How long have you been a mystery shopper?

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I did my first mystery shop in November, 2007. Hired someone to mystery shop my own pizza restaurant in 1997.
Interesting to see how long people have been at this! I’ve only been at it for 4 years. I love having the extra income to go with my full time job. It’s allowed me to do so many extra things that would have been hard to afford.
I started in 2009 doing a few shops a year. Then I did it for gas and meals. When I got laid off in 2016, it became my primary source of income.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
2007 must have been a very good year, or a very bad year for a lot of us. That is the year I really got started. I'd looked into it a bit earlier, but 2007 was my first year.
September 2005.

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.
It is the year I quit teaching full time and started subbing. So a little side line sounded good.

@barbage wrote:

2007 must have been a very good year, or a very bad year for a lot of us. That is the year I really got started. I'd looked into it a bit earlier, but 2007 was my first year.
July 1999.
Pretty much full-time shopping from around 2003-2017.
Back to part-time again with a full-time job.
I started in mid-1995. Never dreamed I'd still be at it all this time later. Although there have been many positive changes, especially online reporting and self-scheduling, I've seen the fees go down by 1/2 or more. When I first started, most shops paid at least $12 for a simple retail shop and they did not require pictures.
Started in 2003 after my husband passed away suddenly. Needed something to go along with my merchandising for extra income.
I've only been mystery shopping since February, so much much newer than most of the people on this site! It was a replacement for the side job that I wasn't too keen on (lots of long days & standing out in all weathers. I'm in the National Guard so I get enough of that at drill). I had a really good profitable month and a half before Covid began!
2014. Did a bunch of Spencer Gift shops, Modells, pizza, five guys and numerous others over the years. Now I like Costco Auto shops (in conjunction with my Instacart deliveries), HP Ink audits and USPS shops.
My first shop was in July, 2014, so I'll be coming up on six years soon.

Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product. Eleanor Roosevelt
I started in about 1997 or 1998. Only did gas and fast food for years. Really started hustling in 2004 or so, branched out into sit-down restaurants, oil changes, audits, haircuts, massages, hotels, etc.

Shopping the Greater Denver Area, Colorado Springs and in-between in Colorado. 30 year old male and willing to travel! Badged for Denver International Airport.
About thirty years! I started shopping a sporting goods store that has since closed---a few times a year. Maybe at the turn of the century I expanded to more assignments, used to snap up Card Party Outlet whenever possible. A few years ago I was on unemployment and needed to apply for another job to continue collecting. Ta da--mystery shopping filled the gap. If I do 1-2 shops a week I am happy.
I'm very "off and on...."

I started in 2008, I think and did about one-two a day for about 3 years.

Then I stopped for five years-ish

I hit it hard before a vacation or when we need a new air conditioner or something like that...then stop altogether again for a while.
I would take a man on a Mystery Shop dinner date and it was like the kiss of death for that relationship for some reason. LOL. Then I took this one particular man on a mystery shop dinner date and he thought that it was very “cool” that the meal was totally paid for. He started mystery shopping too! Soon after that, we would go on casino Mystery Shop, spending day there, doing mystery shops. Five years later, this spring, we got married and Mystery Shop dates are still one of our favorite ways to spend a day.
I would agree about the drop in prices. One of my first audits 20 years ago was to count heads at a movie theater and I paid $15 a movie show time. I still work for the same company every once in awhile and they still pay $15 a movie!
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