Saturday, December 27, 2008

Helpful Shop

Every now and then you will come across a shop that offers a service that you would have to do anyway... For example, you might need to go to the grocery store to pick up two or three things and voila- you find a shop that you can take to do just that. Well, tax season is coming up. This shop pays $70 to do a tax refund shop. It looks like there are alot of them available right now, but I'm sure they won't be around for too much longer once everyone starts having to do their taxes. Click here to see if there is one available in your town.

Have you come across an awesome high paying shop recently or one that offers a service that everyone has to do anyway? Let us know about it.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Beware! Mystery Shopping Scams

As we are getting ready to start the new year I thought this would be an appropriate video to post. I know people are thinking about how they intend on making extra money next year so I wanted to add this video I found about mystery shopping scams. Be careful if you get one of these checks in the mail. It's really sad that people do all that they can to scam someone out of their hard-earned money. Please take a couple of minutes to watch this video because evidently people are falling for this and make sure you subscribe to this blog to get updates on new scams as I come across them.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Free Card Idea

I know that a lot of you will be sending out cards and I came across this site and thought you might enjoy it. You have to add a toolbar and then you can send e-cards which is an economical way to let someone know that you appreciate/love/are thankful for them. Plus this way saves trees. Once you have finished sending all your cards you can uninstall the toolbar. Enjoy!

More free samples

I've noticed that everyone loves to get a free sample of something in the mail. It makes me almost giddy! Here are some new samples I've come across.

1. Are you a fan of truffles? If you've never tried them before you should try this sample of truffle oil. It is to be used as a condiment to enhance the flavor of food. I'm looking forward to getting this one. Click here for your sample while it lasts.

2. Here is a free sample of Bear Naked fruit and nut granola. Scoop it up here. You can even track your samples shipping status! And it's all free. Talk about a great deal.

3. If you're like me you never have enough key chains. Get a free Bad Dog keychain to replenish your collection. Click here now.

4. Here's how to get a dollar into your paypal account. Click here and take a survey and you should receive payment within 7 days. Let me know how this opportunity works out.

5. Here's a free sample of Lacoste pink perfume.

6. If you haven't tried these flossers now is a great time to get them for free. Do it now before they are all gone.

6. Here is my absolute favorite find of the day. A sample of Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce. I have fallen in love with this for my meatloaf. You'll love it to. Here is a coupon for a free bottle.

That should be enough to keep you busy for a little while. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


It's that time of year again when I am home and have weeks stretching in front of me with nothing specific to do. This is the time of year when I start going on the web and visiting some of my favorite sites. Some have to do with shopping, some with music, and some are just have random awesomeness. Here is a list of some of my favorite sites. Be sure to add yours to the list. I love to find new sites of interest.

5. I like this site because I love music. You can sign up for a free trial and listen to all the music you like for free. What I like to do though is search for the music that I loved when I was in high school. I think that is one of the coolest things of all. I think the years are divided up into quarters and if you can't remember the name of song that you liked in the pass, you can just think of the time of year when it came out and search it out. You'll never miss out on your favorite music again if you sign up for this.

4. Amazon is one of my favorite sites. You can get music and books in one place. Add to that everything else you need for your home and you have one awesome site. Need I say more?

3. Well...I have to admit. I do like ebay sometimes. You get unique things on there and I just really get a kick out of winning something. I'm not good at winning a lot of games in my life. I'm not quick witted or clever so my husband tries to get rid of me as a teammate on every occasion. Don't feel sorry for me though cause on the off chance that I do win I'm not a graceful winner. Where was I? Oh yeah, ebay= fun times.

2. Do you have pets? Well, if you do then this is the place for you to shop for them. They have the neatest pet supplies. You even find things you didn't think you needed for pets. Like that yellow rain slicker and matching booties. Hey, dogs don't like getting rained on either just because they gotta go.

1. Drumroll please...Here is my number one favorite place to buy jewelry and the occasional art piece from: Bidz- the largest online jewelry auction site. Up to 95% off gold jewelry, engagement rings, watches, diamond jewelry, and much more - starting at $1, every 5 seconds. Click and bid today! I have bought a diamond ring, a pair of diamond earrings, a sapphire ring and earrings, even art- a Caroline Young and an Azoulay print. It always comes as described, which is important to me. I love my art! The prices are great and I can tell you from personal experience that sometimes you can get jewelry at super low prices. What is awesome is that there are so many auctions going that you can USUALLY wait. If the piece you really want is getting to be more than you want to pay alot of times it comes back around after 10 minutes or so. Not always but a lot of times that's how it works. Get ready for some addictive jewelry buying fun. You will love it.

Speaking of doing stuff online, if you have not yet signed up for the newsletter you are missing out on learning how to do online mystery shopping. Click here for more information on how to get this valuable info. It is only available until the end of December and then poof- it's gone.

Now I've told you some of my favorite sites, what are yours?

Friday, December 19, 2008

D'oh of the Day

Hello everyone, it has been a couple of weeks since my last post. I've been kinda busy counting down the days until it was time for vacation time to begin. Now I'm back in the saddle again. And since my vacation started officially as of 3:15 this afternoon, I'm wondering whether time will go in super speed mode or whether it will be slooooow. Either way I plan on getting in some more posts. I had a mystery shopping experience today as I do frequently. This one didn't directly involve completing a shop.

Let me start at the beginning. Today at about 1:30 I got a call to my cell phone. It happened to be on vibrate, as I usually put in on that at work so I don't have to take out my cellie in front of all of my students and have a conversation in front of them. First of all it is super distracting. Secondly I am embarrassed about the condition of my phone. I am one of the types that could care less about bells and whistles on phones. I just want it to make and receive phone calls and the rare text message from my sister who continues to text me no matter how many times I ask her not to.

So there I was this afternoon, letting the kids decorate little sun visors and velcroing and hot gluing them together while a swarm of student enclosed my desk reaching their cute little germy hands everywhere. The phone vibrated in my pocket when it was ringing. I knew it had to be a call about a mystery shop because everyone else knows that I'm a teacher and they don't call me during the day. I didn't even pause what I was doing because I figured that I'd just call them back. around 4:30 I finally checked my messages and found that I probably should have checked my messages earlier. One of the good shops. It was one of those alchohol shops that I've written about in an earlier post. Click here to read more details about that. I guess this company must have been pretty desperate to get that shop done because they were adding a $20 bonus on top of the shop fee of $10, PLUS reimbursement. I called the scheduler back three hours later only to find that the shop had already been assigned. ARGH

The lesson for me is to be available and to return calls as soon as I can. I mean it's not like I was at home playing video games or something and just didn't feel like calling them back...but I am notorious about procrastination so I guess I got what I deserve this time. Don't be like me and miss out on your valuable shops.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Cash back for Online Shoppers

Hello out there in mystery shopping land! How would you like to earn money when you shop online? If you shop online even infrequently you should be making cash back for it. I don't mean cash back on your credit card, although that would be something that you might be able to do in addition to what I'm talking about. You can earn cash back by signing up here.

You start off by getting ten bucks into your account right away when you sign up and make a purchase. You have to sign up through this link here in order to get the bonus though. Then, you make cash back every time you purchase something online as long as you sign in to the site and click on the store link. It will take you seriously only like 30 seconds to sign in and click on the link that you want to shop with when you get ready to shop. You can shop at anything from ebay to WalMart to Circuit City. Circuit City should have some great sales since I hear many of their stores, or all of them, I can't remember, are going out of business. There are hundreds of other stores too. If you shop online you can also often get coupons on top of the cash back. Sometimes the coupons are for free shipping, or $15 dollars off, etc. It beats going to the store and standing in line...Plus the cash back is up to 19% back. That money just rolls over into your account without you even thinking about it. You sign up for paypal and they send you your money.

I am just really excited about it because I just got my money into my pay pal account which is like a total bonus. My subscribers already know all about this and have hopefully taken advantage of the offer already. If not there is no time like the present. When you get your money into your paypal account or if when you get your check in the mail, make sure to drop me a comment. That's all for now folks.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Free sample updates

Here are some new free samples that I thought you might be interested in. Yay free samples!

1. Free sample of size three Huggies diapers

2. Make your little four legged friend happy! Give your dog free Pedigree Goodbites.

3. Glad bag ziplog bags, free sample here

Get these before they are gone. That's all I have for now but check back for updates!

Monday, November 10, 2008


Dear readers, have you subscribed to the newsletter yet? If not, this month you are missing out on exclusive subscriber only content. This month subscribers learned tips for maximizing profits. This was the second part of the series. The first newsletter was sent out in September/October and included the first three tips. The November/December newsletter had the next three tips. These are tips that I use to make as much as possible mystery shopping and I know they will be a benefit to you too!

The newsletter for November/December also has information about online mystery shopping. That's right ONLINE mystery shopping. I came across a site from a reliable source that has online mystery shops. You have to subscribe to the newsletter to find out what the site is.

My newsletter, Mystery Shopper Focus, has ways to earn money by shopping online. There are two sites that I use when I shop online to save money. If you have to shop anyway, why not make some money while you do it? Ready to sign up yet? Click on the subscription link to the right to sign up now for the subscription.

Here's one more perk of signing up for the newsletter, you get a free shop log to help you stay organized when you sign up for your mystery shopping teacher subscription. Sign up now for your subscription to make sure you get all the tips and gifts that my subscribers get. You don't want to miss out.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

How to earn free prizes by searching the internet

I wanted to get this quick post out about a new site I found that lets you earn prizes by searching the internet. Click here now to get it installed. It is open to only the first 1 million folks who sign up before December 31. If you don't get in there you'll miss out. I always look for things that are free and I wanted to pass on the info to my readers. You can earn frequent flyer miles, music downloads, even t-shirts. I think you are allowed to earn points until April of next year and then you are allowed to request your prize. If you usually search for information on the web, you can earn prizes now while doing what you usually do anyway. That's kind of a theme for me...making cash and prizes for things you normally do anyway! Check this out now before it's too late.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Free mystery shopping companies list!

Hey there mystery shoppers and potential mystery shoppers. Have you looked into doing mystery shopping yet? Are you still kind of wondering whether it is something you want to do? Well, I want to make it as easy as possible for you. I want to give you a list of companies in a chart to start you off. All you have to do is go to the website and sign up. You probably won't get a whole lot of work if you only sign up with two or three companies. But if you sign up to a minimum of 15 your chances of getting to choose the jobs you are really interested in and potential to make good money increase. But as we say in the south, I'll do ya one better. I'll send you a list of twenty companies all ready for you to sign up to.

Let me tell you why you need to jump on this offer now. I could be charging for this info! A lot of other sites do charge you, like this one here or shadow shopper. By the way, I did try shadow shopper and they seem to be very reputable if a membership site is the way you want to go. If you want to pay for that information, then feel free to. You can save money and headaches by getting this list of free, up-to-date companies. I personally checked the links of the companies that I'm not signed up for although many of them I am a shopper for.

This list has links that you can click on to go directly to the site where you sign up to be a shopper for the particular company. As you sign up simply add your username and password to the chart beside the website. Then when you want to look for jobs, all you have to do is open that document and click on the company that you want to look at and you password and user name are READY for you. I really should be charging for this now that I think about it. It is so convenient you just should not pass up the opportunity to get in on this offer. But I can guarantee I won't have it around forever.

You have to pay money on other sites to get a free list of mystery shopping companies or you can sign up to one of the sites that has a monthly fee. I did a trial of one of those companies- so that I could blog about my experiences. I only found two sites that I didn't already know about. Literally, I'm not exaggerating. Big whoop... Needless to say, I was not impressed, but maybe that is just one of my things. I don't think you should have to pay to get a job.

Here's how you get your hands on a list if you are not interested in subscribing. Pick any one of my blog posts and stumble it. Post a reply on the blog post that you stumbled (or use digg if you like) and send me an email at telling me about the the post that you placed. I'll email your list back to you in my reply.

If you want to subscribe to my blog then all you have to do put in your email address to the right of this post, pick out your fave post to stumble or digg, and put your link in a comment on the post. When your subscription goes through send me an email, and I'll send your list.

If you already subscribe to my post, stumble or digg a post, put a comment, and drop me a line via email using the email address you subscribed to my blog with. I'll send you the goods.

Easy as pie. You can't get any easier than that. Got questions? Let me know. Three, two, it!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ten Freebies- Grab em while they last!

If you like free stuff as much as I do, you might want to check out the following sites to make your request while supplies last. I know this blog is mostly about mystery shopping, but whenever I come across goodies like this, I want to share the love with my readers. Get an autofill tool like on the Google toolbar, and fill it in. Then whenever you come across a website that asks for your information, you can click autofill and it fills in the form for you. Couldn't be easier. Plus, no long surveys to fill out with a credit card- I despise those.

1. There is a free sample of FiberOne cereal. Looks pretty good to me! I know the cereal bars are good as well as the pop tarts.

2. Here is a free sample of head and shoulders shampoo. You have two choices to pick from.

3. Now that cold and flu season is here, try a free sample of Airborne zesty orange.

4. & 5. Who doesn't like a glass of tea? Well, Sundance wants to send you some. Or, let Yogi send you one of their samples. Better yet, get both!

6. Jump on this one right away while supplies last: a free sample of Original Pho soup. Warm yourself up on a cold day!

7. Al's pistachios is sending out free pistachio samples- a big 12 oz. sample. Click here to sign up before supplies run out.

8. Get a free tote bag here while supplies last.

9. Free Pond's clean sweep facial towelettes here.

10. Here is your chance to get a free sample of Aveeno Skin Care.

Enjoy these goodies! I did the research for you and you can reap all the benefits. If I get a favorable response to this, it might become a more regular part of this little blog. Stumble this blog and leave me a comment if you like this!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How to Get Mystery Shopping Jobs Repeatedly

So by now, if you are a regular reader of this blog, you have already compiled a list of companies that you can do mystery shopping jobs for. If you are a new reader you should definitely get started on that.

What is important as a new mystery shopper is getting jobs. You might start off doing any job you can get your hands on at first. As a new mystery shopper, you probably get the jobs that aren't the best. You'll probably start with the low paying jobs or the ones that have longer reports. You may even end up doing the shops that have the super long reports just because you don't realize how long the reports will actually take you.

Let me clue you in on how to get some of the better jobs. You won't get the great jobs right away, but you can start to make your mark on the company by doing something you have to do anyway. You have to write reports for companies when you do shops so you should make your reports the best that you can. Be super descriptive when it comes to describing employees, the atmosphere, food, service, etc. For example, instead of saying that your hamburger was hot and delicious say, "The hamburger was cooked to perfection. The meat had the coloring of a burger cooked medium well, just as I had ordered. The lettuce was cool and crisp. The tomatoes were perfectly ripe and fresh. The bacon was crispy and sizzling. The temperature was just right as well." Instead of saying that the fries are good you can say, "The french fries were firm, crispy, and well seasoned."

I tested out this theory of mine as I was filling out the report for a casual dining shop.
I teach writing so I used some of the tricks that I use as a teacher to help get more opportunities as a shopper. The shop was for a dinner for two including soup, appetizer, drinks, two entrees, and desert- all reimbursed might I add. Even the tip was covered. Anyway, I felt particularly creative that night for some reason. I decided that I would try out my theory of being super descriptive in the reporting section. It probably only took me ten minutes more than it would have taken me otherwise to write a less descriptive report. I have done shops for the company before and I had even filled out this report before in the past, (read more about it here) but was just less descriptive.

What happened to me was that I got a personal email from the scheduler thanking me for the outstandingly written report the very next morning. I got the opportunity to do new shops on my log. I'm not a scheduler or anything but I know that schedulers do not necessarily show ALL available shops to everyone that signs up for their company. From what I have heard, but am unable to verify for myself, you have the opportunity to do more mystery shops if you are certified. It appears that evidently if you do a really good job on your report, the scheduler might think you are worthy of doing more shops too. This is a company that I had been scoping out for months to see what shops were available and then the day after I did a great job on my report all of a sudden there were more opportunities for me. Another thing that happened was I got a 10 on my report for my shopper rating. Finally, I have been getting emails about job opportunities from this company and even phone calls. All of this for just spending time being a little more descriptive.

When you think about it, doesn't it make sense? If a scheduler has to choose between two people to do a shop, wouldn't they choose the one that has the best feedback? Companies read the feedback from the mystery shopper and I'm sure they are thrilled to see reports of the shoppers that are thorough and descriptive.

So, what do you think? Does anyone have anything to add about this? Personal experiences that affirm this theory? Leave me some feedback on what you think about this theory of mine.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Alcohol Compliance Shops- Easy Money

If you like to have a beer every now and then, this is good news for you. Check this company out right away. If you do an alcohol compliance shop you can get a beer for free. I did one of these shops and it was very simple to do. The tasks were to check out the bathrooms, food court, pricing, signage, and of course purchase the beer. Not to mention the pay was $20 just for about 10 minutes of my time...shops like that always make me do a little woo hoo in my mind. I mean there is like a big song and dance to go with it and everything. Song 2., Blur, to be exact.

I went into the store which had just opened about two weeks before I stopped in. I walked to the bathroom immediately to check out what that was like. It was in fairly good condition. It didn't smell terribly awful or anything. So I took a mental note of that and went back out into the store to check the other necessary things.

When I looked at the coolers they were almost empty. I opened the cooler up to look at the beers that were available and most of the drinks were warm. I didn't know if they had just been put into the cooler or if the cooler just wasn't working correctly. I noticed that price tags were not in the cooler consistently either. It was kind of haphazardly done. I tried to pick out a beer that I knew my husband would like since I don't drink any kind of beer at all, I'm more of a super sweet margarita drinker. I can't drink anything that you can taste the liquor in...anyway, I I was picking out the drink while trying to spend as little as possible to make sure I came in under budget.

I picked a drink and walked around the store looking at other things on my checklist. I looked at the food court. I looked for signs that said something about the age of alcohol purchase. I looked for the price tags (or lack thereof) of some other items throughout the store. After spending a few minutes looking around, I went to the checkout. I put my beer on the counter to checkout. The cashier asked for my birthday but never asked to see my driver's license so I could have told her anything really. The cashier said that there was no price on the beer so she couldn't ring it up. I silently went back to the cooler and put my 1st choice away and picked another. I went to check out once again. She couldn't remember my birthday and evidently didn't want to ask me again, so she must have just put in her birthday. The entire time she never asked for my drivers license. I almost left without my receipt because she didn't give it to me right away.

This is one of those companies that pays you right into your paypal account. If you don't have a paypal account you should sign up for one immediately. You will have to sign up with a bank account, but it is so convenient to have a paypal account in case you want to buy anything online. Also, a lot of mystery shopping companies pay this way. I've received my payment and already invested that money into making money with other shops. If you are interested in getting a beer for free, click here to sign up with this company. Also interesting about this company, if you get your friends to sign up and complete shops you can get paid for that too. I think they have to sign up with your email address as the referrer to do that though. In my opinion this is one of those companies that you shouldn't dawdle on...go ahead and sign up for. Do it, do it now.

I'm outtie.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Earn $10 NOW

Well, this is not mystery shopping related per se, but it is shopping related so I'm going to say that counts. If you like getting paid to do stuff that you have to do anyway, and if you're reading this blog than I know you do, you have to sign up for this right now. Do you shop online?If you haven't done it before you should consider it because it is so easy and convenient to do. There's this website you can sign up to that will give you cash back for your purchases. I have used it several times and I am about to have a nice little paypal payment for purchases I would have to do anyway. Or, you can elect to have a check sent to you in the mail.

There are thousands of different sites that are available for shopping too: Overstock, Amazon, Wal Mart, etc. You can choose whether you want cash back and you may be able to use online only coupons in conjunction with the cash back. If you are curious and think this might be for you sign up here now. You get $10 now if you sign up through this exclusive link. You've lost nothing if you sign up and end up not buying anything online because it is free to sign up and there are no fees whatsoever. You only have until October 31st to get the cash bonus though, so hurry on over and sign up. It really is a no brainer if you shop online anyway. Happy shopping!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Grocery store shops with great pay!

One of my favorite shops that I've done to date would probably be the grocery store shop. I found one company that needed a grocery store shop done. I just happened to stumble upon the company and shop and it was a spur of the moment decision to apply for the shop. The shop pay was decent, but it was out of town. It just so happened that I was going out of town for another shop too, so it was worth it to me to get this shop done while I was there anyway.

The point of the shop was to keep a look out for the quality of service, promotional materials, store branding, and cleanliness. I had the task of looking at several different aspects of the store. There was not an amount of time specified for how long I had to be in the store. I was also to make a purchase of at least two items. One of them had to be big enough to fit in the bottom of the grocery cart like bottles of water or dog food, and the other item was to be small. The items were reimbursable.

It is a fairly small town company. I believe it is one that is kind of common to the south, but maybe not so common elsewhere. I went with a checklist of the things I needed to look for, discreetly of course. There was no one else in the store with me so it was really easy for me to do the evaluation discreetly without anyone noticing that I was checking out the ceiling and floor tiles for discoloration. I looked for the promotions of the month and selected my two items. I, of course, had decided on bottled water and cereal bars before I entered the store knowing that I wouldn't have to come out of pocket because my reimbursement would cover these items.

Everything about the shop went well. The only thing that was not so great was that it was raining when I got out to my car and I had to lug the huge bottles of water out to my car and get soaked. The really awesome thing about this company is that they pay really quickly. I mean, I got my check like two or three weeks later and I was trying to figure out where the check came from because I got it so fast! I highly recommend this company for great, fast payment. This is one company you definitely need to check out.

In my book this company gets five stars for ease of report, great pay, and prompt delivery of payment! This is a great company to start off with if you are a new shopper. Go for it!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Keepin' track of it all...and my free gift to subscribers

Hello shoppers! Now this post is an important one for mystery shoppers everywhere. If you are not one of those people who are born organizationists, you need to come up with some type of system to keep yourself organized. I know that organizationist isn't a word, but it should be.

Some people are just born with the innate tendency towards being organized. These people are always on top of their game, so to speak. These people as teachers are awesome because they can keep track of everything. Believe me, I know because I am the exact opposite. Organizationists believe that there is a place for everything and that everything should be in its place. They can somehow put information together in ways that can be easily retrieved if necessary. Organizationists keep to do lists. There is so much more that organizationists do that differ from folks like myself. If I knew all of what they did then maybe I would be able to join their ranks.

Then there are the rest of us. I am like the least organized person that I know. I keep things to do in stacks on my desk. Of course I'm constantly looking for things because I do not have a specific place for anything. I have a general idea for where I've left things because I am a visual person I can usually picture where I last saw the item I'm looking for. But that's neither here nor there. The point that I'm trying to make is that organizationists have it goin' on. If you are not one of those people then I have a few ideas of ways you can keep yourself organized.

1. Keep a list of companies that you shop for. I will give you a template that you can use to keep up with your companies if you subscribe to this blog- as my gift to subscribers. What I have done for myself, because I realized that there is no way I would be able to keep up with every company, is to make a list of the companies that I shop for. That way I can go to one place to search for current openings instead of saving each individual site to ymy favorites. Also, you don't have to worry about remembering 30 passwords. This saves lots of headaches!

2. Keep a list of shops that you do. A checklist would be fine. It should list the company, the date you performed the shop, and the amount you should be paid. You may want to add other things, but you will want these things at the very minimum. This is essential in making sure you get all the money you are due. To me, this is especially important if you do a large quantity of short, quick shops.

3. Get a folder to keep track of receipts. Many companies ask that shoppers keep receipts for 30-60 days. I would definitely do that just in case something doesn't go through when you scan it. If you lose your receipt, you can be in a bit of trouble when it is time to get reimbursed.

Just some ideas. Use some of them or use them all. For sure you need to sign up for a subscription to get more useful shopper tips. I feel the need to explain the statement that I'm about to use in closing. One of my students ended her writing essay in this way a couple of years ago and it has stuck with me: Bow wow for now!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Telephone Shops

You're probably saying to yourself, "What?!?". I know that reading of telephone shops might confuse you a little bit but there are shops that you perform over the telephone. These are some of my favorite shops to be honest. Why? Well, for one reason, these shops take very little time to do. The forms to fill out are super short and you can get them done in no time. The pay isn't very much individually, but if you add them together, it does pay to do these shops. Plus, hello, you can actually do them in your pj's. If you do the maximum number of shops for Friday, Saturday and Sunday each month you can end up with about $80 extra per month. That's $20 dollars and hour to sit at home on your B-hind and make a few phone calls. That's $960 per year just for those shops. You really can't beat that!

It takes me seven to eight minutes per shop. I timed myself and that includes everything from printing and scanning the paperwork to entering the report. And, it only takes that long because my scanner is ancient. It slowly ekes across the paperwork that has to be scanned in. I refuse to buy another scanner until this one has a slow sputtering death and will no longer work at all, even though I'm costing myself time that I could be doing shops. I'm sure with a normal scanner (one purchased in the latter part of this decade) things go alot more smoothly. You can probably shave that time down to 5-6 minutes per shop once you get good at it. So by now I'm sure you're wondering where to go to get these shops. Click here to find out. You have to sign up with the blue portal in order to find these shops.

Have I piqued your curiosity as to how these shops actually work? Well, all you do is call a fast food pizza chain and pretend you are going to make an order for delivery. You evaluate their customer service anonymously and then you cancel the order at the end. Of course, if you decide to you can get the order.

These shops are the tops for me. It can't really get much easier. You can do them while watching t.v. in about 30 minutes a day. I've done several shops with this company also and they pay direct deposit so you don't have to wait for a check in the mail. If I were you I would jump on this opportunity now...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Six things you gotta have to be a shopper...and two more you should have

Alright, there are some things that mystery shoppers just need to be successful. I'll let you know what you need and why you need it. If you don't have these things you might want to aquire them before you start mystery shopping. Here we go in no specific order...

1. Computer with Internet Access

This seems like an obvious thing right? Well, I would definitely recommend that mystery shoppers have their own computer with internet access to do mystery shopping. I mean, you wouldn't want to have to go to the public library to do your mystery shops. Mystery shoppers have to input reports within a specific period of time. I recommend having high speed internet access in case you have to send in scanned copies of receipts, business cards, or other work related paperwork. Which brings us to our next necessity...

2. Scanner

Now there are some mystery shops that you can do without a scanner but...actually I can't think of any that I've done without a scanner. If you are thinking about becoming a mystery shopper you need one of these. The faster the better in my book too. I have an ole dinosaur scanner but I'm stuck with it until it dies. It gets the job done though.

3. Printer

Now this is another important thing for mystery shoppers. You have to make copies of paperwork constantly. And, in the beginning it is important that you print out your specific instructions to make sure you don't miss any part of your shop. Once you've been shopping for a little while you can print less and less of your paperwork. Can't do without this one. You might want to go ahead and get one of those printer/scanner/copier in one deals.

4. Reliable Transportation

If you have reliable transportation you can make good money mystery shopping. This only makes sense because you can travel further if you want and take more jobs.

5. Timing Device

Now I'm not really a watch wearer but to be a mystery shopper you definitely need a time keeping device. Many shops ask for time down to the minute and second. It would be a good idea to get an inexpensive stopwatch or maybe a digital watch that can keep track of minutes and seconds.

6. Good Organizational Skills

For this gig it definitely pays to be organized. You could get a PDA if you're not one of the few people privileged enough to be super organized and on top of everything. You'll want to get something to help keep you organized. You'll want something to help you keep track of your scheduled shops so you do them when you are supposed to. Also a good idea to get something to help you keep up with what you are supposed to be paid. You should always look out for yourself when it comes to keeping your pay straight. Don't get upset if it takes a little while longer than you think it should to get your first paycheck. That's pretty much just how it is. I just jot my info down the old fashioned way with a piece of paper. Whatever works for you.

Nonessential but nice to have

1. Digital Camera

You will want to invest in a digital camera for your mystery shops if you are serious about it. Some companies want pictures uploaded to go along with the report. Read about one of the companies I shop for that requires pictures here. Some companies will allow pictures to be taken with a camera phone but some specify that camera phones should not be used. These are really not that expensive anymore and once you get one you'll find lots of use for it.

2. GPS System

This is another one of those things that you can do without but it would be nice to have. You can set up your shops and have your GPS system tell you how to get to them. This would be of benefit when you go out of town on vacation and want to pick up a few extra shops. Of course you could just do good ole mapquest. Just a thought.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Casual Dining Shops

Well I just had to share this little jewel of a company for mystery shops. I have done a mystery shop for a company that has a variety of different shops available: telephone shops, free oil change shops, fine dining shops, video shops, apartment shops, restaurant shops, and probably others that I don't know about. I did a shop for a casual dining restaurant. It is one that is very well known, let me tell you.

Now this one didn't offer a fee but to me that's okay sometimes. For me it is okay not to be paid a fee when my shop is reimbursable up to $50. Yes, fifty dollars! That means you can take a friend/spouse with you and treat them to dinner and get fully reimbursed. Got your attention?

For this particular shop I went in looking for the usual things like service and cleanliness. I started off with drinks. Then, I had the choice of choosing an appetizer to share and soup or salad. Then of course there were two entrees. Finally we got to cap it all off with dessert. This was one sweet shop. The report wasn't even that long. There was so much food my husband and I had to bring home the leftovers and we are serious eaters.

The company that offers these shops also offers two to three hundred dollar banking shops. I've not done one of those. I haven't qualified because those shops are more concentrated in cities and I live in a pretty rural area. Those shops aren't limited to large cities but definitely a larger city than where I live.

Click here to visit the website of the company that offers this variety of shops.

Monday, July 14, 2008

High paying apartment shops

Mystery shopping apartments... How does that work? If you ever wanted to be an actor of some sort, this is a great gig for you. You pretend that you want to move in to an apartment and take note of how the employee treats you. You are, of course, looking for specific things depending on what the company wants. My husband does these all the time. The pay averages between 30-40 dollars each.

The basic apartment shop consists of calling the apartment complex either trying to shop a specific person, or whomever answers the phone. The latter of the two is the easiest to do. You basically set up an appointment to meet with the person that you talked to so that he or she can show you an apartment. You have to make sure that you are at the shop when you say you will be!

They take you into their office and talk with you about the apartment. There are some questions you are required to ask. There are some things that the employee is supposed to tell you or do so you have to be observant. Notice things like if the employee opens all the doors for you. Does the employee tell you that there is no specific type (old, young, etc.) of person that lives in the apartment complex because anyone is eligible to live there? Those are some of the questions that companies want answered. Companies also want to know if you would consider renting an apartment if you were a potential customer. Of course, just like any other mystery shopping assignment you have to make sure you read the shop guidelines before you go on the shop.

Another option to make more money on these types of shops are video and audio shops. For the video shops you wear a little video button camera that the company will provide you. For the audio shops, you will receive a small recording device. The only thing about these types of shops are that you have to be able to do the shops within one or two days of receiveing the recording devices and you have to send them back in right away.

The potential to make good money with this type of shop is great. Imagine doing 3-4 of these shops in a day. My husband has done it so it's definitely possible. You might not even have to travel very far to do these shops if you live in a decent sized city. You would have to make sure that you don't end up doing the same apartment complex more than once within a certain amount of time (eighteen months, but the time may vary depending on the company). If you live in a large city, there are endless opportunities to shop apartments.

When you do your reports, you will have to write some narrative. You'll have to type up some of the things that were said. If you type regularly, it won't be difficult at all. If you are a hunt and peck typer, it'll take a little longer.

This company is good to work for. You can definitely implement this company into your mystery shopping company list and you'll stay pretty busy. Before you know it you'll be getting steady checks. There is nothing nicer than a big fat mystery shopping check in your mailbox!

It seems to me that jobs here are a little slow right now during the summer. I think there are probably other teachers and students who are out of school right now doing this for a little spare cash. You might not be able to get 3 or 4 in a day right now, but if you do even one combined with other shops it's a great payday. Click here to go to the site.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Super easy & Super quick-great pay

Okay, so this is one of my favorite shops to do. It's quick and easy and of course when you consider that it only takes about 15 minutes from beginning to end the pay is great. The shops are tobacco compliance shops. That means you pretend to be a customer who wants to buy cigarettes or some other tobacco products. You ask for the product and see if the cashier requests your driver's license, as is required to purchase tobacco products.

I did two of these last week. Not counting the travel time, it took me about 30 minutes to do both of these shops. When I actually got to the station, I had to pretend to purchase the product and see if the cashier asked for the driver's license. I revealed that I was a mystery shopper and asked for the cashiers name. Then, I had to check and see if the bathroom was clean. Next I checked to see if the windshield wiper stations had enough fluid in them. Finally, I had to take pictures of the coolers. Right before I leave I gave the cashier the pass or fail certificate.

The actual report that you have to do only takes about 5 minutes. There are very few questions. The part that takes the longest on the report for me is uploading the pictures because my desktop computer is super slow. I made $25 for those shops. That's like $50 an hour if you think about it! Now, it's usually $10/shop for this company but one of these shops must have had bonus money. Still, $40/hour is alright by me!

I've probably done ten of these shops before. I had an interesting experience on my last shop. The cashier failed and he came out of the little booth and begged me not to turn him in. He said he had a really good day up until that point and he was the manager. I told him that I was only doing my job and I would have to give him the failure certificate. He said that he thought I was someone else that had already purchased a pack of cigarettes from him just a few minutes ago and he thought I was just coming back for more. He assured me that he did card that woman. Actually, there was a male in front of me who bought tobacco products without getting carded too. I always try to listen discreetly and see if the cashiers card other customers or not, if possible.

I almost felt bad, but I realized that if he didn't card me, he may sell cigarettes to someone who is too young to legally buy them. I figured that he must have been in trouble before because of not asking for the driver's license since he got as upset as he was. Anyway, don't feel bad if a cashier doesn't pass. That's not your fault. I don't know what happens if they don't pass but on the certificate it makes it seem as if it's just a warning. Click here for the company to sign up with.


*You'll need a digital camera and you'll have to be able to send those pictures in. I usually just do two or three.

*Do the shops during the day. I wouldn't advise doing any kind of convenience store shops after dark. But then again, I'm just super careful.

*Bring a notepad to jot down a description of the cashier before you leave. Also write down the time and the name of the cashier.

*Line up several shops in one day if possible. These are quick and easy.

*If your are going out of town, line up a few of these shops to help make your trip profitable!

My shopper rating for this company 4 out of 5
My shop rating for these shops 5 out of 5

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

What is Mystery Shopping?

Well, I realize that many people have not heard of mystery shopping and I thought I should give a little more insight into what this actually is. Mystery shopping, or secret shopping, is when an individual is paid either a fee, or is reimbursed to try a good or service for a company while remaining anonymous. Some mystery shops require that individuals remain anonymous the entire time. Other shops require the mystery shopper to do a reveal at the end. Either way, the mystery shopper is providing a service for a company.

In order to start off mystery shopping, an individual will have to find a company that has listings in his/her area. While it sounds easy enough, often there are individuals who want to charge for this information. I've never purchased any kind of list to find out, I've just done research. I'd advise anyone to avoid mystery shopping lists. From what I've heard, a lot of them have useless information and there are scams out there too.

Be careful for mystery shopping scams. One scam I've read about is when a shopper is sent a bad check and is asked to deposit it into his or her account. The next step is to wire a portion of the check through a wire transfer. Basically, in the end the shopper is tricked out of his or her hard-earned money.

My blog will focus on mystery shops that I've done AND received payment for. I'll also give links to the websites so readers can sign up. I'll list the companies that have the quick and easy shops as well as the more in-depth higher paying shops. You'll be surprised. From my experience, you can make up to $40 dollars an hour if you do a few short quick shops. Sign up to receive updates when I write a new post and feel free to ask questions or post comments about your experiences.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Starting out...

I can remember it like it was yesterday...oh was only about a month and a half ago. I somehow came across a website that mentioned mystery shopping. This, of course, was not the first time. I had looked many times for information about mystery shopping that was legit and did not require a charge to learn about. If you've done any searching for that yourself, you know that mystery shopping seems to be something that people try to get you to spend money to learn about. Still somehow, I managed to stumble upon a mystery shopping site. Little did I know, it was about to change my whole outlook on fast food.

My first assignment was for a fast food restaurant. I can't tell you which one because it is a mystery shopper thing not to eat and tell (except for in your report, which you get paid for). It was not one that I particularly liked but I was so giddy at the prospect of getting paid to eat fast food. I mean, in the town that I live in, there are not very many choices for fast food. So, I do eat at this restaurant once I get tired of the other places. Anyway, that was all that was available. I signed up for it immediately. This was all kind of a leap of faith for me. I had never done the mystery shopping thing before so I was just trusting that I would get paid for my efforts.

The mystery shopping experience involves a fee and often reimbursement too. The fee is what you get paid to do the shop. If you get a reimbursement too that means that on top of your fee, you will get reimbursed up to a certain amount for your charges. So, although you have to pay the money up front you get it back.

So when I got my first assignment and read the paperwork about 3 times to make sure I had it right. I had to go to the restaurant and order a hamburger, fries, and a drink. I had to see how the employees treated me. From the very beginning I had to be prepared. When you are mystery shopping, you have to be able to keep up with all of the details. Some of the questions that I was looking for answers to were: Who takes your order? Who brings your order to you? What do they look like and what was their name? How does the food look? How does the food taste? Did they check back later to see if you needed anything else? All the while you are trying to file this away in your brain because you can't very well just get out your paperwork and write it all down. This is while you are keeping track of the timing too. When I was leaving I had to comment on the appearance of the restaurant, inside and out. The first shop was a little overwhelming but I did the first part of it with no problem. When I got home I typed up my report and scanned in my paperwork. I got paid for all the work I did with this company this month. Woo hoo!

My rating for this shop: 3.5 out of 5
The shop was not my best! I was just learning so I was slightly mechanical.
Rating for this company: 4.5 out of 5. This company is awesome to work for. Click here to visit their website and sign up.

Click on apply here. When you get to the next screen click on sign up now under the blue portal. The company is market force. They have a variety of mystery shops available including fast food, phone, ice cream, audit/digital, retail, etcetera. They pay either by check or by direct deposit. I recommend direct deposit because this goes directly into your checking account and it is a lot faster than waiting for a check in the mail.


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