Posted By Jacob Jans, Editor

Mystery Shopper Profile: Shopgal

Forum Alias: shopgal

How long have you been mystery shopping? About 3 ½ years.

Where are you shopping? The Inland Pacific Northwest, mostly eastern Washington and Idaho, usually within 75 to 100 miles from home.

What got you started? I made the jump to the mystery shopping world after I became fed up with the corporate hell I was living in. I was no longer able to meet the demands mentally or emotionally or physically to manage people and systems, and took some time to consider my options.

I literally stumbled onto information regarding mystery shopping on the internet one day when I was just browsing around aimlessly. I signed up with a few companies, and I haven’t looked back since. Returning to the “real world of work” is not a consideration anymore.

True, the pay cut was huge, and took some getting used to. But on the other hand, I don’t have to buy expensive suits and dresses for work. I’m not ordering out because I’m too exhausted to cook. I’m not escaping from another stress-filled day with a round or three at the bar. Given the choice between eating ramen while creating my own working world, or eating steak while also being stifled and smothered by corporate nonsense, bring on the noodles.

What was your first assignment and how did it go?One day soon after getting signed up with a few MSCs, a scheduler called me breathlessly on the phone to ask me if I could do an emergency assignment that very night for a restaurant. I was so nervous! But all went well. The positive encouragement and feedback that I received got me jazzed up to do more.

What is your least favorite assignment? Car Sales. For me, these are boring and time intensive. There are some that pay decently, but many fees are ridiculously low. The narrative for these types of reports is tedious. Editorial clarifications for car sales reports are annoying.

What is your favorite type of assignment? Restaurants. I love dining out. And I don’t mind the extensive narrative that some of these require. And although these don’t traditionally pay well, any meal on someone else’s dime means less groceries for me to buy and less cooking to do.

What kind of assignment haven’t you tried out yet? Apartments. It sounds like a bloody nightmare to get connected with specified targets. The thought of it scares me.

What’s your #1 tip for other shoppers? Know your numbers! If you’re in this gig to make money, this is a must. In order to get ahead, a shopper needs to know their income and expenses so they can accurately determine which assignments are financially worthwhile or not. For each person, whether an assignment has tangible or intangible value is going to vary. But everyone should set standards and goals for themselves.

What’s your biggest pet peeve with mystery shopping? Lack of prompt and effective communication with some MSCs, especially when concerning an assignment with a deadline pending.

What’s your favorite MSC? I don’t really have a favorite. One MSC might offer great pay and yet have a cumbersome website and reporting system to deal with. Another might have lots of assignments in my area, but is impersonal in its coordination with its shopper base.

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