Monday, June 14

A Week in the Life of a Mystery Shopper

June 6th - June 12th...

Things picked up a bit last week, but it still felt like I should have done more. I think the summer heat is slowing me down. Last week I made $610 in fees and $300 in reimbursements.

  • As usual the majority of my work was either mystery shopping or auditing gas stations. I visited 34 last week. The difference in mystery shopping versus auditing is that the audits involve more detail. I announce myself to the attendant, take a series of photos, and leave an evaluation worksheet with the station to review their scores.
  • I shopped 11 retail stores, including a shoe store where my $5 reimbursement covered the cost of some new socks, and a clothing retailer where I bought some new underwear. For the first time, I completed three ADA (disability) shops. I've never completed a mystery shop from the perspective of a handicapped person and at first passed on the opportunity. But, the pay was generous (the shops had been carried over from May so there was a nice bonus on each). I learned two things: 1) employees tend to ignore people in wheelchairs and 2) clothes aisles are hard to navigate through. No telling how many shirts I knocked onto the floor trying to navigate the wheelchair around.
  • I shopped eight fast food restaurants and 2 truck stop restaurants.
  • I ended the week by doing a car count at a drive-in theater. That was a nice way to end the week. I got paid to see the new Shrek movie.
Fortunately I have burned through some of the gas I was worried about last week. I now have 5 five gallon gas containers and a one gallon container in the garage. All but one are completely full, and the tanks on both cars are close to full. Today I do my monthly merchandising route, which will burn up more than half a tank of gas... which is welcome news right now!

I'm not sure how busy this week will be. After today, my schedule is mostly uncertain. Last week I had most of the 34 gas stations already scheduled, so I didn't have to spend a lot of time looking for work. This week I have my merchandising route, 5 gas station audits and a couple of restaurants scheduled, but that's it. Oh... I am traveling to complete a hotel shop on Thursday. It's my first shop with a new company and I am pumped about it. Most of the hotels I've done in the past have been reimbursement only. This one includes the hotel, 3 meals at the hotel, and pays a $50 fee.

2 comments:

  1. You are amazing. I don't know how you do so well at the mystery shopping. I did a gas station audit last week and it took me an hour on-site plus an hour to enter the report at home. Now they have said I need to retake some of the pictures. Gas station audits do not seem like they are going to be worthwhile to me. I'm sure they can be done faster but I don't think I'll ever be fast enough to make them worthwhile. Right now I don't see a single mystery shopping opportunity in my area that is worthwhile.

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  2. Hey Andy. The audits are definitely not for everyone, particularly the ones for the green gas station company that is in a little trouble right now. Once I had to drive two hours round trip to re-take a photo, so I know what you mean. They are hard to please.

    The good news is that I finally figured things out, and with this latest round I have not had a single shop that required additional photos or clarifications.

    The average audit takes me about 20 minutes onsite and 10-15 minutes to enter online. The really bad ones do take much longer, especially if the owner is there following you around trying to explain why something is not right.

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