Has anyone ever tried being a "secret shopper"? Is it legit?
Kate from MD
It is legitimate and fun, but you have a certain amount of work to do. First, you don't have to pay anybody to give you names of companies to do mystery shops for. Do a web search and find the companies yourself. Many now have their open assignments online so you can just log in and choose an assignment, but others will email or call you, or expect you to call them.
There will be a list of things you need to look for and remember, and to write a report about. Some reports are as simple as a multiple choice test, but some require narrative answers. I recently did an oil change shop in which I won't be paid any extra money, but I'll get the cost of my oil change back. I had to make an advance phone call, get the guy's name, ask for directions and a price, and let him ask me to make an appointment. When I got there I had to ask how long it would take, and notice several things: who worked on my car, if the restroom was clean and well-stocked, if the cashier was friendly or distracted, and on and on. If you can't remember details, you might have a hard time writing the report. You aren't allowed to take notes on a mystery shop, the customer might easily realize what you are doing.
I've done shops where I've had to make a purchase and then a return on the following day. I've had dinners, show tickets, oil changes, etc. paid for. It won't amount to even a part-time job income, but it can be fun for an extra interest. My husband and I use it to have more dinners out. Some companies will reimburse and also pay extra, between $5 and $15. I signed up with over 20 companies, and it took about 6 months, but I started getting some regular assignments. Some of those companies probably don't have assignments in my area, some use only certified shoppers (certification isn't worth the money, in my opinion) so there are about 6-8 companies I check regularly to work for.
It's fun, so I hope you give it a try. My mom (in her 70s) is also doing mystery shopping, and enjoying it. (10/17/2005)
I have done secret shopper work off and on for about seven years now. I've never had any problem with getting paid. I've done work in restaurant, shoes, fast food, etc. It's not much money, but it does come in handy. (10/17/2005)
There's a great site at mysteryshop.org. It is MSPA's (Mystery Shop Providers Association) site with ability to search for jobs by state. (10/17/2005)
Although I haven't been a Secret Shopper, I can tell you for certain that it is legit. Companies hire people to be a secret shopper as a way of checking to see that franchises running their business are doing their job exactly the way the company wants it done. For example, are they asking customers certain questions like would they like oil checked, in a gas station business, etc. If you have a chance to do this go ahead as it's a great way to make extra money. (10/22/2005)
I have been a secret shopper before. It is a real thing, but it's also easy to get duped. Don't pay them anything no matter what. And it's difficult to find a reputable company, but when you do, it's awesome.(09/21/2007)
I was a mystery shopper for a pizza chain. I had to order pizza once a month, and have it delivered. There was a form with questions that I had to fill out. Everything from times, to uniforms, to smiles. And of course, rate the pizza; eveness of toppings, cooked properly, etc. I even had to take the temperature of the pizza. And sometimes I was told to return the pizza with a complaint.
It was great getting pizza every month, except for the fact that the pizzas they had me order cost more than the amount of money they paid me, but we had pizza every month for 6 months for about $5 for a large pizza, pretty good. The only problem is that most companies only want you for 6 months, or so, because the businesses get to know who the mystery shoppers are if you do it for any longer. I was a restaurant manager for a few years and we could spot most of the shoppers after the second visit. (07/06/2008)
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