Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mystery Shopping

Doesn't it sound like so much fun? Well, it is and it isn't.

Let me start with a caveat. I have only done this for about a week so I can't tell you a whole lot about it. But I can give you more info that I had last week, including a few of the pros and cons.

1. It's legit. Companies will actually pay you to go to their stores or restaurants or movies.

2. It's nowhere near as simple as it sounds. Sure you get a free meal or a free movie, but you're going to have a job to do while you're eating or watching the movie. So you'll miss some of the movie, have to order food from an approved list, etc.

3. The pay isn't great. Just say you're going to a restaurant for them. You might get reimbursed for your meal up to $7, plus an extra $5 in pay. But what if your meal ends up costing $8.50 and you had to make a special trip to the restaurant? Once you add in gas you're really just getting a free meal. And sometimes they pay for two tickets to the movies, but other times they pay for just one. So if your boyfriend wants to tag along (which would be handy since he could tell you what you missed while you were busy counting heads or figuring out how many people the theatre can seat at maximum occupancey), you'll have to pay his ticket out of your own pocket. There goes your profit.

4. So what do you get? Well, you get to go undercover and pretend you're a spy. You get an occasional movie or meal for free. And over time it should get easier. I mean, once you've counted the seats in a theatre, you should be able to answer that question the next time without recounting. And once you've been asked the same questions about a restaurant 3 or 4 times, you'll start noticing those things without having to memorize a long checklist before you eat.

So overall, I like it. And I'd like to do more. But mostly I like it for the fun, not for the money.

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