Overview: Want a chance to get off your feet while you do some shopping? Ever wanted to try out one of those mobility scooters you see people driving around in the stores you visit? Check out these assignments that evaluate ADA compliance.
ADA stands for the American Disabilities Act. This law provides for those with disabilities, whether visible or not. Its purpose is to prohibit discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream of American life.
In the case of retail establishments, mystery shoppers will try to evaluate accessibility to the business property, availability of mobility equipment, and overall treatment given by the employees of that business.
Project Variations: The most common assignment requires the mystery shopper to utilize a mobility scooter while conducting a covert evaluation of a store.
Visit & Reporting Requirements: On-site visits can take 30 to 45 minutes depending upon how long it takes the shopper to locate associates for the required interactions. The report can take 20 to 30 minutes, which can vary based on the conditions observed.
Strategies: Be comfortable with driving one of the mobility scooters provided by the store. It’s not a bad idea to try this out ahead of time at another store that you are not evaluating. Driving one is not difficult, but you do have to get the hang of backing up out of tight spaces and knowing which switch will propel you forward or send you in reverse.
Most store-owned mobility scooters have a governor to limit the top speed of these vehicles. This should prevent you from careening into displays and other foot-bound customers.
When you first arrive at the store, note where and if there is designated handicapped parking. Is it being used by vehicles without a placard hanging from the rear view mirror or without a handicapped license plate?
When you enter the store, how far away are the mobility scooters located? Are there any available? Would someone with disabilities first have to go to a customer service desk to get a key? Note if you are asked to turn over your driver’s license to get a key. This is not acceptable, and you should not comply.
After getting the mobility cart, note if it is clean and well-maintained. Begin to browse the Check to see if aisles are free of clutter or other obstacles that impede your way. Are you easily able to navigate throughout each department? Are merchandise tables and racks too close together for you to pass by? Are you able to enter the restroom while on the scooter?
While you complete your required interactions, note how you are treated by store associates. Are they helpful? Dismissive? Impatient with assisting you? Do they maintain eye contact with you? Do they talk at and over you, rather than to you?
What Others Have to Say: Some shoppers on www.mysteryshopforum.com have stated that although these aren’t the best paying assignments, they have an important purpose. Others found that it gave them a different perspective on how challenging it can be for a disabled shopper to deal with obstacles or impersonal customer service. It can really hit home for those with friends and family that deal with disabilities as they go about trying to accomplish some of the most basic activities.
Estimated Pay: Pay can vary from $10 to $20 with a small reiumbursement of $5 to $7. These are sometimes bonused.
MSCs: Two of the mystery shopping companies that conduct evaluations of ADA compliance at retail establishments are Corporate Research International and Second To None.