Edited By Ceridwyn

Featured Shopper: Lisa4984

Forum Alias: Lisa4984

How long have you been mystery shopping? I started a little over a year ago when I lost my full-time job.

Where are you shopping? I shop Eastern Washington and North Idaho.

What got you started? After losing my job, I went through a major mid-life crisis and decided I never wanted to see the inside of a cubicle again no matter how many pictures of my family and kitten calendars I hung up. So I spent the summer mystery shopping a little and hanging out with my granddaughter a lot while collecting unemployment

After nine months, I took another full-time job – potentially temp-to-hire. Five months later, the “to hire” part didn’t happen, and I was back on unemployment. So I kicked the mystery shopping into high gear. I haunted the forum and found a local shopper who was willing to lend a helping hand with setting fees and planning route shops.

What was your first challenge with mystery shopping and how did it go? I attempted a major out of town route shop with a number of shops I had never done before. It was an epic fail. Something had to change.

Why are you involved with mystery shopping? My reasons for shopping are to make as much money as I can now and supplement later when I go back to work full-time. Many shoppers do it for this reason but I differ from a lot of them in that I (happily) do apartment shops with no audio or video.

The best part of this job is I get paid to shop!!! Anyone who knows me understands the draw of this. Being unemployed for this long has put a serious damper on my favorite hobby.

What was your first assignment? My first shop was for fine jewelry – OMG, how much better can this get?!?

What’s your #1 tip for other shoppers? The most important, and difficult, thing I have learned is to stick up for yourself because no one else will. The second thing is everything can be negotiated. I’ve never been in a position to negotiate my own salary or raise. I just got a huge, 3-day bonused shop thanks to the forum advice on negotiating fees.

How many MSC are you signed up with? I am currently signed up with about 50-55 MSCs. I need to start adding more so I can find the video apartment shops. I really want to learn this skill. If I can find enough work in this area, I would buy my own equipment.

Prior to that, however, is my next new toy “want” – I just did a shop for a notebook, but the sales guy wasn’t having it. He’s totally sold on the tablets. After talking to him, I am now saving for one.

What’s your favorite MSC? I like EPMS because they have the apartment shops, and they’re flexible with due dates. They’re also good about returning e-mails. I also like CoRI, Intelli-Shop, Trendsource, and BARE because they have a lot of variety and quantity. MarketForce is a mixed bag – they have a lot of work but are super picky! That said, my most recent shop for them was returned for clarification and accepted. I was sweating bullets!

What kind of assignment haven’t you tried out yet? I haven’t done new car or video shops yet. The car shops don’t pay enough, and there aren’t any video shops in this area. I would advise all shoppers to at least try an apartment shop if you haven’t already – but only if you don’t shop around here.

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