The Good and Bad of Mystery Shopping

I did some mystery shops over the weekend that highlight some of the good things and bad things about mystery shopping. There were a couple of bad things about this mystery shop. First, I had a receipt rejected because it didn’t include the address of the convenience store. I can’t control whether a store puts their address on the receipt or not. Luckily, I had another receipt with the address printed and I was able to scan the address on to the other receipt.

The other problem was that a report checker invalidated one of my reports because she said I didn’t purchase gas. This wasn’t correct and I had submitted a receipt for the gas so I don’t know why the checker said I hadn’t. I resubmitted the receipt and the checker asked me to send it yet again because the edge of the receipt didn’t scan. This was a little ridiculous since everything on the receipt was still readable and the important information was intact. Since I wanted to get paid though I had to send the scan in yet again. I have heard that you will occasionally run into checkers that are a PITA and I guess this was my first experience with one.

There are some good things about mystery shopping. It is nice to get to get paid to buy gas although there is quite a bit of work besides just buying the gas. It is also nice that most of my mystery shopping income will be tax-free. Since I can legally write off my mileage at $0.50 per mile most of my income is eliminated. For example, one of the fast food shops I did this month was 16 miles round trip from my home giving me an expense of $8. Since my pay was only $7.50 I technically didn’t make any money doing this shop. This would be bad if I thought my true expenses were anywhere close to $0.50 but since I estimate my true expenses to be less than half that these shops are worthwhile.