Mystery shopping.

Started by richard ford, Jun 15, 2005, 06:53 AM

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richard ford

Mystery Shopping, Copyright Richard Ford.

I have a paying hobby - I am a mystery shopper.

Mystery shoppers visit restaurants and shops posing as customers so that they can then report back to the managements of those companies to tell them what is really going on in their stores. This gives the mystery shopper free products and a little cash in return for the effort of visiting the store and filling in the questionnaire.

Until recently this was an area that was closed to men for a variety of reasons. Before the internet mystery shoppers were recruited on a face to face basis by battleaxes in their mid fifties. These women really were a special breed of person- they were able to work in a profession where hours were irregular because they were supported by their husbands and yet they rarely seemed to think much of men. The general view is that men were wimps (they would often tell you this to your face) and would refuse to place you on their books for this reason. I think men got their reputation for blowing out of assignments and being short term because we have to earn a living wage and do mystery shopping in addition to full time jobs.

Mystery shoppers therefore came to resemble their recruiters more and more - menopausal woman who held men in contempt. This resulted in lying mystery shopping reports and easily recognised mystery shoppers. It also magnified the cost of mystery research because recruiting organizations had to pay recruiters as well as the shoppers.

When the internet came along it opened up mystery shopping to men and other non traditional groups for the first time. Potential shoppers could surf the net and accept assignments without facing the subjective judgements of embittered recruiters. I have often wondered what they were so bitter about and I have decided that many of them were caught in a particularly toxic trap that feminism lays for working women with families. If a woman in this situation is forced to work outside of the home she resents it - why should she be forced to do 'two' jobs simply because her husband is a failure? She will continue to punish her husband, male co-workers and her children until she takes responsibility for her own life situation. In most cases she is not working because her husband is unable to support her at all- she is working because she has been persuaded that she needs to buy a new pair of shoes each weekend. The terrible thing about this resentment is that she will continue to resent her husband even if he is gets a rise at work- more so in fact because she now resents him for his success!

Fortunately the stranglehold of the recruiter is now broken forever- the internet allows shoppers to be recruited directly, trained and then sent on assignments without the employer ever even meeting them! Mystery shopping indeed! One by product of this is that pay rates have fallen, but it still remains an enjoyable hobby.

If the idea of eating pizza and being paid for it appeals then your first stop should be to the MSPA  this will give you an overview of the industry.

I wish you the best of luck.

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