677 Miles... That's the estimate my mapping software gives for the route I am taking today to complete 8 mystery shops. It's the last weekday of the month, the quarter...even the year. Mystery shopping companies are desperate. Ever the opportunist, I'm piling into the Corolla for a marathon journey. I can sleep when I die, right?
I am auditing two gas stations that normally pay $11 with a $7 reimbursement. Today they are paying $73.50 each, plus reimbursement. Then through another company I searched for nearby shops and came up with four: two relatively paltry mystery shops ($16.50 each plus reimbursement), a $50 gas station shop and a $35 home improvement shop. I also have two local restaurants where I have to snap photos of the drive-thru menu boards ($12 each). In all I will earn $289 in fees, $15 in free gas and $6 in free stuff. It's debatable whether the money is worth the effort, but all in all I can justify it: I'll be out about $40 in gas after reimbursement, plus some wear and tear on my car. The Corolla is approaching 130,000 miles and my cost of ownership, gas included, has been around $.20/mile. Either way I look at it I come out ahead.
Anyone else think I've lost my mind?