mystery shoppers

Are mystery shoppers real or is this some internet scam. They charge you $20 to join, but do you really ever go on any mystery shopping sprees?

Mystery shoppers are for real, but I don’t know about the integrity of any ads you see for them.

My wife worked at the Disney Store in her youth. They would routinely have a mystery shopper in the store who would then fill out a report on her shopping experience, and the staff would be praised/punished based on that report.

Well, mystery shoppers are real, but I don’t know if Mystery Shoppers[sup]TM[/sup] are real.

I’ve done mystery shopping for a couple of the local malls - essentially you’re hired by the mall/shop owners to visit their stores and rate the service you receive, the layout, cleanliness, etc.

I don’t know if the internet deal is real; however, I would be leary of any job that I had to pay to get.

Sprees? No.

I used to belong to some mystery shopping organization. I have no idea how I got on the list but we had assignments from time to time. I remember on several occasions going out to mystery shop the chinese fast food restaurant in the mall food court.


I signed up through I think a newspaper classified to be a mystery shopper, thinking it was a full-time gig. I would get emails every once in a while offering assignments to do things like mail packages from the local post office and rate the service. By the time I responded the assignments were always taken.

i’ve seen them advertise on
i wonder how much a person can make?

safeway does it…im not sure how, but i know they do because when i worked at genaurdi’s (local grocery chain, safeway bought them out), i got mystery shopped…a lot…more than my share…

how i failed a mystery shopper i’ll never know, i was overly accomodating out of paranoia because of the fear of such a thing…

basically, theyre a pain in the ass. i speak for many disgruntled store employees when i say Don’t be mean. We’re working our butts off. Learn to find the baked beans yourself - try looking in the isle that has the “Canned goods” sign…oy.

From what I’ve read, you want to keep a couple things in mind:

  1. Do not pay money to purchase a “list of retailers looking for mystery shoppers.” A legitimate company will not charge you money upfront, or at any time during your employment.

  2. While being a mystery shopper can be fun, it’s also a lot of work. Most of your time is not spent in stores and restaurants; it is spent writing boring reports. If you’re not an excellent writer, or if you don’t like writing reports, don’t consider being a mystery shopper.

My mom does mystery shopping. Pretty boring. Payment ranges from free food/service (that is, being reimbursed to buy something in the process of evaluating the place) to reimbursement AND payment for your time (although usually not much payment). Most of the jobs get you the former, which can be worth it – Mom got $175 for a new pair of glasses when she mystery-shopped a Lenscrafters, and free lunches are always nice.

The ones that ask you for money are scams. The ones that aren’t scams can be a good second job, especially if you travel a lot anyway, and can therefore cover a larger area and get more jobs.

Jack-in-the-Box hires spies on its website. has real mystery shopping jobs


I work for as a consultant, and my company has some clients whom require “mystery shoppers”, but not to rate services of their own stores but to instead go into competitors stores and note their retail prices on items.
This isn’t the type of work I normally do, and we routinely hire house wives/students, etc. to do it.
But one time, just for a kick, I did it. It was an absolute pain in the ass! This client wanted the prices for almost 100 items in a large chain appliance store. The items had to be the EXACT item and you had to check the damn SKU number and all that jazz. You wouldn’t believe how many washers/dryers and such seem identicle but are slightly different and have a different model number and so on. So you’ve got this big list of specific model numbers and you have to make sure you get the exact price and you’re looking carefully at the tags to make sure it’s the EXACT model number, and you do this for almost 100 items with out getting the attention of sales personell. If the store in question catches you doing this, they throw you out! It sucked!

Just a fun fact. On my last job I worked for a large hotel. I used to shop the other hotels. I did this by phone and by visiting.

The SEC (I think it was them) fined us for price fixing. I had never heard of it before but they condsider it a form of insider trading. Because both my hotel and the hotels I shopped were publicly owned companies. So we had to hire a company to do the shopping and that is how we got around it.

I did a mystery shop, but I didn’t have to pay to get started. That sounds suspicious.

I do mystery shops for a fairly small company that does mostly restaurants. One of their biggest clients is Papa John’s Pizza. I check the website for available shops, and if I see one I want, I apply (via internet; makes it so easy). If I’m assigned the shop, it would be typical to have to order the pizza (only the kind they tell me to), note how long delivery takes, take a digital picture of the box and of the pizza itself, then eat the pizza. Then, I hop online and fill out my report and send my photos. They reimburse me for the price of the pizza and the tip, and pay $6.00 commission. Hardly enough to live on, but, hey, we buy pizza anyway.

I work in the survey research industry, and have worked for several large research companies. None of those companies has ever charged anyone money to become a mystery shopper.

We hire mystery shoppers like we hire any other employee; we post a help-wanted ad, interview applicants and then hire them on a part-time casual basis. The work is sporadic, and we maintain a large pool of interested shoppers, because we have to vary the age, gender, race, etc. of shoppers to ensure that we’re measuring the treatment everyone gets at stores, and so that “frequent shoppers” don’t get recognized.

The wages are usually low: $6 - $8 per hour, plus usually we cover travel time to and from the store. Sometimes, especially for perishable items, the shoppers get to keep what they buy. For non-perishable items, either the shoppers return the item, or we return it to the store. In my experience, you will not be able to make a full time living as a mystery shopper.

The people who charge you to become a mystery shopper have just compiled a list of research companies that do mystery shopping; all you’re buying is that list. If you’re interested in mystery shopping, just consult your phonebook under Survey Research or Marketing Research, and call around.