Should Mystery Shoppers Be Insulted By Low Paying Assignments?

Absolutely! We as mystery shoppers are professionals, and need our hard work and our valuable time compensated in a just manner. There is nothing to feel but insulted and angry when assignments are posted on the job boards for $3 and $5 assignments. These assignments, even if completed within a thirty minute time frame, hardly make it worth our while. Let’s face it, we could make more money flipping burgers at a fast food restaurant or working at another job that requires unskilled labor than we’d make completing assignments such as this. And the fact is, mystery shoppers are skilled and valuable working professionals.

So then why is it that these incredibly low paying assignments are being snatched up by mystery shoppers rather than sitting on the job boards for days and days with no takers?

The Economy. The fact of the matter is that the economy is still in a rough state right now. If your household hasn’t felt the crunch of the economic downturn in the past two years, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. While in an ideal world, mystery shoppers would unite together and turn up their noses at offensive job offers that pay peanuts for a job well-done, the bottom line is that many mystery shoppers are struggling to make ends meet. Assignments are getting scarcer in many areas as retailers tighten their belts, and many mystery shoppers are forced to take what they can get because they just flat out need the money. For many mystery shoppers, it is better to to spend their time making a few bucks than to not make anything at all if no other jobs are available on that day and time.

Making These Assignments Work. There are certain situations when these low paying assignments will cost you money to complete. With the travel expense and required purchase necessary to complete the assignment, it won’t be hard to end up in the hole on a $3 or $5 assignment. However, keep in mind that you can write off your travel expenses, and that many assignments will provide an expense reimbursement up to a certain dollar amount. With a large enough expense reimbursement, you may be able to get a good chunk of change back on an expense your family really needs, such as fuel for your car. Plus, if you can pick up that low paying assignment in an area where you normally visit, such as en route to or from your normal job, you won’t really be wasting any travel time or expense by making a little side visit on the way home from work one day.

Ask For More. If you have weighed the pros and cons for doing the assignment, and it still isn’t making financial sense, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask the provider for a little more cash to do it. While your first inclination may be to be indignant and relay how insulted you are for the low pay, it may be better to explain the situation in a more roundabout way, relaying  your travel time, personal expenses involved, and so on. Then lead into the amount of money you would need to earn on the assignment to make it profitable for you to complete.

The bottom line is that every mystery shopper would really like to work for more money than these low paying assignments provide. But there are times and circumstances where it makes sense for individuals to consider these assignments. As long as mystery shoppers are working on low paying assignments, mystery shopping companies will likely continue to post them on the job boards.