When Mystery Shoppers Get Sick: How to Handle Your Assignments

Even the healthiest of people get sick from time to time and have to take some time off of work. Of course, when you work in a “normal” job, you simply have to call in and tell your boss you are taking a sick day. When you are a mystery shopper, though, your job requires you to basically sign up to do a specific assignment within a specific window of time, and so calling in to your mystery shopping provider’s office is a different situation indeed. So just what can you do with your mystery shopping assignments when you get sick?

How Sick Are You? It often makes sense to call in sick to an office environment when you are sick because this type of job generally requires you to put in a full day of work. If you have a head cold and are absolutely miserable, for example, you really don’t want to sit around in an office all day and would rather take a day to rest. If you have just one assignment to complete, oftentimes you can muddle through it and complete it on schedule. Just be sure to try to keep your germs contained so you don’t spread your sickness on to other customers and employees!

Check the Shopping Window. You may have planned on completing an assignment on Friday at 3pm, and that may be what you wrote down on your mystery shopping planner or schedule. Yet sometimes assignments offer you a larger window of time to complete the assignment, and so it may be possible to delay doing the site visit for a few hours or even a few days if necessary.

Ask For An Extension. If you are too sick to venture out and the window of time to complete the assignment is just not feasible for you to work with based on how sick you are, you can call your schedule and ask for an extension. While you generally can get away with emailing your scheduler for most things, when you have a deadline looming, this is definitely a time when you want to pick up the phone and ask for an extension or otherwise explain why you need to cancel. To be safe and ensure that you and your scheduler are on the same page, it’s a smart idea to follow up that phone call with an email so you have everything in writing, too.

A Fill-In. It’s not exactly kosher to have someone else do your assignments for you, and in fact it can get you barred from working with some providers if they find out you weren’t the one working on your assignments. Yet when all else fails, such as when you get sick over the weekend or later in the evening and cannot get your scheduler on the phone, you may feel that you have no other option but to ask a friend or family member to fill in. Hopefully, if you do take this route, you will choose someone who has shopped with you before and has some general idea what to do.

You may not get sick often, but be sure to keep these tips in mind the next time you are sick and have mystery shopping assignments due.