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Monday, October 4

A Week in the Life of a Mystery Shopper

September 26th - October 2nd...

Last week was mediocre. I earned $427 in fees and $107 in reimbursements. Most of my work came from shopping or auditing gas stations. I took a chance on a couple of mobile phone stores. The fee was $15 each, which I considered fair for 15 minutes in store and another 15 minutes of reporting. I also did a handful of one-off merchandising jobs.

In my report last week I said this past week looked "dreadful". While it's not one of my better weeks, it certainly was better than I thought. Lesson learned: be persistent and optimistic.

Persistence is key to success. For example, I was about to give up on a special project that required me to schedule an inspection with the contact. No one would call me back ("Hi, I'm calling to schedule your inspection, when would it be convenient for you?" - I wouldn't call back, either!). Rather than give up, I decided to take my chances and just show up. Each visit took 15-20 minutes and paid $21. I wasn't about to give up that easy. It worked: I was able to complete 4 of the 6 inspections.


  1. I have a mystery shopper question for you. It's a problem I've encountered a couple times, which is that I'm required for the shop report to get the sales or service person's name. Now if they're wearing a nametag, which they're supposed to be, or they have cards or a name plate out on the counter, no problem. But the last bank shop I did, the lone teller in the whole place did not have a name plate at her station, no cards sitting out, and no nametag. I was asked to describe her, which I did, but is there any way to ask someone their name without it being a sort of giveaway? Because why would I want someone's name unless I'm going to make a note of my shop for some reason (or maybe complain to their manager)? I can't think of any reason to ask a person's name that isn't a giveaway of some sort or doesn't at least raise curiosity on the service rep's part, ya know?

    I just wondered how you might handle it. Thanks in advance!

  2. I used to be really worried about not being able to get a name. Fortunately most companies understand when that is not possible. Here's a couple things I've tried:

    "You look familiar. What's your name?"
    "You've been so helpful. What's your name? Thank you _______________, I really appreciate your help."

    The key is to always stay natural and not over-explain. Believe it or not, most employees are NOT looking for shoppers. Using one of my phrases above just shows you care about them as a person.