No matter what your job is – even if you don’t like it – if you try really hard, you can find a perk or two. Maybe you have a sweet pension plan, or the boss hosts an extravagant holiday party every year, or maybe Susie in accounting brings in donuts every Monday – hey, you’ve got to really work to find some blessings!
Secret shopping has a lot of benefits besides the paycheck. But just like many other jobs, you have to recognize that perks come in all shapes and sizes, so realizing all the advantages of secret shopping may take some extra insight and thought.
Try New Food and Drinks
Many food and drink shops roll out big ad campaigns when they add a new item to their menus. While shop instructions don’t always require the purchase of a featured item, you have the privilege of treating yourself to a new taste, have someone else (the shopping company) pick up the tab, and best of all, get paid for your time. Whether it’s a quick bite for lunch, a refreshing cocktail, or a sweet dessert, it all tastes better when it’s free. If you’re a savvy scheduler, you can shop three or four stores on one day and eat out for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
Get To Know Your Neighbors
People are naturally drawn to familiar surroundings. Even if you know the coffee you buy every morning isn’t the best on the block, you keep going back because they know you and you’re comfortable there. Secret shopping pushes you to expand your horizons and visit new places where you’re sure to discover a new product or two during your assignments or, at the very least, meet new locals. Whether you’re shopping a bank, gym, florist, craft store or steakhouse, someone is sure to impress you enough to mention their business to a friend or revisit them on your own time.
There’s a wonderful parable that proclaims a day where you don’t learn anything is a wasted day. It’s a lofty statement but so true; the curiosity and thirst for knowledge we enjoy as children shouldn’t dissipate with age. Secret shopping gives you the opportunity to learn simple things like how steaks are ranked by interior color to determine doneness (rare, medium rare, etc.) to complex facts about financial investments, new advancements in tire and wheel technology, or how to shop for a new home. Whether you use your new knowledge for nothing more than small talk with friends or apply it to advancing your career, learning is never a waste of time.
Exercise Your Imagination
Reading and watching movies and television are great ways to escape the doldrums of daily life. These mediums stimulate your imagination and let you daydream about alternate lifestyles and scenarios. Secret shopping provides the same paths to let your mind’s eye meander. For some bank shops, you may have to present a believable setting where you’ve received a hefty inheritance and need counseling on how to invest it. Although you live in a studio apartment, real estate shops may require pretending you’re in the market for a new 3-bedroom home. Not only do you get to legitimately fib, you’re getting paid to do it.
Improve Your Communication and Memory Skills
All secret shops require interpersonal communication skills, whether you’re required to ask specific questions or just engage in casual conversation. Many reports have large sections devoted to reporting on the physical condition of locations, so you have to carefully observe and store the information in your head until you get back to your car to discreetly jot down notes. When you finally get to completing your report, your skills in describing events in chronological order are tested, as well as your abilities to write narratives with proper grammar and correct spelling and sentence structure. Before you submit a report, paste the narratives into a word processing program such as Microsoft Word and check grammar and spelling. You may be surprised how many mistakes pop up but your scheduler will appreciate your diligence.
Perks abound in the world of secret shopping; it’s up to you to recognize them. Once you realize how much fun you’re having and how much you’re learning, every shop you complete will give you much more than monetary rewards.
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