Mystery Shopping Revealed: It’s Passive Income

If shopping is fun and mysteries are fun, well, what could be better than smushing the two ideas into one fantastic job. Hearing about jobs like this makes me wonder what I am doing with my life; I could get paid to shop, and instead I work to earn money to pay bills. It’s been ages since I took my money out and showed it a good time. There seems to be some grand mistake or glaring flaw in the design.

Glorious things parade through my head with that cheesy background choir music you hear on sitcoms. Here it goes (cue ethereal voices singing nothing but vowels): purses, shoes, an electric mixer, tailored winter coats, couches, real silverware from this century, and a fantastic new dishwasher that doesn’t register on the Richter Scale every time it runs.

(Music fades and the bright lights vanish). Yes, my shopping list of dreams runs like a screenplay in my head, don’t judge. The life of a mystery shopper seems ideal, indeed as I list the things I would go out and buy, so ladies, let’s find out where to sign on the dotted line for some very passive income.

Mysterious List of Agreements

Now, doing my due diligence, I have taken one for the team (if you’re reading this, hurrah, you’re on that team, and you’re welcome) and decided to give it a go and sign up so I could report with accuracy to all of you. First, there is the somewhat shoddy grammar of the site, I moved past it and looked deeper. The next step after deciding to sign up is the “Shopper Agreement.” Sure, you could click the box and sign up without reading it, but here’s the Cliff’s Notes on the agreement for anyone interested.

  • By clicking, you basically agree to not embarrass the company by acting “disorderly” in any way.
  • You are a contracted worker, not an employee of the company, and you promise to pay your taxes later.
  • If you get hurt while shopping, you agree not to sue them. Basically, don’t let a TV fall on your or something. Pretty standard shopping advice, if you ask me.
  • You are, officially, released to be yourself when you’re not on the clock, and they aren’t to be held responsible for keeping you regularly employed. This isn’t a certain guaranteed amount of work per week, so don’t depend on it that way.
  • They’re not gonna pay you until you finish all of your work for any given assignment.
  • You agree to keep the research you do between yourself and the company paying you and you promise that you’re not working for someone else. No double-agents.
  • You’ll be supplied with things to help you complete assignments, ie, parking passes or security access, and you have to return those items before you can get paid.
  • Finally, you promise to do your own work. Come on, it’s shopping for money, and someone would ask a friend to do that for them?! Seriously, now, I can agree to that.

That’s it, folks. Don’t break the rules they give you, and it sounds like this is a win-win. Be sure you do go ahead and read any agreement anyway. There are a decent number of scams out there with “mystery shopping” as the guise, so don’t agree to anything you haven’t read. If it gets too cumbersome with jargon, check it against my breakdown here, this is the rundown of acceptable agreements for a mystery shopper.

Where’s the Catch?

So, just to clarify things, yes, we’re talking about a job where you go out and buy things and get paid for it. You’re really getting paid to share information about your experience as a shopper. It’s not a gimmick, though the abundance of scammy companies out there pretending to hire mystery shoppers mean you’ll wanna watch your steps. Don’t give out your credit card information to become a mystery shopper. That’d be a huge no-no. Think about it, there’s no reason an employer has asked you for your credit card number. Don’t give any information you wouldn’t normally relinquish to an employer. That should keep you away from someone looking to take advantage of you.

Also, don’t get caught up by a company that solicits to you. When was the last time an online ad offered you a real job anywhere? This is no different. If it seems gimmicky, it probably is. There are legitimate mystery shopping jobs out there, but like most jobs, you’re gonna have to find them, they’re not gonna look for you. Also, they’re going to want more from you than proof that you live and breathe and have a bank account. They’re looking for a person to do a job. They should be interested in qualifications and such, and a bank account has never been a qualification for any job.

Aside from scamming sleazeballs, there isn’t really a catch, but keep in mind, while this is considered a form of passive income, this is a real job so there will be actual work involved. You are being paid for your opinion. Think of yourself as someone who paves the way for others in the jungle of shopping. If you’ve ever had an incredible experience shopping, a mystery shopper or two probably helped the company streamline it all for you ahead of time. If shopping is one of your addictions, this just might be the kind of passive income maker you’ve been waiting for.

Check out some of the mystery shopping sites online and tell us which ones you’ve tried, which ones are legit and which ones are scams.

3 Responses to Mystery Shopping Revealed: It’s Passive Income

  1. I like the fact that you point out this is a real job and that you have to provide feedback the company can use. Any suggestions on reputable companies that employ mystery shoppers?

  2. eemusings says:

    I have mystery shopped for about six years – but it’s getting harder to get anything out of it. I’ve noticed payments decreasing and the freebies getting more scarce.

  3. @eemusings I think the way to make mystery shopping more worth while is by being signed up with multiple companies and mystery shopping job boards so you can complete multiple shops per day. This makes the expenses spread over more than one shop.

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