Author Topic: Secret Shopping  (Read 5182 times)

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ladyknight1

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Re: Secret Shopping
« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2013, 10:08:46 PM »
I shopped for Mystery Guest for two years. Ate out many times at various restaurants on their dime, played by the rules. I don't have time to do it anymore.

SoCalVal

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Re: Secret Shopping
« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2013, 11:37:20 PM »
I shopped for Mystery Guest for two years. Ate out many times at various restaurants on their dime, played by the rules. I don't have time to do it anymore.

Thanks!  I signed up for that one, too!  :)



ladyknight1

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Re: Secret Shopping
« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2013, 08:38:28 AM »
POD to PP who mentioned the importance of keeping meticulous records! You will need them.

SoCalVal

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Re: Secret Shopping
« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2013, 08:47:25 AM »
May I add (as a newbie) to act on a shop immediately?  I saw a couple of paid ones last night, stepped away from my computer to say good night to DH (and because I was having brain fry from looking at so many shop sites) and fell asleep then got up this morning to find the shops taken (I'm finding the paid ones are rare and these were each $30,  :( ).  I know better for next time (I was surprised to see them last night so I thought I'd be fine not accepting them as soon as I saw them).



SoCalVal

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Re: Secret Shopping
« Reply #19 on: June 07, 2013, 04:37:33 AM »
I want to say thank you for this thread.  I wondered about secret/mystery shopping when I was 18 years old and working in a drug store because we got shopped all the time, and I thought it would be a cool job but didn't know how one got it (pre-internet so I figured you just had to catch ads in the classifieds at the right time or be in the know).

Anyway, I think I am now signed up for FOURTEEN mystery shop companies.  I've already done over 20 shops since mid-May.  I think I'm a little burnt out on doing so many reports now.

I've learned a few things:

* When doing a vehicle shop, make sure to research the vehicle (yeah, should be a no-brainer) so you know how to present yourself.  I shopped a $36,000 car the other day but didn't present myself as someone who was ready to buy a $36,000 car and didn't really have a good cover story ready even for keeping my current car (I could've told the truth -- I love my car and want to keep it, for one, because it was an engagement present from DH, rather than a pricey ring, which would also explain the inexpensive rings on my finger).

* Beware of the shop that seems to good to be true.  I jumped on a shop that pays $65 and thought, "No problem" when it said it was a difficult, detailed shop that would last about 2-3 hours.  By the time I was done with the shop, I was worn out.  By the time I was done writing the report, which took several hours more, I was even more worn out and realized I would've been better off picking up multiple $15 shops that required very little effort.  I will never pick up one of those shops again (it was for Ikea if anyone's wondering).  I figured out, after signing up for fourteen companies, that it really isn't difficult at all to find shops that pay, rather than just reimburse or pay very little (like $5).

* I won't do any more reimbursement-only shops for things like pizza; I prefer cooking most times to spending money to eat out.  That was one of the first ones I did, and it required way too many pictures in my opinion to be worth getting a "free" pizza (which, as another poster pointed out, is cold by the time you get to eat it). 

* I won't do anymore grocery store shops for stores where I don't regularly shop (most of them have had produce priced way too high for my taste). 

* I won't accept any more grocery shops for lower-end stores that require focus on pharmacy when they don't have an actual pharmacy (lower-end stores are those that are set up like small-scale versions of Costco or Sam's Club -- merchandise still in their packing boxes on open warehouse shelves).  No actual pharmacy means haunting the OTC aisles for several minutes in the hopes that an employee comes into the area.  I won't let the scheduler talk me into picking up one of those again either unless they want to pay me a big bonus for doing so (I let one talk me into it but have since learned my lesson).

* I've done cell phone shops for three different mystery shopping companies.  My favorite one has a pay amount in the middle, $15, but requires the least amount of effort and, best of all, no picture of the front of the store.  The other two companies paid less and more ($11 & $17) but required much more, like pushing the salesperson to discuss specific phones if they don't do it voluntarily and detailed scenarios to present to ensure I get shown phones that are supposed to go with those scenarios. 

* Also, beware the Cheesecake Factory and Disney Store shops.  Not only do they not reimburse, but they only pay in gift cards to their stores.  I rarely get anything from either company anymore (it's been years, except for the once I wanted banana cream cheesecake a few months ago) so gift cards from those companies are pretty useless to me.

Of course, these shops don't pay as much as my regular job does when you break it down, but all my OT (overtime) gets banked as CTO (compensatory time off -- extra vacation time essentially) so I'm not getting extra cash for any OT I work.  I could choose to get paid out my OT, but it's an all-or-nothing deal for each fiscal year -- bank all my OT or get paid out all my OT -- until the next fiscal year when I decide again.  I took almost three weeks of CTO on top of three weeks of vacation last year so I obviously could use the CTO.

Anyway, sorry for the long post.  I thought some more feedback would be nice.

I found if you register with jobslinger.com or volition.com, those are mystery shop assignment databases so there are a bunch of companies to sign up with from there.  Jobslinger.com is connected to MSPA, the official mystery shop company association, so I think it's safe.  I can't vouch for Volition so I'll have to see how the next few weeks go as far as getting paid by all these companies.

Oh, and correction -- I've done mystery shops for fourteen companies so far; I'm signed up with more than that.

I think my favorite mystery shop company so far is Monterey Mystery Shopping.  They paid me $50 for my first shop, which was for a high-end motorcycle ($30 plus $20 bonus for it being my first motorcycle shop with them and it was my first mystery shop period, not counting the ones I do as part of a committee at work).  They don't require very much and, so far, seem to always pay $30 for their shops (I have three more scheduled with them on Sunday for car shops).  They quickly paid me my $50.

I also found that a line I firmly draw is for shops that involve letting some unfamiliar company touch my car for any reason.  DH and I have a mechanic he's gone to for years.  I thought about an oil-change shop that only pays $5 but reimburses up to $60 for the oil change and thought maybe we could save the $50 it would cost with our regular mechanic to get the oil changed on DH's truck.  Well, I looked at the Yelp reviews for that location and found it very much not good so DH and I will stick with paying the $50, rather than risk something happening to his truck.



ladyknight1

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Re: Secret Shopping
« Reply #20 on: June 07, 2013, 11:10:00 AM »
Wow, interesting.

My strangest shop was to a seafood buffet restaurant, where I had to check the bathrooms and look at the raw bar. That one took almost an hour to right up, but it paid $100.

I shopped the Cheesecake Factory twice, and we haven't returned since.

SoCalVal

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Re: Secret Shopping
« Reply #21 on: October 08, 2013, 03:44:24 PM »
If anyone is still interested in mystery shopping, you might want to stay away from Cirrus Marketing Intelligence and the Troy Dolan Group.

I've completed $250 worth of shops with each of them and have not been paid (given that most of these shops aren't more than $15-30, that's a lot of shops for $500).  Cirrus takes THREE MONTHS after the shop is completed to pay, and I completed shops for them in May and June.  Nothing (was supposed to be paid by Cirrus at the end of last month).

With Troy Dolan, I've sent inquiries twice now and have received no replies.

I really don't want to engage in a battle to get paid so I haven't gone harder yet in pursuing these (I've been praying for a miracle, like these companies would actually pay me without me having to push them).



Carotte

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Re: Secret Shopping
« Reply #22 on: October 08, 2013, 05:29:23 PM »
Oh, timely post :)
While I'm looking for a job in my field I see someone every couple of weeks that's here to help me/guide me with everything and last time she told me about a company that does secret shopping in my country (I didn't even knew it existed here).
They seem like they are quite a serious company. You get paid at the end of the month for the time you spent, and everything above X that was paid from your pocket is repaid promptly (smaller sums are added to the pay check I think).
I'll see what the internet has to say about them and try my luck, it sounds like it would be something I'd like to do every once in a while.

SoCalVal

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Re: Secret Shopping
« Reply #23 on: October 12, 2013, 07:40:36 PM »
I've located a mystery shop forum, woohoo!  Learned that Cirrus now doesn't pay until FOUR MONTHS after being invoiced (there are several of us on that forum still waiting to get paid).  It's been quite an illuminating forum.



MrsJWine

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Re: Secret Shopping
« Reply #24 on: October 13, 2013, 01:08:20 AM »
I'm really uncomfortable with offering my SSN right off the bat. The only one I've found so far that doesn't require that is BestMark. Are there any others?


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Utah

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Re: Secret Shopping
« Reply #25 on: October 15, 2013, 07:55:04 AM »
I'm really uncomfortable with offering my SSN right off the bat. The only one I've found so far that doesn't require that is BestMark. Are there any others?
Almost all will - it's a requirement of employment, regardless of if you're online or offline employees of a company. Just make sure it's a 'real' company - not some fly by night scam - and you'll be fine. There are lots of good, legit ones out there.

Venus193

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Re: Secret Shopping
« Reply #26 on: October 15, 2013, 01:07:10 PM »
Posting for updates; I may want to try this.

MrsJWine

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Re: Secret Shopping
« Reply #27 on: October 15, 2013, 04:42:13 PM »
I'm really uncomfortable with offering my SSN right off the bat. The only one I've found so far that doesn't require that is BestMark. Are there any others?
Almost all will - it's a requirement of employment, regardless of if you're online or offline employees of a company. Just make sure it's a 'real' company - not some fly by night scam - and you'll be fine. There are lots of good, legit ones out there.

I'm fine with them asking AFTER they've accepted my application. It just seems shady to do so beforehand.


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jedikaiti

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Re: Secret Shopping
« Reply #28 on: October 15, 2013, 06:54:01 PM »
I may have to check some of these out. I did a little secret shopping years ago - don't recall which companies - but found that almost all the shops in my area took far too much time & energy for too little profit. But internet and phone shops I could do, no problem!
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SoCalVal

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Re: Secret Shopping
« Reply #29 on: October 16, 2013, 04:14:11 AM »
Just want to update that I did get paid by Troy Dolan today (although the payment was missing $10 so I need to look into that; however, getting $243 out of $253 in one fell swoop isn't bad).  Still nothing yet by Cirrus.

For those of you thinking about mystery shopping, you might want to check out some mystery shopping resources, like the mystery shop forum I've encountered (just google "mystery shop forum" and I think you should be able to find it).  What I have found especially fascinating is that even some of the employees of the shop companies belong to and/or monitor the posts and try to resolve the issues shoppers experience with those companies (for good reason when you've got shoppers warning each other away from bad companies).  Also, there's a list of, I think, a couple hundred mystery shop companies.  It has really been a useful resource so far (and, frankly, entertaining to read when one shop company owner/employee has been busily shooting himself in the foot by not responding well in the forum to complaints about his company).

A big thank you to the person who started this thread.  I'd been thinking about a part-time job for the last few years but was unsure about how taxing a regular commitment would be on my schedule.  Mystery shopping has worked out perfectly as I get to decide how little/how often I want to complete shops without repercussions like one would have as a regular employee (earning the extra money isn't bad, either, as I can look at most of it as "fun" money, since my wages from my regular job go towards my household expenses with DH).  I like being able to take a break from shopping for a few weeks if I need to work on other things, and there are so many companies with shops in my area that I know I can always pick some up again when I want to earn extra cash again.