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Monday, November 8

A Week in the Life of a Mystery Shopper

October 31st - November 6th...

Wow - it was a great week. Even better, I didn't do a single shop last weekend - by choice. I rarely take a day off but I was feeling like I needed a little "me" time. This flexibility to decide when you want to work is another great benefit of being a full-time mystery shopper.

Even with the shortened week, I earned $728 in fees and $246 in reimbursements. Full disclosure: part of my earnings came from my periodic merchandising route, which is what I consider to be mystery shopping's red headed stepsister. It has its ups and downs.

My mystery shopping adventures took me through a number of scenarios. I shopped two grocery stores, earning $24 in fees and $20 worth of free groceries - and, no narrative to report! I ate more boneless chicken wings than I care to admit, and I dined on grilled tilapia via a route of three highly bonused seafood restaurants.

I visited gas stations. Lots of them. My garage smells like fuel. It's to the point that my dreams are about dirty rugs and dusty ventilation fans in a restroom that smells like death. I can't buy gas anymore without checking to see if there are paper towels stuck in their holder at the pump, even when I'm not on a shop.

I did several other shops, including a gourmet chocolate store at the mall, three clothing stores, a copy store, business verification at a mortgage company, cookie store audit, internet car inquiry, and two telephone bank shops.

This week? Busy, but probably not like last week. I have to do at least 22 gas stations, one grocery store, a few restaurants and a merchandising job.


  1. I still do some mystery shopping, but most of my income comes from merchandising. But you can't beat a nice meal out, especially when the narrative isn't too taxing.

    But I no longer do $30 meals that require four hours of very fussy writing.

  2. Gordon - I totally agree. I think many of us were drawn to mystery shopping by the promise of lavish meals and free gifts, only to find the dreaded report when we arrive home... the one that takes hours to complete like you said. Suddenly that meal is much less appetizing!

    Now I look at each shop as a business opportunity. I calculate my estimated earnings per hour and decide if it is worth the trouble.

  3. I once did some jewelry store shops for $10 each. The editor sent back the narrative three times! It had to follow their format just exactly so.

    Then two months later they called me and begged me to take them again. Ah, no, thanks.