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Mystery Shopping Discussion

Full-time mystery shopper
Posts:1
I know that as a mystery shopper we should not tell everyone what we do so that we do not risk being revealed. So, if mystery shopping is your full- time job, what do you tell people who ask what you do for a living?
January 24, 2011 10:36AM
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Posts:18,133
First, very few shoppers I know do this 'Full-time'. If I needed a job, I would go for one with a systematic paycheck and benefits. The full time shoppers I know need to travel great distances to have enough work to consider this full time and the "Law of diminishing returns" says that in an area, once you have taken the good jobs you are left with the 'perhaps reasonable' and once they are gone you are left with real drek. If you are trying to make this full time you will end up in the drek and truly unhappy with shopping.

The vast majority of shoppers I know are working to supplement other income. That income may be spousal, social security or another job.

I carry business cards printed on my computer that indicate "Consulting & Analytics". When asked what I do, my standard answer is "I am retired and doing some consulting." If someone is pushy about it, I am doing "Analytics for various companies." My pre-retirement employment was as a stock broker, so it can fit, but it could fit for a whole lot of other situations as well. Nobody in a long long time has pushed beyond the "Analytics for various companies", but should they do so I would just indicate that the contracts are confidential so I am not at liberty to discuss them.
January 24, 2011 11:07AM
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Posts:8,118
I as well have business cards saying Restaurant/Evaluater and leave it at that. My group think I have the greatest job, and of course those that get to come with me for dinners, love it and are trained not to give me away. I have told my friends this is a serious business and has alot of behind the scenes work involved, so, when they think it is easy and they want to do it, they know the real deal. The job requires acting, so just act to those that want to know, it has become easy to throw people off. They think a restaurant evaluater writes reviews, and for those not my friends that ask, I nod and change the subject.

Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.
January 24, 2011 11:47AM
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Posts:446
I do this full-time and tell people that I am a Customer Service Evaluator. If they ask for more details, I tell them I could tell them but I'd have to kill them after because it's top secret info. The humor is usually enough to change the subject. I'm not about to give out leads or info to people in my backyard.
January 24, 2011 12:25PM
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Posts:161
Haha, you make it sound like you work for the CIA. You're a mystery shopper, not a covert secret agent. I don't think you'll jeopardize any assignments by telling your friends what you do winking smiley

Mystery shopping as a full time job sounds like it would suck. In order to make anywhere near enough money to live on, you'd have to schedule shop after shop. That sounds way too stressful and lonely, and I doubt you can even come CLOSE to making the equivalent of minimum wage with decent hours.

EDIT: If you don't want to tell people you're a mystery shopper, you can tell them that you're an "Independent Contractor". Most people won't be nearly interested enough to realize that an IC could be just about anything.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/24/2011 08:22PM by Nichtoliver.
January 24, 2011 08:12PM
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Posts:18,133
Certainly the point is to not encourage competition in your area. Over the years a number of shoppers have pointed out helping friends get started to their great chagrin. Not only does it make competition, it also makes for bad feelings when they don't do it right and don't get paid (your fault!!???).
January 24, 2011 08:37PM
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Posts:44
Since I still have a full time job, MS for me is the extra bucks to have some "fun' with. I only share that info with those friends I know don't have the time or inclination to do this themselves therefore my territory isn't jeopardized. I have been trying to get my daughters to get involved, but alas they may fall into the don't have the time or inclination to do this - their loss!
January 24, 2011 08:37PM
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Posts:179
Nichtoliver Wrote:
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> Haha, you make it sound like you work for the CIA.
> You're a mystery shopper, not a covert secret
> agent. I don't think you'll jeopardize any
> assignments by telling your friends what you do
> winking smiley
>
> Mystery shopping as a full time job sounds like it
> would suck. In order to make anywhere near enough
> money to live on, you'd have to schedule shop
> after shop. That sounds way too stressful and
> lonely, and I doubt you can even come CLOSE to
> making the equivalent of minimum wage with decent
> hours.
>
> EDIT: If you don't want to tell people you're a
> mystery shopper, you can tell them that you're an
> "Independent Contractor". Most people won't be
> nearly interested enough to realize that an IC
> could be just about anything.


I would say that there are probably more of us that say we are service evaluators than those that say we are mystery shoppers. It keeps the competition down and also, I don't need people who know people who work in retail around here telling people I am a shopper, as that would also limit my options. People I know certainly would ask what kind of work I do as an "independent contractor."

I would say you are the exception rather than the rule.
January 24, 2011 09:15PM
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Posts:179
Flash Wrote:
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> Certainly the point is to not encourage
> competition in your area. Over the years a number
> of shoppers have pointed out helping friends get
> started to their great chagrin. Not only does it
> make competition, it also makes for bad feelings
> when they don't do it right and don't get paid
> (your fault!!???).


Yea, I bet that guy who flew cross country to do McDonalds because he lived in LA and never went to NYC before and the friend who told him about shopping aren't on the best of terms right now. :-)
January 24, 2011 09:17PM
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Posts:18,133
Assuming that story was not completely apocryphal, I would assume that the shopper 'friend' is laughing her a** off. Guess that is one way to deal with a PITA.
January 24, 2011 09:59PM
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Posts:2,399
The original question could also be answered by saying that those whose only income is mystery shopping have to come up with an answer. I think that "service evaluator" is a give-away title. Since there are inspectors, that could be used, but would probably invite too many comments. Independent contractor is probably best. It could cover anything. Then if there is a question, the MS'er could name some obscure assignment of the past that sounds both boring and hard. I think that, "I'm not about to give out leads or info to people in my backyard," is definitely the best policy. I sometimes say I'm in marketing. Since many locals also see me merchandising, I just let them think that's the only thing I do. They say they see me "everywhere". No one has thought to ask yet what doing criminal research at the courthouse has to do with merchandising. When I get questions about food demonstrating, I take their name and number with a comment that all of the positions in the county for all stores are currently taken (which is true). People here are accustomed to seeing me with many jobs because I used to have a home-based business and was the one people came to when they couldn't get an answer elsewhere in the area.
January 24, 2011 10:11PM
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Posts:161
Flash Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Certainly the point is to not encourage
> competition in your area. Over the years a number
> of shoppers have pointed out helping friends get
> started to their great chagrin. Not only does it
> make competition, it also makes for bad feelings
> when they don't do it right and don't get paid
> (your fault!!???).


I understand that's what you guys are doing. I was refrencing the original poster's comment, "I know that as a mystery shopper we should not tell everyone what we do so that we do not risk being revealed."

And if the person you're talking to is legitimately interested in what you do, then yes, they might ask specifically who you contract for. Most people couldn't care less, though. If they ask, just say "for a marketing company".

EDIT: And again, this only applies if this is your full-time job (if it is I feel sorry for you). If somebody asked me what I did for a living, I would tell them what my real six figure job was, not this.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/24/2011 11:17PM by Nichtoliver.
January 24, 2011 11:15PM
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Posts:446
I don't need you to feel sorry for me. I make a decent honest living and don't lack for anything. You can doubt all you want, I don't give a crap.

I feel sorry for you having a "six-figure job" and still doing MS.

Your post was rude and mean-spirited.
January 25, 2011 09:00AM
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Posts:161
MtlShopper Wrote:
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> I feel sorry for you having a "six-figure job" and
> still doing MS.

I mystery shop because it gives me something to do (I'm semi-retired) and it gives me freebies. I only take assignments that look like I'd enjoy doing.

MtlShopper Wrote:
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> Your post was rude and mean-spirited.

I'm sorry, MtlShopper, that wasn't my intention.
January 25, 2011 05:27PM
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Posts:8,118
My new description of this job is "Field Rep".....has a more professional sound to it.

Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.
January 26, 2011 01:44PM
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Posts:853
I tell people that I am workin gin my major...marketing. I have tried to refer people but they don't follow through so sharing hasn't affected me at all. I started mystery shopping. To pay off a student loan. I loved it so much that, I am just getting to paying off the student loan part. LOL. My goal now is to try the video shopping.
January 26, 2011 03:21PM
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Posts:547
Independent Market Researcher.
January 27, 2011 06:48PM
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Posts:1,578
Gee, I don't mind telling people I do mystery shopping besides my regular job.
January 27, 2011 09:37PM
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Posts:179
Nichtoliver Wrote:
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> MtlShopper Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
>
> > I feel sorry for you having a "six-figure job"
> and
> > still doing MS.
>
> I mystery shop because it gives me something to do
> (I'm semi-retired) and it gives me freebies. I
> only take assignments that look like I'd enjoy
> doing.
>


So, while you do it for "ones you enjoy", you openly put down those of us who didn't walk away from broken law practices and 6 figure incomes? I think I agree more with Mtlshopper on this one. I don't need your pity, and I am happy that I have enough self-worth to value my own work without needing the validation of other's opinions of my work, as you must, since you would tell them your a lawyer instead of referring to this work at all.
January 28, 2011 02:22PM
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Posts:161
Heaven help me! I wasn't trying to insult anyone or give my pity. As long as you're working, you have my respect. You quickly loose it, however, when you start whining about stuff that somebody posted on an internet forum.

I'm not trying to hurt anyone's feelings. But if your feelings are hurt over this, I truly pity you. Life must be rough in the real world.
January 28, 2011 03:22PM
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Posts:627
suzieboz Wrote:
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> Independent Market Researcher.


Technically - you are an Independent Marketing Researcher. You might at times also be a Market Researcher if you are doing price audits or only competitive audits for companies, but more often than not - Mystery Shoppers are conducting marketing research (the study of the product/company/customer as opposed to a study of the market/non-customer/competitor).

Sorry - that is the term that I feel compelled to always correct. And it is a term that everyone constantly uses interchangably (Market research for marketing research) so you are in good company. LOL. Ignore me - yes, I am very anal-retentive I know.

ETA: I hope I did not offend you! Not at all my intention... my correction was more tongue in cheek and to poke fun at myself more than anything...



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/28/2011 03:33PM by MickeyB.
January 28, 2011 03:30PM
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Posts:18,133
MickeyB Wrote:
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>
> ETA: I hope I did not offend you! Not at all my
> intention... my correction was more tongue in
> cheek and to poke fun at myself more than
> anything...

Heck, MickeyB, it would appear the moon is full because noses are out of joint for a whole lot of stuff today and too many seemed to be treading more like King Kong than Maria Tallchief. Ah the joys of an open forum . . .
January 28, 2011 03:37PM
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Posts:446
Nichtoliver Wrote:
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> Heaven help me! I wasn't trying to insult anyone
> or give my pity. As long as you're working, you
> have my respect. You quickly loose it, however,
> when you start whining about stuff that somebody
> posted on an internet forum.
>
> I'm not trying to hurt anyone's feelings. But if
> your feelings are hurt over this, I truly pity
> you. Life must be rough in the real world.


I think you need to learn that words matter. You say you're not trying to hurt any feelings but you throw around phrases like "Mystery shopping as a full time job sounds like it would suck." one post directly below the one where I tell you that is exactly what I do. Then you go on to say "I doubt you can even come CLOSE to making the equivalent of minimum wage with decent hours". You have no idea what you're talking about as we're all from different markets and do different types of shops.

You could have stopped there, but no, you felt a need to keep going with "...if this is your full-time job (if it is I feel sorry for you)". Do you even know where you are? You're on a Mystery Shop Forum ~ chances are there are some of us who do this full-time and you don't think you're being offensive? Still, you don't know when to stop because you go on to add "If somebody asked me what I did for a living, I would tell them what my real six figure job was, not this." Why, are you embarrassed? Is that because you have a "six figure job" and are running after freebies? If I made that kind of money and still bothered with $10 jobs, I'd feel a bit pathetic too. It doesn't give you the right to heap your scorn and contempt on us.

Oh wait! You're not done yet. When someone else calls you on your rudeness, you tell them "I'm not trying to hurt anyone's feelings. But if your feelings are hurt over this, I truly pity you. Life must be rough in the real world." You really don't think there's anything wrong with this? If not, I'm the one who pities you.

You're one of those people for who I wish there was an "ignore" button. I can do without rude and condescending, as I'm sure most of us can.

Mon ami, words matter.
January 28, 2011 06:36PM
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Posts:161
MtlShopper Wrote:
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>You could have stopped there, but no, you felt a need to keep going with "...if >this is your full-time job (if it is I feel sorry for you)"

Just like how you could have stopped after I apologized to you. What more do you want?

"I think you need to learn that words matter."

I think you need to learn the age ol' saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words'll never hurt me." Get over it.

"Why, are you embarrassed?"

I'm not! I said that if somebody asked me what I did for a living, I'd reply with my real job.

"It doesn't give you the right to heap your scorn and contempt on us. "

Would you stop with the class warfare? I couldn't give less of a shit about you. Just like how I couldn't give less of a shit about rich people. This is the internet, I don't have contempt for anybody. You guys are all digital pulses in my laptop for all I care.

"You really don't think there's anything wrong with this? If not, I'm the one who pities you."

I pity the idiot who writes a five paragraph essay in response to a sentence long allegory. Do you really have nothing better to do?
January 28, 2011 07:18PM
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Posts:547
Mickey: If you saw some of the things that people say to me on political blogs you would see that I am rather thick skinned and do laugh at myself more than most people - and that is saying something!

However I like my son's definition of what my job is "My mom is a SPY!!"
January 28, 2011 08:26PM
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Posts:8,803
Yeh, my kids call my time on this forum "she's hanging with the spy network..."
January 28, 2011 08:32PM
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Posts:8,118
My best friend says I'm a spy, it's true in a large sense.

Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.
January 28, 2011 08:32PM
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Posts:547
For some recruiters I have the Austin Powers theme song programmed in my phone when they call!
January 28, 2011 08:36PM
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Posts:8,803
That's cute, susie, I love it!
January 28, 2011 08:41PM
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Posts:547
You should hear my ring back tone; its Mario Brothers. More often than not when I answer and they make sure its me the first thing they say is "Thats awesome!!"
January 28, 2011 08:59PM
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