Some mystery shoppers are working in this field as a means to stay busy in retirement or to get out of the house and do something productive when there is nothing better to do. For most mystery shoppers, however, this is source of income that the mystery shopper is dependent on, and so some mystery shoppers really need to pull out all of the stops when it comes to earn a paycheck to support themselves and their families. However, this begs the question – how far will you go for a mystery shopping paycheck?
Going the Distance? When asked this question, you may at first think about driving a physical distance to work on an assignment. Clearly distance can play a large role in your profits as a mystery shopper. After all, there is the time involved in traveling to a far away location as well as the wear and tear and gas expense of traveling far away, too. Most mystery shoppers have a certain distance they are willing to travel for most assignments, such as ten or fifteen miles from work. However, some will travel farther if the price is right, if work is slow in their local area, or if they can pick up additional assignments in that same location to sweeten the deal.
A Question of Ethics. Of course, when asked how far you will go for a mystery shopping paycheck, the question of ethics often comes to mind, too. Mystery shoppers seem to be in a constant battle of ethical decision making. There are questions about whether a mystery shopper should report everything that happens during a site visit, even if that means an employee may get fired. There are questions about whether you should alter your report at the request of a provider even when those adjustments would make the report false and incorrect. These are just some of the many ethical considerations that mystery shoppers are faced with, and each mystery shopper will have to draw his or her own lines.
Money Talks? For some mystery shopper, this job is purely a way to make some money, and so how far you are willing to go boils down to money. If the price is right, they will make adjustments to their reports, for example. For others, however, there are indeed lines that they will not cross, and these lines are often blurred by gray areas that spur the need for judgment calls. For instance, if you overheard an employee talking on the phone about having a baby who was in the hospital the night before, would you buffer your negative comments in the report? For most mystery shoppers, empathy does factor into the equation quite a bit.
If you work in the mystery shopping industry long enough, you inevitably will be faced with quite a few questions that ask you to question yourself. How far will you go for a mystery shopping paycheck? Will you drive a hundred miles? Will your determination to be ethical result in someone else getting fired and losing their livelihood? The world of mystery shopping isn’t always black and white!