One of the many benefits of mystery shopping is the flexibility. As a mystery shopper, you are able to choose your own assignments and determine when, where, and how much you work. In addition, you also have the added benefit of taking your kids on assignments with you. While some assignments specifically state that you cannot bring kids with you, most assignments are open with regards to bringing kids along. This feature is a godsend for many people who need to work but don’t have alternate childcare options. The question for many assignments is not can you bring your kids, but should you?
An Independent Decision. Everyone who has a child knows how incredibly different each and every child is, even within the same family. And luckily, nobody knows your kids better than you do. Consider your child’s personality traits, behavior, and demeanor. If you have a difficult time taking your child grocery shopping with you, it’s probably not a good idea to take the child with you mystery shopping. Keep in mind that mystery shopping requires a lot of concentration and attention to detail on your part. If your child will be a constant distraction throughout your site visit, it’s probably best to do your site visits without your child.
For those mystery shoppers with multiple children, consider each child uniquely. One child may be OK to bring along on an assignment, while another may not. In this case, consider scheduling assignments at a time when someone else can care for that child, such as a spouse, friend, or neighbor.
The Pros. Bringing your child along on a site visit has its pros and cons. Even if you can manage to find child care for your child during your site visit, there are some great pros of bringing your child along with you (assuming he or she won’t be too much of a distraction for you). Essentially you are taking your child to work with you when you bring them on a site visit, and they will benefit tremendously from seeing you hard at work. A mystery shopping site visit is also an excellent opportunity for older children to learn about customer service, objectivity, and other aspects of mystery shopping that are critical to the job.
The Cons. Just as there are benefits of bringing your child mystery shopping with you, there are also some negative aspects you should consider. A child of any age, from a newborn to a teenager, can distract you. With wants and needs, disciplining, and more, children can really distract your attention away from the task at hand. Having your attention constantly diverted, whether for disciplinary reasons or simply because your child is being conversational, can slow your site visit down in a big way. What should take about 30 minutes if you fly solo on the assignment could end up taking twice that amount of time with a child in tow.
Whether your child is four or fourteen, any child that knows how to talk and knows what you are doing in the store can give you away and reveal you as a mystery shopper. Consider a child asking quietly if you are done mystery shopping so you can grab a bite to eat. This or any other number of other similar scenarios could be overheard by the ears of attentive employee. If your child knows that you are doing at the store, make absolutely certain they can be trusted not to discuss it even in a whisper while you are in the store.
Every child is different, and every assignment is unique as well. Consider each child and each assignment on an individual basis, weighing the pros and cons in each case.