In my quest to make ends meet, I've supplemented my mystery shopping work with merchandising. What is merchandising, you ask? Well, some companies will use contractors to maintain the shelves at retailers that stock their products. I used to think retailers were the ones that managed their inventory and organized their merchandise. While that is true for many things, it's not for others. Think DVDs, pre-pay phone services, and greeting cards, and these items are probably handled by a merchandiser who comes into the stores on a regular basis to straighten the shelves (according to "planogram"), report outages to the supplier, and maintain the face-to-face relationship with the store managers.
I just started doing this last week, but I was able to sign up for permanent assignments with a few stores, which means I will always be assigned the work for that store and won't have to compete with others to receive it.
How much does it pay? Not much... the ones I've signed up for so far range from $6 to $12 per visit. Fortunately, most assignments pay a set fee regardless of the time it takes. Unless the visit involves installing new displays, it's generally a quick in and out. I did my first two assignments last week, and even though I was new to it, I was in and out of the store in 20 minutes.