The Pros and Cons of Purchase And Return Assignments

Mystery shoppers often feel strongly about the assignments they choose to do – or not do. There are usually very specific reasons a mystery shopper chooses certain assignments over others. One of the assignment types that many mystery mystery shoppers feel passionately about, either for or against, are purchase and return assignments. These assignments require you to make a purchase on a first visit and return to the store at a later time to return that item. Here are the top reasons why mystery shoppers like or dislike these assignments.

Two For One. Many mystery shoppers feel as though they are getting gypped when they take on this type of assignment. The assignment requires two site visits, two separate interactions with store staff, and oftentimes extra questions on the report to cover events during both visits to the store. It can feel like twice the work, and if compensation doesn’t justify the extra work, mystery shoppers may be justified in feeling gypped.

On the flip side, some assignments take into account the extra work involved in working this type of assignment and compensate you accordingly. If you are in the habit of passing over all purchase and return assignments, you may be missing out on some fairly lucrative assignments.

Extra Travel. Mystery shoppers recognize that their travel time and expense are not usually compensated, so smart mystery shoppers try to limit the travel involved in their assignments. If a purchase and return assignment is offered at a site that is located along a route you travel regularly or if it is close to your day job, doing this type of assignment can actually become a travel bonus for you! If you are traveling to or by a certain location anyway, it just makes sense to pick up an assignment en route so you can write off the mileage as a business-related expense. So when you are analyzing possible purchase and return assignments, take a moment to reflect on the location of the assignment.

The Perk of “Free” Purchases. One of the perks of being a mystery shopper is getting reimbursed for required purchases. On a purchase and return assignment, you are required to return the item and are not permitted to keep it. So this extra perk of mystery shopping is eliminated. For many mystery shoppers, the freebies that you can get from an assignment often are the deciding factor in working a specific assignment or not.

However, on the other side of the coin, many assignments require you to purchase an item of a certain dollar amount or at a store where you don’t need or want anything. Sometimes the reimbursement amount will not cover the full amount of the item you purchased. So required purchases can result in you losing money or filling your house with items you don’t need or want. Some mystery shoppers prefer these purchase and return assignments simply because the hassle of dealing with a required purchase is removed from the scenario. Instead, you are left with a very cut and dry transaction where you are paid for your services with money, making it easy to see exactly how much you are receiving for your efforts.

The bottom line is that some purchase and return assignments may simply be a raw deal for you while others may be a perfect fit. Avoid the temptation to rule these assignments out right off the bat,  and take some time to review the assignment and earn some extra cash!