How long have you been Mystery Shopping? I have been mystery shopping for over 7 years. I was a starving college student when I started. I was so glad to eat something other than ramen noodles I didn’t know what to do. I thought mystery shopping would be a great way to earn free meals and perks. It turned out I was correct. I have been shopping full force ever since.
Where are you shopping? I shop the Raleigh-Durham, NC area. I shop to supplement my lifestyle and to get exposure to things I wouldn’t ordinarily do on my own. I have discovered museums, fine dining, jewelry, travel, and lot of other things. I am grateful for the opportunities mystery shopping has afforded me.
What got you started? I found out about mystery shopping through a company I was working for seasonally some years ago. The company was having a staff meeting. As it turns out, the meeting was about preparing for a mystery shopper. The manager handed everyone the monthly secret shopper questionnaire, so that we would all be prepared and score a perfect 100%. How the manager ended up with the questionnaire is another story. Up until I saw the mystery shopping form with my own eyes, I thought mystery shopping was a scam and never gave it any real attention. After the meeting, the wheels in my head started turning. At that point, I started investigating on my own and that’s when I found out about the MSPA and other mystery shopping companies.
What was your first assignment and how did it go? My first assignment was for a prominent burger chain. I was real novice on that shop. My timing device got stuck at first. I had to leave the line, go to the restroom, and start again. I was also nervous. However, once I calmed down and worked out the technical glitches, it turned out pretty good.
What is your favorite type of assignment? My favorite shops are restaurants. My husband and I are self described “foodies” We love trying new restaurants out for free. In fact, that is one of the major advantages of mystery shopping. I also enjoy jewelry stores and clothing shops.
What kind of assignment haven’t you tried out yet? I have never done a gas station and will never do one. I made the mistake of requesting to use the restroom at gas station during a road trip. I will spare you the details. God bless the mystery shoppers that do these shops!
What’s your #1 tip for other shoppers? I would encourage shoppers not be afraid to ask questions, especially if the guidelines are conflicting. Some times it can be intimidating to ask schedulers questions if you don’t understand something. However, do it anyway. If you make a mistake, you are held responsible. Don’t put your reimbursement on the line, just because you are scared to ask questions.
What is your biggest pet peeve with mystery shopping? My biggest pet peeve is that some editors are inconsistent with their grading. I have too many examples of this to name. My advice to shoppers is to roll with the punches, unless your reimbursement is on the line.
What’s your favorite MSC? That is a tough one. If I had to choose one, I would choose Sinclair Customer Metrics. They were one of the first companies I started with, and I have a good relationship with them.
MSPA Certification: Gold