Let the Shopper Beware

Sometimes we as shoppers get too complacent or maybe too comfortable with a given assignment, to the point that a similar assignment comes along and we don’t give it the due diligence that we should.

Case in point, I’ve done over a dozen mystery shops each for both Tommy Hilfiger and Old Navy. The shops pay a fee and there is also reimbursement for a purchase that’s in the $10-15 range. Generally that’s enough for some socks or underwear. On shops where there’s a reimbursement for the purchase of merchandise, I tend to be as practical as possible and purchase essentials whenever the shop will allow.

As I said, I’ve become comfortable with these kinds of shops, so comfortable that when a shop for Nautica became available with a fee of $10 and a reimbursement of $15, I just checked the report before making my decision to take the shop. I didn’t check any prices on Nautica’s website. I had the vision of Nautica, Tommy Hilfiger, and Old Navy all being roughly the same price range. With Nautica being at the high end of the reimbursement scale, I thought things would be fine and dandy.

Long story short…I do the shop, have the required interactions, and then I’m looking for something in the $10-15 range so I can make the purchase, be at [or under] my reimbursement, and leave. Perhaps I just wasn’t lucky on this day but the $15 price point had slim pickings. About the only thing available was body spray. I ended up spending $22 [including tax] on a polo shirt. It was still “free” in the sense that when I’m paid, I’ll be receiving $25, but it effectively reduced my income for the shop to $3.

Who do I fault for this problem? The person I saw in the mirror when I got home. I had just become so complacent with that type of shop that I neglected to do “due diligence.” The small consolation was that I did check after the fact and I found that I should have been able to have found socks or underwear…but this particular location was out of stock on this day. Still, a valuable lesson was learned. Don’t let complacency get the best of you.

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