One of the things I love about mystery shopping is that many shops include a purchase allowance or reimbursement. That allows me to get something I would normally pay for in return for doing the shop.
Restaurants are special favorites of mine. My husband and I love to go out to eat, so getting our dinners paid for is nice compensation for the secret shop.
Several years ago, I did a lot of grocery shops where I received a generous reimbursement when buying groceries. I used them to buy my usual groceries and to stock up on non- perishables such as soap and paper products, things I had to buy anyway.
Many mystery shoppers look at these perks and benefits of mystery shopping as getting things ‘free.’ They are not truly free because you earn them with the time you put in doing the shop and report, but they can be good compensation.
The danger is that feeling that you are getting something for nothing can lead you to overspend on mystery shops. When doing a fine dining shop, you may have an allowance of $150 or more. So if you end up going over that amount you may look at it as getting a $180 meal for $30. However, there are some reasons not to overspend on mystery shops.
The first reason is that if you are like most mystery shoppers you are doing this to make money. If you spend more than you earn on every shop you are not making money. Yes, it is nice to get a big discount on things you buy, but even better not to pay anything out of pocket. Keeping your spending in line means that you are not paying to do the mystery shop.
Another reason to avoid going over the reimbursement limit is that being a big spender may take you out of normal customer spending patterns. Many companies will warn against doing things such as ordering the most expensive item on the menu. You do not want to stand out or be memorable, so keep your purchases normal and reasonable.
Mystery shopping is not something for nothing, but it is a great way to get things you want or need in return for your time and effort.