Make going to Town pay for itself (and a bit spare to)!
The most valuable marketing tool any Company has is the human one. They can produce broadsheets with budgets, results and expected revenue etc., but all this is based on their existing product 'as is'.
Therefore many Companies now employ Mystery Shoppers who will go out 'on the field' and basically gather information on how their product is working and learning thing's which will make that product better and give them more profit.
It's as easy as that.
The good news for the Mystery Shopper is he or she can do their normal shopping and integrate this into it. Most Companies give you a selection of dates and times and you fit that in with your normal routine.
The result is that you get to go to the Shops, do your normal stuff and get paid for it.
Some companies pay well and other's not. It's trial and error process of finding what suits you.
Here's a couple of examples I've done.....
The Fast Food Restaurant
They will give you a form with loads of questions, alongside which are either tick boxes 'yes / no' etc. or scores out of 10.
There are quite a lot of questions normally;
Did the Assistant greet you?
Did they make eye contact?
Were the tables clean when you entered?
Did you see any employee's going around clearing up?
In general, what score would you give......
The heat of the Food
How long it took to get your meal
What was your overall impression of your experience.
Those are just a few out of many questions. You will also be asked for your time of arrival, till receipt no. to verify.
The results go back and these are then analysed by the Marketing Bods who take the remarks forward and so on.
For these I got the cost of the Meal plus £8 and a mileage allowance for Petrol - a pretty good deal!
The Petrol Station
Very similar questions to the above with emphasis on the general appearance, car counting for about 15 minutes and overall time it took a car to drive in, get petrol, pay for it and leave.
For this I didn't get a paid fee, I got £10 worth of Petrol free and a Petrol allowance for getting there.
I've also done PC Stores and Shoe store mystery shopping which amounted to asking Sales People given questions to find out their knowledge or, if they didn't know, how they handled it, plus buying an item for up to £10 which I could either return or have the amount taken from my pay.
The pay was £8 for the visit - full stop.
Another thing you may be asked to do (I was), is to buy a pair of shoes from a Shoe Shop, then take them back, not worn, two days later and ask for a refund to tell how much they tried to persuade you to replace rather than refund.
Interesting stuff - and I must say I quite enjoyed it.
Sometimes, this applied to the Fast Food Restaurant, you couldn't do more than two every two month's in your own Town, but they gave you a list of other towns where you could make up for this.
Good news if you are going to London for the day or visiting family somewhere!
The Ultimate - Hotel Mystery Shopping
I never got to do any of these, but I know of a few people who have.
In all cases I've heard about, you didn't get paid, but got a couple of nights in a Hotel for nothing.
Like the above examples, you'd have a long list of items which you'd check off during your stay.
I know of one PC Store who post the results of their Mystery Shoppers on the Staff Notice Boards and each Store is in Competition with each other for the best.
The Company concerned gave the best Store a prize, think it was an evening out somewhere.
So you shouldn't see it as spying, Mystery Shopping is a genuine way for Companies to find out how they can improve and after all, it's the Customer who benefits in the end!!
Maybe you've spent 20 / 30 years 'doing the norm', 9 to 5, secure, quaranteed £XXXX every month. Suddenly that's gone. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Forget conformity, have a front and go for it.