Shopping for the Experiences

A couple of weeks ago, we had a thread going about shopping for the purpose of the experience of the activities on which you are reporting - where the experience of the activity was more important than any payment that may (or may not) be offered. This is completely not my cup of tea, but would like to know what others have enjoyed.

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I did a PIA timeshare shop just because it was Lake Tahoe in the winter. After the presentation hubby and I took the gondola up the mountain, then later had some awesome sushi in the village.
I find lifestyle experience's add to my good health and happiness, I have written this before. Being able to go to Larsen's Steak House for a beautiful dinner with a 200.00 reimbursement makes me enjoy the humdrum of
daily life. Instead of asking why, I say "why not". I certainly don't do it for fee only, but do it for the experience and being able to share with a friend. This may be a couple times a year, I've done my share of banks, dealers, Best Buy and the like. I deserve the best and since I'm willing to do a report for this, it works . We have so many choices in this industry, a bit of this and then something I enjoy makes perfect sense. I'd rather live on less and spend time being good to myself in this way. Retirement has it's perks.....

Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Taken.....


Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/2018 01:42AM by Irene_L.A..
I'm with you on the dinner thing. I count the days until my rotation comes up for Margaritaville!
As some of you know - I am obsessed with the Maldives, so that counts up there as one of my favorites - but here are some more:

12 night high end small chip cruise in the Baltics, including shore excursions.

A 2.5 million dollar home, with private chef, personal assistant, and housekeeper that showed up at 6 AM and left at 5 PM - who served your every need. Home included three private pools (lap, infinity, and plunge), six bedrooms, a media room, and an absolutely killer view of the pacific ocean.

Five nights at a very well known Bahamas resort - including all meals, clubbing (back when I was younger... and could hang with the club set), and all the drinks you could possibly want and then some. Of note, I ran into Beyoncé and Jay Z - twice on the same trip - like literally "ran" into her...

Cabanas at the Signature in Vegas, before the recession - and the Signature had/has (who knows, since I don't go to Vegas much anymore) the most amazing crème brulee/custard breakfast item - one of my favorite food items of all times!

Speaking of favorite food items - boutique small luxury style hotel stay including two meals in Alba Italy during the white truffle harvesting season (lasts two weeks!) including an ounce of shaved white truffle!

Really fun home for me and three of my friends in Punta Cana with a butler and a houseman who lived with us for four days and cooked, cleaned, and basically helped us have really amazing experiences in the DR. Home was very interesting - bedrooms were enclosed but other living areas were open air and we had a hurricane.

Cartagena Columbia boutique hotel which was built on a UNESCO world heritage site, magical city, magical place - so much history.

I feel like I am leaving out so many experiences, but these are a few that come to mind (besides the Maldives... did I mention the Maldives? Three times?) Great thread!

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/08/2018 05:30AM by MickeyB.
I keep thinking of more - I once had a wine pairing dinner at a hotel restaurant in Carmel, CA at this amazing restaurant. Some famous wine critic (name escapes me - like Robert Parker'esq but not him) was dining at the table next to me and I read his review of the restaurant afterwards -- of the same meal I had. He loved it. I agreed.
I do apartment shops. I get decorating ideas when I do the tours.

The internet doesn't make you smart. It makes you good at regurgitation.
@MickeyB wrote:

A 2.5 million dollar home, with private chef, personal assistant, and housekeeper that showed up at 6 AM and left at 5 PM - who served your every need. Home included three private pools (lap, infinity, and plunge), six bedrooms, a media room, and an absolutely killer view of the pacific ocean.

I wondered who got that one. Haven't seen it since.
@MickeyB wrote:

The Maldives. Three Times.

Yaaas. Super lucky for you! I applied for the Maldives shops and wished so hard for one!

Grand Cayman. Puerto Rico. Michelin-level restaurants. Afternoon "tea service" ($50+ per person). Hair and spa treatments. Spa treatments are definitely my favorite. Hotels if they are high end and include an airfare budget. I've done a couple of local hotel shops at business-grade hotels and I'm starting to think it's not worth the time for me personally.

Washington DC metro area - Need a dining buddy?
@MickeyB wrote:

12 night high end small chip cruise in the Baltics, including shore excursions.

Small chips are definitely better than big chips since you can never have just one!

They can kick dirt in your face, dress you down and tell you that your place is in the middle, when they hate the way you shine.
Mickey, I did a bit of research regarding a Maldives trip with a posted $700 travel expense. Airfare was $1500+ from here for one person. I assume you must have gotten the MSC to cover airfare for you or used travel points?

*****************************************************************************
I was addicted to the Hokey Pokey, but I turned myself around....What if the Hokey Pokey really is what it's all about?
@MsJudi wrote:

Mickey, I did a bit of research regarding a Maldives trip with a posted $700 travel expense. Airfare was $1500+ from here for one person. I assume you must have gotten the MSC to cover airfare for you or used travel points?

I have not done the one that has the $700 travel expense assignment (note that it is $700 per - so if you did two, you would have $1400) - I have done other assignments there only.

However, not that long ago - there was a $617 round trip fare from NYC to MLE (the International Maldivian Airport) - so it is doable, but agreed, it can be difficult if you do not want any point or cash outlay.

That said - yes, I have always used points or tacked it onto an otherwise bigger trip. I don't relish the idea of flying 30 hours in coach - so I usually try to fly out of CMB (Sri Lanka) - which has always had killer premium cabin flight fares. It also is an hour and a cheap flight from the Maldives.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/08/2018 04:34PM by MickeyB.
@MickeyB wrote:

I usually try to fly out of CMB (Sri Lanka) - which has always had killer premium cabin flight fares. It also is an hour and a cheap flight from the Maldives.

How does Sri Lanka NOT fit into your amazing experiences above! We had a one-of-akind adventure there...and I can't believe you've been to the Maldives one more time than me. sad smiley

My last trip to the Maldives I got an amazing deal from LAX through Turkish Air, which sadly isn't that great of an option these days with the political climate. You can get flights from Singapore that are under $200, though. The trick then is stacking other shops that get you into Singapore.

As much as I like the Maldives, some of my more memorable experiences were bottle service for 6 at that bar in NYC with a great view of the city, that resort in Cabo where we had a private pool and Dolph Lungren was staying next door (how does that not make your list, Mickey?), getting to hire a sommelier and limo to go wine tasting in Napa, and that resort in Utah that gives you lift tickets included in the hotel stay.
Dolph was cool. Dolph was really cool. The napa valley sommelier was also cool - but it felt a little too One flew over the coocoo nest to me. The mandatory tennis whites and playing croquet... Have you see the movie Heathers? Sri Lanka Steve? All I can remember is my unfortunately run in with bad tartar sauce and you having to take over my shop while I lay in bed throwing up every few minutes.
OMG, I do not consider what I do lifestyle shops compared to what Steve So Cal and Mickey B are doing!!! All I can do is sit here with my jaw dropped and wonder what those massive reports must be like. You will have no competition from me for those jobs.
When I applied for the Maldives one with the $700 travel allowance, I was able to find flights from DC for that price. Good tip about doing multiples or stacking trips. Maybe I can find one that will give me travel to LAX and leave from there.

Washington DC metro area - Need a dining buddy?
My thoughts relate to this thread and the recent thread about cash flow.

I love the wide open spaces! For me, and maybe only for me, it is just about the best thing in life to be in the wide open spaces. Because I am a rural dweller, these wonders are between me and most assignments. I love this! The fact that I get to enjoy wide open spaces makes up for the fact that most assignments don't relate to me personally.

Here is one idea for a shop that relates to me and would enhance my lifestyle. If there were a shop that provided quality art supplies in exchange for quality visit and report, I would be thrilled. A fee and bonus on that shop would be beyond fabulous. If anyone would like to create a shop which provides quality art supplies in exchange for quality visits and reports, please let me know. I am your go-to, grateful, gung-ho shopper for that lifestyle enhancing shop.

..get up early. It's the best part of the day.. - George Allen, Sr.
@MickeyB wrote:

All I can remember is my unfortunately run in with bad tartar sauce and you having to take over my shop while I lay in bed throwing up every few minutes.

I meant the first leg of Sri Lanka when we were abducted by the local guy in the tuk tuk to see a baby elephant, and then somehow ended up in a jewelry shop that his cousin owned. This was right after our limo driver in ran over a dog....and the very energetic breakfast server, Dale, who brought us even more curry when we just wanted waffles.

Seriously, that was the strangest group of hotel shops ever!
Steve, one day can you re-submit your experience of traveling the world on I think it was around $5? I remember it was a fascinating read. I may have read it on the "V" site. Don't remember. It was years ago, but so interesting and inspirational.

*****************************************************************************
I was addicted to the Hokey Pokey, but I turned myself around....What if the Hokey Pokey really is what it's all about?
@MsJudi wrote:

Steve, one day can you re-submit your experience of traveling the world on I think it was around $5? I remember it was a fascinating read. I may have read it on the "V" site. Don't remember. It was years ago, but so interesting and inspirational.

I found it here. You just have to search under my name and "$5" for all dates. It was 6 years ago!

[www.mysteryshopforum.com]

There was another article I wrote for MS Magazine a few years later where I went into more detail about planning my second trip, though.
Show-off! Somehow my story about getting an extra potato lost its lustre.

And I even had to make it up. I never got an extra potato.


@MickeyB wrote:

As some of you know - I am obsessed with the Maldives, so that counts up there as one of my favorites - but here are some more:

12 night high end small chip cruise in the Baltics, including shore excursions.

A 2.5 million dollar home, with private chef, personal assistant, and housekeeper that showed up at 6 AM and left at 5 PM - who served your every need. Home included three private pools (lap, infinity, and plunge), six bedrooms, a media room, and an absolutely killer view of the pacific ocean.

Five nights at a very well known Bahamas resort - including all meals, clubbing (back when I was younger... and could hang with the club set), and all the drinks you could possibly want and then some. Of note, I ran into Beyoncé and Jay Z - twice on the same trip - like literally "ran" into her...

Cabanas at the Signature in Vegas, before the recession - and the Signature had/has (who knows, since I don't go to Vegas much anymore) the most amazing crème brulee/custard breakfast item - one of my favorite food items of all times!

Speaking of favorite food items - boutique small luxury style hotel stay including two meals in Alba Italy during the white truffle harvesting season (lasts two weeks!) including an ounce of shaved white truffle!

Really fun home for me and three of my friends in Punta Cana with a butler and a houseman who lived with us for four days and cooked, cleaned, and basically helped us have really amazing experiences in the DR. Home was very interesting - bedrooms were enclosed but other living areas were open air and we had a hurricane.

Cartagena Columbia boutique hotel which was built on a UNESCO world heritage site, magical city, magical place - so much history.

I feel like I am leaving out so many experiences, but these are a few that come to mind (besides the Maldives... did I mention the Maldives? Three times?) Great thread!
Oh that made me snort, LOL!

@ShopWhisperer wrote:

Show-off! Somehow my story about getting an extra potato lost its lustre.

And I even had to make it up. I never got an extra potato.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
I’m a mom with two middle school kids. We do a lot of amusement parks together. Also, other family/kid entertainment shops such as museums, movie theaters, animal parks and the like. We do places we go already as well as places we might not think of going. It saves money and adds to our lives.

I like doing restaurants either with a friend or by myself. Dining out is something I love, and I can justify going out often if I get the money back.

Most of the time, I shop to make money, so I get the philosophy that people have that want to do well enough that they can go out for a nice dinner and skip the report. For me though, it’s sometimes easier to trade a report for a nice dinner. There’s no guilt about spending the money.
Ok I'll bite......

They can kick dirt in your face, dress you down and tell you that your place is in the middle, when they hate the way you shine.
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