Like this shirt? I got it at the mall … FREE. We’re going to dinner tonight … FREE. Oh look another check in the mail. C’mon kids … we’re going to BurgerLand … FREE. New hammer …. FREE. A bouquet of flowers? For Me? How beautiful … FREE
Nothing in this world is FREE – right? Correct. But how about ALMOST free, or Free with little effort? Ah ha! Now that I’ve gotten your attention, let me introduce you to the world of MYSTERY SHOPPING.
In it’s simplest form – Mystery Shopping is merely evaluating a product or service, and getting paid to do it. Oh yes, and you must be covert about it. The list of assignments is literally endless. You could be asked to go to a fast food restaurant, a clothing store, an employment agency, a car repair establishment, receive a bouquet of flowers, get your eyes checked, be a potential renter in an apartment complex, eat out at a fine dining restaurant; shall I go on? Well, you get the idea.
Many will reimburse you for what was required to purchase AND give you a small bonus ($8-$15) on top of that. Sometimes you’re allowed to spend $40 for dinner and you’ll get an extra $10 if you submit your report on time. Other times you get reimbursed only for what you purchased and that’s it. Each company compensates differently.
Ok, if you’re still reading, you must be still interested. HOW do you get involved in something like this – it sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? Like everything, there are a few downsides. Perhaps “areas of consideration” is a more appropriate word to use here.
What is your time worth? Sometimes you’ll be offered a gig where you have to stay in a store for 20 minutes and interact with different employees. Then you need to come home and fill out a 3-page report detailing every single tidbit that happened. You may have driven 30 miles round trip and you’ll get a check for $10 when all is said and done. For me, it’s not worth it. But for you and your situation, it may fit fine. Also you may be asked to go to a boatload of fast food restaurants and purchase Crabby Patties. Now suddenly you need an entire new wardrobe because it appears your dryer is now shrinking all your pants. You just need to evaluate what you want to and are willing to do.
Cut to the chase, you say. “HOW do I get started?” It’s rather simple, actually. Go to your favorite search engine and type in “Mystery Shoppers” or “Mystery Shopping” or “Secret Shopping”. From here you’ll see a plethora of companies that work in this arena. Start clicking away and signing up to become a shopper. They’ll ask you for basic contact information. Some will ask why you want to be a shopper. Others might ask for a sample of your writing. This is to insure you can complete an evaluation report. It could take 4-6 weeks before you hear back from some. Some will phone you, some will send you emails and some will send assignments in the mail. Say, “Yes” to as many as you’d like and say “No Thank You” to those that don’t interest you.
So what are you waiting for? GET SHOPPING!
About the author: I’m Laurie Ayers and I can be found at http://www.laurieayers.com. I am work-at-home mom to two young children. As a single mom, my income comes from working as a Freelance Writer (newsletters, press releases, copywriting, resumes, etc.) and from selling on ebay (ID: OurPreciousKids). Have fun and God bless!
Submitted by: Laurie Ayers *
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