Men, how did you get into mystery shopping?

My stepson and my husband's best friend both LOVE shopping, and neither of them are mystery shoppers. Even though traditional gender roles are changing, there is still an expectation of men in many instances of being breadwinners and head of household, and they don't have the luxury of taking their time and a paycut while building their MS businesses. I think more men would be MSers if their wives were the breadwinners and they were the ones staying home raising the kids.

Create an Account or Log In

Membership is free. Simply choose your username, type in your email address, and choose a password. You immediately get full access to the forum.

Already a member? Log In.

@JASFLALMT wrote:

I think more men would be MSers if their wives were the breadwinners and they were the ones staying home raising the kids.

Haha...isn't that an outdated expectation as well?...that only one part of a couple works? Most every couple I know in CA is dual-income household. That includes a number of same-gender parents and male friends who's wives are the majority earners.

I am also what would be considered a "breadwinner", and "lifestyle shopper". While I did not start out making good money at shopping, my current annual reimbursements are almost always over the median income for a worker in the US, and are tax free, so I don't consider the contribution of MSing to be insignificant in any way in my household.

I think perhaps the people who consider MSing petty or insignificant are not looking at the bigger picture, unless they have $50k of annual disposable income to spend on food and travel.
I get what you are saying, but I live in the midwest, and yes, it is an outdated expectation. It isn't my expectation.
Values here in the midwest are different from those in CA. I am not saying that's how it should be, but that's how it is. And I wasn't saying that only one half of the couple was working, just one is not working as much as their other half does. I do understand it takes time to build a business. A family with small children needs money right away and might not have the time to take a chance to see if they can be successful with mystery shopping, and that's what I was talking about. Plus, the family with small children are likely not thinking of spending 50k on food and travel--they are thinking about feeding and clothing their children and putting money away for college. When your kids were little, were you a mystery shopper?
Honestly, you can't paint the entire Midwest with the same brush either. There is a big difference between a lot of the larger cities and the more rural areas. It never ceases to amaze me what a huge gulf exists between the three largest cities in Missouri and the rest of the state. They despise us and our attitudes on social issues. However, they have no problems taking our tax dollars which fund most of state government.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
Oh I'm sure. I don't have any firsthand knowledge outside of my area about the midwest, but I am quite sure that in a larger metro area like Chicago it's a vastly different lifestyle than it is where I live. I live in a small city of about 250,000 people. Go 20 minutes in any direction and it's farmland, and a bit further, it's mostly Amish communities.
@JASFLALMT wrote:

Values here in the midwest are different from those in CA.

I am admittedly not that clued in to midwest values. I have only lived in urban coastal areas...and my peers either had kids later in life (after 35), or not at all. I don't think I would have been able to take MSing to the level that I did if I had a family to support, though. I made a choice to not have children and to work in the arts, so MSing was a good fit for that lifestyle.

My comment was more based on the shoppers who say their husbands look down on it, as if it's a hobby, or does not contribute to the household.
Actually I kind of fell into this. About 15 years ago I was looking for ways to making a little extra money or to cut expenses in order to put more into savings. I googled and came across a few ideas. One was couponing and the other was mystery shopping. After signing up for a bunch of companies and trying all those couponing sites and decided neither was a good fit for me. I ended up starting a side business that made about 2/3rds as much as my regular income, so at the end of 2010 I quit my full time job to focus on that. Well fast forward 3 years and I wasn't able to ramp that up to match my income like I thought I was. That business ended up failing and while I was trying to find another "real" job I got an email from GfK advertising a wing shop. I had LONG since unsubscribed or sent everything to spam so it was odd that it showed up in my inbox. I ended up thinking MS would be a good way to put food on the table, etc, while I was trying to find a job so I started doing some research. I ended up here. After doing a few shops for a few weeks and doing a lot of research I realized that I enjoyed doing it and there were ways of actually making it work as a primary income. So here I am.

Talking tough is easy when it's other people's evil and you're judging what they do and don't believe.
@bgriffin, that's kind of similar to my situation. I wanted to negate food costs between jobs and it just grew into something larger.

Adding that while I don't do I lot of child-friendly shops, I do see them regularly and had one this past weekend that allowed kids at a hotel located by a major amusement park.

I brought a friend along, and their child. Ran up a bill over $1,500 and had 100% of our food, lodging an entertainment costs covered this weekend through mystery shopping (a small portion was a perk from my other job). I'll profit the fee from the assignment and I'm about 50% done with the narrative now, so if anyone with small children doesn't see the value in that, I assume they are making a lot more than me.
Dad of three, with two still at home. I did IC work for a small restaurant chain that had nothing to do with MS work. The CEO asked me if I could take my family out to their restaurant and give them some direct feedback. The chain went bankrupt a few years later, but I wondered if MS was actually a real thing. Did some research and eventually became full-time because I love the flexibility! I don't "shop" much at all, mostly do audits and gas station routes. I do take the kids to restaurants quite a bit, and I have learned from my children that the food is never quite as good if you are on a shop! "Dad, is this a shop?" ............"awwwwww, okay" ....... Actually they have become very good at nonchalantly collecting names and details.
Nosy woman here. This is not quite Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. I am wondering about recent decades of mystery shops that may have been performed by males and females of rural and/or urban persuasions. How about public transportation? Have any of those stereotypical bread-winning, publicly commuting men been mystery shopping and keeping it a secret? Were there ever jobs for commuters, such as evaluating ticket or token sales, perceived condition of transport vehicles, or other issues related to public commuting? Or, what about taxi fares?

“I want a yacht and, really, that’s not a lot”
(Santa Baby)
I vaguely remember seeing a rideshare (Uber, maybe?) shop within the last year or so. Also airline, car rental, and motor coach shops. Never a public transit authority shop though.


@Shop-et-al wrote:

Nosy woman here. This is not quite Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. I am wondering about recent decades of mystery shops that may have been performed by males and females of rural and/or urban persuasions. How about public transportation? Have any of those stereotypical bread-winning, publicly commuting men been mystery shopping and keeping it a secret? Were there ever jobs for commuters, such as evaluating ticket or token sales, perceived condition of transport vehicles, or other issues related to public commuting? Or, what about taxi fares?
As a male mystery shopper I got into it from initially doing paid surveys online, and some product testing. I think just looking around the internet for ways to make money started with MF expanded quickly with many more sites and never looked back. Only been on forum 4 years and that was after mystery shopping maybe 5 year prior.

Shopping Western NY, Northeast and Central PA, and parts of Ohio and West Virginia. Have car will travel anywhere if the monies right.
An online friend recommended mystery shopping to me. I had been my mother's caregiver for 7 years. When I started looking for work, after her passing, I was told several times I would never get hired. I had been out of the work force for 7 years. I couldn't even get a job stocking shelves. I finally did mystery shopping to pick up income until I started my Social Security.
I started shopping my health club, and then discovered there was a whole slew of companies that did this.

I'm not sure how a shopper moves up the scales to the better-paying shops. I ask for bonuses all the time, and often get them due to my track record of accurate, on-time reports. But when I look on the boards or check my e-mail, it's mostly shops that pay a pittance (defined by the dictionary as a very small or inadequate amount of money paid to someone as an allowance or wage).

What companies will pay shoppers who have writing skills?
Coyle, but they are VERY exacting in the level and type of detail and elements of style for reports. They want a moment-by-moment account of what occurred during a shop, which amounts to lots of time spent writing long narratives.

@marklewis wrote:


What companies will pay shoppers who have writing skills?
mark,
How many MSCs are you registered with?

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
First time seeing this thread, Lisa. But to answer OP's thread, I got into mystery shopping when I was in graduate school. I came across it when researching something, and thought it was pretty cool working as a 1099 contractor at any given time. My very first job was a $5 assignment at a pet store 10 years ago. My very first route yielded a gross of $48 from Tampa to Sarasota shopping a shoe client for Service Excellence.

Never in my wildest dreams would I ever believe how far I would go with mystery shopping to the point where it would not only sustain me during times of layoff (twice), but also exceed my income expectations. Though there is one person within this forum that knows what I'm doing, I have to mention to newbies within the industry that my experience took several years to get to where I'm at now.

Just my 2 cents.
mark,
If you do not take the $12 bank shops you will probably never get the ones with bonuses that top $200, much less 4-5 of them in a month. Also, what do you do to market yourself to MSCs? Do you do video shops and own your own equipment? Are you willing to to routes where you will be away from home for 1 to 5 nights? How about 1-30 nights on the road? Are you signed up with more than 150 MSCs? Have you ever negotiated with an MSC manager to take 25 to 100 of the same shops at a premium rate for picking up remote locations as well as easy to staff shop locations? Are you willing to invest in the equipment and specialized training you may require to hone your skills at doing all of the above, as well as in time management?

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
Back when I was clinen I think people thought I was a dude -- and an older one, too. I'm a twenty-something woman. I never really thought of this as being a field where there was a great gender divide. If anything, I suppose I tend to think everyone on here is a man instead of a woman!

MegglesKat
Health forced me into it. I first heard of mystery shopping in 1997 when I was a casino dealer. Then I found it in 2008 by searching on the internet for writing jobs.
With respect to public transportaion shops.... A few years ago the DC area transit authority has a wide-ranging project using shoppers to assess on-time perormance of the bus system and a lot of factors in th MetroRail system. My housemate worked dozens of those as I recall. It was a one year project and, as far as I can tell, has not been repeated.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
benten,
You may want to start a new topic with your question so that more members will see it.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login