Overview: The name of these types of assignments should be a dead giveaway – pun intended – that you won’t be having the time of your life while completing one.
A bit of gallows humor from time to time is to be expected while discussing such assignments. Few mystery shoppers are truly comfortable with the issues that these entail.
Project Variations: These assignments are divided into two basic types: “at need” or “near need”. “At Need” scenarios involve a loved one who has passed away within the last few hours. “Near Need” scenarios involve a loved one who is expected to pass away within the next few days.
These assignments are also further defined by whether the call will be made to a funeral home or cemetery, whether the religious scenario will be Jewish or non-Jewish, and if the call is to be made in English or Spanish.
Visit & Reporting Requirements: Luckily, there is no time on-site for these assignments!
The calls themselves can take between 10 to 20 minutes. They are recorded, so reporting is minimal.
Strategies: For Jewish scenarios, keep in mind that the majority of observant Jews do not consider cremation an option. Most also believe that the deceased should be buried very soon after death, so never mention that the death occurred more than a few hours ago. If you are not Jewish, do not pretend to be. State that you are related to the deceased through marriage and need assistance with the appropriate traditions.
It is critical to have your backstory prepared ahead of time, regardless of scenario type. Questions you may be asked include the name of your loved one, your relationship to this individual, and information about the individual about their life such as employment and interests.
You may also have to answer where your loved one is at, such as a nursing home or hospice, if this is for an imminent need scenario. Otherwise, if the scenario is for a deceased individual, state that the remains are at a hospital or medical examiner’s office.
Your backstory must be consistent. It must involve an immediate family member, and you must portray yourself as the decision-maker. Do not overact. Keep your tone and demeanor quiet. This is not the time to throw yourself into the role with emotional histrionics.
What Others Have to Say: Few forum members on www.mysteryshopforum.com have expressed much interest in these assignments. Comments usually are along the line of feeling disturbed by being involved with such role-playing, and that for such an endeavor, the pay is not worth it. Words such as “creepy”, “bad mojo”, “heebies”, “bad luck”, and the like are used frequently. That should pretty much sum up the general feeling among shoppers.
The only upside – so to speak – is that the assignments can be completed from your home via the phone.
I would only add one caution to those considering performing these assignments. Please do not do so if you truly have recently lost someone in your life. This can be a heart-wrenching experience during an already difficult time. No amount of money is worth putting yourself through such an ordeal. Trust me, I speak from experience. I did my first and last assignment while still in mourning. I cannot describe how awful it was for me.
Estimated Pay: Pay is usually nominal. Many times these calls are posted for only $2. Since these assignments are not popular, eventually the fees will increase to $5.
MSCs: One of the mystery shopping companies that conducts assessments of funeral home and cemeteries is Shoppers View.