Should You Help a Friend Out By Letting Them In On Your Mystery Shopping Secret?

Folks everywhere are feeling the effects of the recession. You may be using mystery shopping to supplement that small unemployment check you are receiving every month while you search for a new full time job. Or perhaps your neighbors or friends are struggling with finances and looking up every alley for little bit of extra work. The truth is that work is hard to come by these days, and that includes for mystery shoppers. Assignments are getting fewer and fewer as retailers are struggling to keep their doors open. You may be torn between wanting to help out a friend or family member in need by telling them about mystery shopping, and with keeping mystery shopping a secret to help ensure you still have a paycheck a few weeks or months down the road yourself. This is not a simple dilemma.

It’s Not For Everyone. If you have suggested mystery shopping to other people in the past or if you’ve read through some of the posts on the mystery shopping forums, you can probably tell that mystery shopping is not for everyone. The job requires a unique skill set, including punctuality, an eye for detail, impartiality, and decent writing skills. To be a good mystery shopping, you really need to have all of these traits or you will struggle in the job. And then you have to be willing to work for what is sometimes not a significant amount of money after you take into account required purchases and travel costs. Before you suggest mystery shopping to someone in need, think long and hard about if that person possesses these traits. It is really pointless to send them up a road they will end up being unhappy with later.

Keep Mum. If you think that person won’t be a good  match for mystery shopping, there is another reason to keep mum about mystery shopping. While that person may not be a good match for mystery shopping, they may very likely tell several other people about it. This could greatly increase your competition for jobs in your area, as income possibilities through mystery shopping spreads by word of mouth.

Don’t Struggle Unnecessarily. If you are in an area where retail has already been hit hard or if you are in a rural area that already has limited mystery shopping assignments, you may have to struggle just to find a mystery shopping assignment yourself. If your area hasn’t been hit hard yet, keep in mind that most economists are currently projecting the recession to last sometime into next year. So your area may still be in decline. Weigh your personal budgetary needs against the needs of your friend or family member, and make the decision wisely, knowing that you may very well be handing over some of your income to them as assignments become more scarce. This isn’t to say that you should not show compassion, but you should be aware of the consequences before you share your job.

As the economy remains turbulent, you may be torn between helping a friend in need and helping  yourself meet even your most basic needs. There is no right or wrong decision. Just think through your issue fully before you make a decision and understand the consequences either way.