Posted By Jacob Jans, Editor

Wait Until Dawn

Written by DayShopper

Have you ever walked to your car in a brightly lit mall parking lot or some other place with “daylight effect” lighting, driven off, and only when you came to a totally unlit area realized that you never turned on the headlights? The view of the dark road ahead, before you hit the light switch, is what I see at night with the bright headlights of my car fully on. My mother had night blindness and I developed it in my early 50s. Apparently it often shows up in people, especially women, who also have extremely poor depth perception, which is also the case for me.

Since eliminating night driving, I have managed to make a good living selling residential real estate for almost 20 years and then began my third career as a mystery shopper. And, yes, I am a Road Warrior, doing many 2-10 day road trips per year. Almost none of the MSCs know that I do not drive at night. It has never interfered with my shop schedule, but I suspect that some of them would disqualify me if they knew about it.

Making good money on routes without driving nights takes considerable planning and organizing. Since I cannot afford to fall behind on a route, I make sure to have plenty of water and some snacks within reach in the car. Lunch shops are a big “no no” because they waste daylight and can throw off the route schedule badly if service is slow. I plan high fee shops, but fewer a day than a shopper who could start driving at 6 AM in the winter, for instance. I plan to stay in hotels that either have a free breakfast or at on site restaurant so that I do not have to waste any daylight finding that essential start to my day. I make sure to stay at hotels where local eateries deliver a variety of things for supper. In case of disaster, I take along some long shelf-life items that could make an evening meal in a pinch, or stop during the day to pick up cheese, crackers, some deli meat or smoked fish and some fruit. I carry my own supply of adult beverages because “going out for a nightcap” is not happening.

Dusk finds me in my hotel, sipping a cocktail and looking to see if HGTV is on the hotel channel list. I sign on to the Internet to begin uploading the day’s videos and inputting reports. And, of course, I check to see what time local dawn will occur, and set my alarm accordingly. If you find route shopping highly stressful, you might just want to pretend that you must be home by dark and cannot drive before dawn. Making the best use of the daylight hours, on top of a full night of rest, may just make you a more productive shopper, with little or no net loss.

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