Several years ago I started mystery shopping just as a side gig with a few jobs a month primarily paying for some fast food during the workweek. As time progressed I learned about more and more shops.
I began shopping for new cars, apartments, and even houses. I did banking shops, pretending to have large sums of money available for investment. Friends have asked me about shopping and what it involves. All of a sudden, someone just asked me, “So you lie to people for money?”
It was an interesting thought, but the bottom line is, yes, I do lie to people for money. I lied to the banker; I lied to the leasing associate at the apartment complex; and I lied to the car salesman, all the while I had no guilt about it. You see, I don’t consider it to be lying. Yes, I am presenting myself as something I am not – a really interested buyer or investor, but it is my job. I pretend to be on board with policies and procedures at my full-time job that I disagree with too, but it is my job. And, honestly, mystery shopping is a lot more fun, as I’m usually doing something I enjoy.
I may not buy a car today, I may not rent that apartment today, I may not make any big investments today however, I do look at each shop as something I might do in the future. Conducting mystery shops helps me shop products in advance. So, is mystery shopping lying? No, it is research for me. Is it the right fit for everyone? Of course not, but neither is the full-time job I have! If you are uncomfortable with presenting yourself as something you are not, you should stick with fast food shops and some other simple shops that do not require you to make-up or use a back story. If you see it for what it can be, you may want to give it a try.