Diane Kaye


People become mystery shoppers for many reasons. There are those who need the money to supplement their basic living expenses, and others who earmark their mystery shopping income for desperately needed vacations. Some folks on fixed incomes depend on their shop incomes to pay for their medications, and some people simply use the money for little luxuries. In short, many people, for whatever their reasons, are only interested in the bottom line. How much actual money will they be paid for this shop? And I understand that; but I also know that some people do it for the perks, and what perks they are!

Some of my favorite shops of this type are what are typically referred to as attractions. These include concert venues, zoos, aquariums, science centers, museums and the like. And often, the larger the venue, the better the merchandise.

A shop like this always includes extensive reports, including details and timing on every employee that you encounter, but they also include tickets not only to the main property, but also to the special features, such as a butterfly house within a zoo, or a rare diamond exhibition inside a museum. Those are important perks for some people. You might not be willing or able to pay $30.00 a head to take your favorite child to an amusement park, but as a “freebie” it has a real value for you.

I do understand that, but today I am talking about gift shops. Almost any place that you go to for entertainment today has one and many have a half a dozen or more gift shops. And fortunately for us shoppers, those gift shops are included in the report. You are always told to use cash in a gift shop, so as to offer you an opportunity to make sure that all cash goes into a register and not a pocket. And larger attractions have several gift shops and have you make purchases in each one.

These all require a cash outlay, so it is important to keep careful track of your receipts, but I have had gift shopping budgets as high as $150.00, and the best part is that you get to keep whatever to buy. That can put a huge dent into your gift buying budget.

My other favorite gift shop perks come from sports arenas. Most if not all sports, arenas, stadiums and teams use us. As if the terrific seats, free parking, a lot of food, popcorn and a beer were not enough, being given $75.00 or $100.00 to spend on your favorite team memorabilia at two or three gift shops makes this type of shop worth all of the time and energy involved.

The only potential drawback is that, like any shop that requires a financial outlay, the risk of the shop not being accepted means the possibility exists that, should the client not accept the report, you are out whatever money you have invested, but assuming that you are a good enough shopper to land a shop like this in the first place, you really should not have any problems at all.

What are your favorite mystery shopping perks? Let me know in the comments below! — Diane

Your Comments:

  1. Faye Colando says:

    Well said Diane! Some of my latest mystery shops have included getting free items for my bathroom, including several towels, bath mats, and other bathroom needs.

    So, if you need some new towels or other items for your kitchen, bath, or other area of your house, consider doing a retail shop, where are you can get these items for free.

    All the best,

  2. Susan Crow says:

    I have been doing mystery shopping for four years and have only experience it at a restaurant. Paid out of pocket than reimburse for my meal or up to a certain out. I enjoy this perk and would be interested in shops that offer gifts from gift shop assigents or whstever else

  3. Chandria Scott says:

    I have have been a mystery shopper in the past for a restaurant and I liked feeding my family at reduced prices because I was required to purchase a specific item in order to receive my reimbursement.