Edited By Ceridwyn

Featured Shopper: JPGilham

Forum Alias: jpgilham

How long have you been mystery shopping? I’ve been mystery shopping for 5 years now.

What was your first assignment and how did it go? My first assignment was a gas station for a whopping $4. I picked up 4 of them and just thought that was amazing that I could go get gas and get reimbursed. I was terribly nervous and had my husband drive the car there.

By the time I was finished we were both nervous wrecks and he swore he’d never come with me again. He kept that promise and he has never come on a mystery shop with me since then.

It didn’t take me long to realize that it was a lot of work for not a lot of pay and I’m a lot more discerning now.

What kept you going? For about 6 months I just worked for about 3 companies and then I got tired of it and gave it up for a year. When I got back into it I really researched the internet and found many more companies that offered mystery shops and I’m now with over 100 companies, working part-time hours often for a full-time income.

Where are you shopping? I shop mostly in the North Carolina area and occasionally go into South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia! If you’re in Virginia watch those speed limits! They change frequently and it’s very easy to get caught speeding!

What kind of assignment haven’t you tried out yet? I haven’t done any airport shops and I don’t think I ever will. I don’t fly well and I think I would be much too anxious about the upcoming flight to also do a mystery shop.

However, I’ve pretty much done them all and I would suggest to all new shoppers to invest in a good voice recorder. Especially if you’re like me and don’t have a great memory.

What’s your biggest pet peeve with mystery shopping? I must admit I don’t like the driving. I do a lot of driving and I don’t like it. When I have a long route I often start getting anxious the day before thinking about the long drive. I’m kind of a ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ kind of person.

What are some of your favorite mystery shopping tools? Because I was doing so much driving I bought a new economical vehicle with OnStar. I have found OnStar just fantastic for mystery shopping. I also use my smartphone a lot for shops and have found it really valuable. There is a voice recording app as well as digital timing apps and the notepad which I use almost every time I mystery shop.

What’s your #1 tip for other shoppers? I have been on the Mystery Shop Forum for quite some time but wish I had found it before I started shopping. It’s a fantastic resource and I recommend it to anyone interested in learning how to mystery shop.

MSPA Certification: I’m MSPA Silver certified but in all honesty I haven’t noticed that it’s made any difference at all. I’ve considered going up to gold and have heard that it does make a difference so maybe I’ll do that sometime in the future.

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