Opinions about Amusement Advantage

Hi, I've been asking a lot here but I'm still learning about this. About a month ago I asked about mystery shops I could do with a kid and some people recommended Amusement Advantage. Their assignments sound kid friendly but I have also read so many things about their assignments being really detailed and their reports being really long. I wanted to gather some opinions about the company, is it worth it? Are you able to enjoy the place and do the work at the same time?

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The assignments are the second longest I have done. They used to give decent bonuses. Now, you are reimbursed and get around $15 for the report, if you get their $5 early bonus. I haven't completed a shop for them in a year. But, they do have science centers and aquariums, which might be worth the reimbursement for you.
I liked working with them in the past, but haven't done anything for a while. My friend did all of their pier rides and waterpark shops last summer and said she wouldn't have been able to take the kids if it wasn't for the shops. You're not going to make a lot of money, but it can provide an experience you normally wouldn't, kinda like some fancy dining shops. My biggest suggestion would be to get as many observations done right away and then you'll have time to enjoy yourself.

Shopping the South Jersey Shore
I've done zoo and bowling shops and it's not bad. You do have to keep track of all the interactions and make sure you're asking questions. I did okay with bonus $. I was paid promptly and thought the reimbursement was fair. You do have to be pretty detailed and your comments and their site is a little cumbersome.
The first few will most likely feel like he@!.
Once you get used to mystery shopping in general, and longer/ detailed reports you will be fine.
Take LOTS of time stamped photos to help jog your memory when writing the report. I would suggest making sure the other adult you take knows that they are 'in charge' of the kids while you take photos/ ask questions/ take notes.

Servimer Regional Manager- Nevada, Illinois, Wisconsin & Minnesota
Oh, I would recommend definitely getting other shops under your belt before attempting the AA shops. Details, details, details. Narrative, lots of required interactions. I would say, actually, not for the novice. However, we spent over $100 having immense fun, bowling, eating, laser tag, and arcade. Every penny was reimbursed, and there was a small fee for reporting the shop. If you don't enjoy this type of activity (we treated an 8 year old, and that was the PERFECT age), you won't enjoy the shop. The shop itself took 3 or more hours, and the report way, way over an hour. At the time, I thought it was fair pay; fact was, we would not ordinarily have been able to afford the activity, and we had a BLAST. I might have had more fun than the 8 year old!

smiling smiley
I've done a handful of shops for them over the past few years. The reports are tedious and the pay can be low, but the reimbursement can be awesome. I would not take one of their shops for the pay, but will take one to get a break or full reimbursement on an amusement experience with my family.

I've also found this company easy to work with and they've always paid me on time.
Thanks everyone, I will definitely consider doing shops for them in a future, when I get a little more experience.
I am still able to enjoy the attractions but the reports are very long. They give you an estimate of how long the report will take, but it always takes me way longer.
I really liked working with Erika. She's the only scheduler that I have worked with from AA. I did a shop for them, and the report was long, and very detailed. However, that one was a flat pay rate. I had no expenses so there was no reimbursement, but after I did the report she was gracious enough to recommend me for other companies, because she liked the job I did on the report. That being said, I do see a lot of their shops that will pay a MORE than fair reimbursement, and some of them, say... you have to go somewhere and they reimburse for three people but you're only required to take two, you get the reimbursement on most of them for the three people in addition to the actual fee. Sometimes they'll also give you a full reimbursement allowance for food/activities for up to three people, and then you get to keep whatever additional you didn't use. So, it seems to be (most often) flat rates for them, and if you don't use all of the flat rate for the reimbursement, then you get to keep the overage so you don't actually only get paid the fee. They've very detailed about this in the guidelines for each shop, so just take a look. I find using a recorder, and emailing yourself a copy of the interaction that you can look up on the phone just BEFORE the actual specific interaction takes place helps, and then I either text myself immediately, so I know what the time is, or using the recorder I'll hold my phone up to my ear and step away like I've got a phone call where I just say, "Joe Smith, drink stand, offered upgrade, brown hair, 2:55 PM, very friendly, greeted warmly," etc. It's faster than texting and if you get a "recorder" that records the time of day rather than the time elapsed you can easily find where each thing is especially if you text it to yourself. You can just skip to that portion of the audio.

I did a casino shop (not for AA) yesterday and was fussing with listening to the recorder to find the interactions. Three hour shop and I was searching through the whole thing to find that info, and as it turns out, you really couldn't hear anything but the music and my loud mouth. I didn't tell myself that information, sadly, yesterday and man was I sorry I didn't. LOL. Lesson learned.

But, anyway, their amusement park stuff usually gets you a good number of tickets. I think they usually give you four. If you and only one other person go, then I think you can use the other two for a different day. Every shop seems to differ, though. They've definitely got a couple of shops that I want to do in a BIG way. Fun times.
Thanks for asking that question. I just signed up with them and was wondering the same thing. Is it worth it? I am not spending 2 to 3 estimated hours of time doing a report unless I get paid accordingly.
Is it worth it? Only you can decide that. It allows you to visit a place you might otherwise not spend the money on, but it's a lot of work. Typically, I take their assignments so that those who are going WITH me can enjoy the experience. It's still fun for me, but I'm working and am not free to do what I want. The company itself is great -- very few companies where you can interact directly with the owner if you have questions. They're responsive and answer emails quickly. Their pay is consistently on time. The reports are LOOOONG. Double (triple?) the time they list unless you're one of those people who can whip out narratives.

"Paid accordingly" varies. They're definitely not money-makers. Call them "lifestyle enhancement," similar to Service Scouts (who also pay nearly nothing, but have some great experiences.)

Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.

(Yes, I stole Hoju's tagline.)
I have done bowling shops through ISS that pay $70, keep the change, usually $35 net, that take a half hour. Compare this to Amusement Advantage that pays $15 and covers the same bowling, and takes three hours.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/29/2019 10:44PM by Niner.
In some cases with Amusement Advantage, you're able to get amusement park tickets - I've seen them give you four or five - which cost $50 a piece. Then you get reimbursement for parking - $20 at major theme parks. I'm not sure if there is a pay on that, but if you only go with two people and you get four tickets, that's twice you get to go to that theme park for free. I mean, I'm a roller coaster lover, so that's worth it to me just buy itself, but really, that's a fairly good pay there.

With the other shops, a lot of them (and I won't say *all* because I don't know what all their shops are) give a flat reimbursement which is intended so you can bring up to so many people. Let's just say four for the sake of giving an example. If you take four, you still get a fee, usually, although it's only $10 or $15 or something, but if you only take two, most of the shops I've seen still gives you the reimbursement for taking four people, and they basically say count it as pay. They're one of the few MSCs I've seen do that. In fact, they're one of the few MSCs I've seen even reimburse for more than one person on a regular basis, and their reimbursements are generally generous. They don't pick the cheapest thing/combo on the menu and say that should be enough so you're not OOP on the reimbursement.

I'll have to check out Service Scout.
Overall, I like working with them, but will only do their bowling shops. They don't have much available in my immediate area, other than the bowling shops and an amusement park. My kids are too old for the park now, but even when they were younger, I wouldn't have done that shop for a dozen free tickets!

They have some "walking tour" shops and public-transit shops in an area about 45 miles from here. They're just not worth it at the pay rate (although if I were local to them, the pay would be OK). If I'm ever going to be in the area and can try one, I'd like to.

Erika is great! And I like that the editors will mark you down for an error but not reject the shop. There is one person there with whom I don't like dealing. He's condescending and treats shoppers like kids. But, fortunately, I haven't had to have much interaction with him.

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.
It has been a year or more since my last job with them but I find their jobs to be the easiest jobs I have ever done. They do take a while though. The jobs really differ though and some I have done I will not do again as it was difficult to find the target employee type on those. Some require you to visit a pop up type "ranger" and have an interaction. Those close down early at some venues so you really need to listen to their rule of getting there no later than xxx time. For instance, at my local zoo, most of the ranger stuff is done by 2 pm. So if you do not arrive until noon and run around doing the other parts of the job you will not find the pop up ranger booths.
Kids, if they are too young to be left on their own it will be difficult unless you have a very well behaved kid that does not mind being dragged here to there on your schedule...so another adult or older child is helpful.
Food. Unless they have changed the rules, some shops require eating at 5=6 locations. Do not order a whole meal at each. You will be way over budget. I usually do a walking meal with those types of jobs by ordering one item at each and finishing my meal along the way. There are some rules such as not ordering only french fries or one side but i found if I could get a hot dog (cheapest main they had) at one place, a burger at the next, a drink at another fast food type place where that is allowed etc I had plenty to eat. Even with kids you can make it a game by sharing the hot dog, finding the next place, sharing the burger or pizza, finding the next place and sharing etc Doing the high number of food interadtion shops and buying pencils and post cards at gift shops I have managed to get by with $35 ti $40 leftover. And if you can find a 2 for 1 coupon for your venue you can use that too to keep your costs down.
I believe I've changed my opinion on AA. I'm doing a shop for them soon, but I think it will be the last one. I don't like their attitude toward shoppers. I don't like the apparent assumption that most of us are flake-prone and will bail out without notice or that we don't take our commitments seriously and are not professionals. I find that this company's "standard" language in emails, guidelines, etc., is condescending -- more so now than ever.

I like the scheduler, and in personal emails, she's been nothing but professional and friendly. So, it's not her. Apparently the owner of this MSC has never heard that one catches more flies with honey than with vinegar.

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.
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