The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism
South Carolina paralegal Anita Robertson has a part-time gig as a mystery shopper. She earned about $1,000.00 extra dollars last year, visiting stores and restaurants to evaluate their service – and got some free meals. But she earns those meals, recording the length of time she waits to be served and evaluating the cleanliness of the restrooms.
“I have to check the bathrooms to make sure they’re fully stocked, they smell clean and that everything’s in working order,” Robertson said.
Okay, so maybe Ms. Robertson’s meals aren’t free. (I have enough trouble keeping the bathrooms at home fully stocked…)
Think becoming a mystery shopper might be a great way to combine a paralegal’s penchant for observing minute details and taking good notes to earn a few extra bucks and some free food?
Market Force, based in Boulder, Colorado, offers the following tips on avoiding mystery shopper scams:
- Never pay to be a shopper. Mystery shopping companies will not charge you to complete an application.
- Only out-of-pocket cash outlays are small purchases associated with the shop (e.g. buying a burger) which are reimbursed.
- Although some shopper fees can be higher (e.g. banking shops, higher-end dining, etc.), the typical shopper fee is $10-20 per shop…be cautious of larger amounts.
- Be wary of unsolicited requests to become a mystery shopper sent through the mail or via e-mail.
- Avoid companies that require shoppers to be certified — generally involves a fee which is bad.
- Avoid the promise of keeping expensive merchandise.
- Avoid the guarantee of getting jobs — although there are lots of projects, there are no guarantees.
- Be wary of the promise it will only take a few minutes.