add some excitement to your life?
Come along with me as I show you how in my recap of a busy and interesting week of mystery shopping.
Three years ago on March 3rd, my very first customer post went live in the CareOne user community. I told my CareOne friends that if we worked in the same office I would have totally brought in treats to celebrate my blogoversary. I even thought about making cookies and shipping them to their headquarters in Maryland, however, I didn’t think it was a great use of our money to ship cookies across the country. But when I saw mystery shopping jobs available for the United States Postal Service, I just couldn’t resist.
The boxes used for shipping, the postage, and even the insurance were all reimbursable. I had to ship a package from two different locations, both of which I pass by every day. I spent less than 10 minutes in each post office.
Reimbursement (boxes, insurance, postage) : $20.60
Shop Completion : $20.00
Total Value $40.60
The Cell Phone Robbery
My next job sent me to a Sprint store to inquire about cell phone plan options. The gentleman I spoke with described the plans available, in which I discovered that a comparable plan with them was about $30 a month cheaper than the one we recently signed up for with AT&T. Bummer for us. Then it got interesting. The guy I was talking to noticed a phone that he had just shown me was missing. He yelled to all his employees in the store, but nobody had it. Someone had walked in the store, unhooked a phone that was literally 5 feet away from where we were standing, and walked out the door!
I wanted to include that in my report, but that particular evaluation form did not give me the opportunity. I didn’t have to buy anything, so this one is pure profit for spending 20 minutes in the store, and getting a great story to tell.
Total Value (payment): $11.00
Wings, Beer, and a Date
My final mystery shop of the week sent me to a Buffalo Wild Wings for a late dinner. We had to enter the restaurant after 9pm, so I scheduled a date night for Friday night. We enjoyed some wings, a beer, and some great adult alone time that every couple needs.
Food reimbursement: $15
Shop Completion payment $ 5
Total Value: $20
The cost of our meal was $28.55 (with tip), so our dinner will cost us $8.55 out of pocket. Not bad!
When it’s all totaled up, I did four shops this week for a total value of $71.60. In addition to putting a little extra change in my pocket, I was able to have a dinner with my beautiful wife, and send cookies across the country so some very special people could share in celebrating a significant milestone with me. Oh, and did I mention I witnessed a robbery?
All just the status quo for a week in the life of a mystery shopper, I guess!
Have you ever done mystery shopping? Do you have any interesting experiences, like witnessing a robbery?