Anyone who drives should have a roadside emergency kit in the car. Things such as jumper cables, a flashlight, reflectors, duct tape and other supplies can be not only handy but lifesavers if your car breaks down.
As a mystery shopper, you should also have a shopper emergency kit. These are the supplies you may need when you are out on the road doing shops.
The specifics of what will go into your emergency kit are up to you and will depend on the types of shops you do and how you work. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Batteries for your camera, digital recorder, etc. (Change the spare batteries in your kit out from time to time. They can lose power over time.)
- Memory cards. Have you ever gone to take photos and discovered that your memory card was back at home, still in the card reader? Extra cards are inexpensive and having a spare can save time and aggravation.
- “Disguises.” Simple changes can help you stay incognito. Glasses, something to pull your hair back, hats, a sweater or jacket and other accessories can modify your appearance just enough that you are not recognized as the person who was there a couple of weeks ago.
- Paper and pencils. Having a notebook or two on hand is always a good idea. And pencils do not run out of ink or leak all over your pocket or purse.
- Other office supplies. Envelopes (for receipts and other paperwork), a stapler, paper clips, and anything else you may need.
- Stopwatch. I have had watch batteries die suddenly on more than one occasion (but fortunately not on secret shops). Having a spare watch or stopwatch on hand can be a lifesaver.
- Car charger and/or AC power inverter. Buying a car charger for your cell phone is a must. You might also consider an adapter that you can use to convert power from the car to AC power you can use just like a wall socket at home. In a pinch, you can plug in your laptop or other equipment.
- Contact information for mystery shopping companies. If something goes wrong on a shop, you should let your scheduler know immediately. You can store phone numbers (or email addresses) in your cell phone or laptop, but it is also a good idea to carry a printed list.
- Change of clothes. You do not want to have to go back home to change clothes if a zipper breaks or you spill something on yourself. Keep a spare outfit in the car.
- Change. You may need quarters or other change for parking meters, tolls or other small expenses.
You may not need all of the things on this list, and there may be things you carry that are not on this list.
What is in your secret shopper emergency kit?