Sunday, May 2

Mystery Shopping Along the Way Home

Thought I would send out a quick update as I am leaving Omaha. The meeting yesterday was refreshing. It's like an annual pep talk with your favorite mentor who reminds you about what's really important in life. I'll probably post about what I learned later this week.

Last night I managed to find a Chinese takeout mystery shop. The pay was just $5 but my meal was covered. Since I'm away from home, this is a real expense I would have incurred otherwise.

This morning I visited Borsheim's, which is a huge jewelry store owned by Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway. This is probably the only time of the year I allow myself alcohol before noon, but, since it's free... I guess the fact that it's a Sunday morning makes it even more sinful.

I found 6 mystery shops to do en route to St. Louis. Five of these are a special gas station project where I will earn a fee, a very generous gas reimbursement and an in-store purchase reimbursement. Really simple shops - no photos required, no special timings, nothing. All I am doing is evaluating cleanliness, service and a couple special questions like the number of coolers inside. These are spread out through Iowa so my gas - at least to St. Louis - is covered. The 6th shop is a truck stop, which includes a sit down meal and in-store purchase. I lucked up with the truck stop - it is in an isolated area and wasn't shopped in April. The fee has been increased to $57 and the reimbursement is $18. To put this into perspective, the normal fee for this shop is just $10.

Tonight when I crash at the hotel I will work on a route for tomorrow. I'm surprised that none of this shopping-while-vacationing has caused any burnout. I thought by now I'd be sick of shopping and just want to get home as fast as I could. Instead, I'm like a crackhead trying to get his fix: how can I possibly pass up these isolated, ultra-rural Midwest communities that have desperate mystery shops begging for my evaluation?

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