Saturday, October 1, 2011


If you read my recent post entitled "Slowly Getting Settled" you will hopefully remember that I was excited about a Mystery Shopping assignment that I had received for Friday the 30th of September.

Where do I start?  I mean, I have done assignments before, but this one was redonkulous!  And because it is important that I make sure that you understand the true meaning of the word, I will enlighten you with the definition taken directly from

re.donk'u.lous adj.

1. significantly more absurd than
ridiculous to an almost impossible extreme; without possibility of serious consideration.

2. fitted to excite absolute ridicule; intentionally crazy and silly; completely absurd and laughable.

"redonkulous" - as first popularized by the fictional character Seth Cohen on FOX's The O.C.
George W. Bush is the most redonkulous person in the world.

The first Bush administration was ridiculous. This second one is just redonkulous.

Get it?  I know, a lot of you already knew it but I know there are some of you out there that were a little lost for a minute.  Anyway, here is some of the email that was sent to me describing the job at hand.

You will be evaluating several different departments throughout a large retail store.  You will be evaluating customer service standards, overall appearance of the store, ability to easily locate items by their tags, food service, and you will be asked to purchase and return an item.  A small purchase from the restaurant and snack bar areas of the store are also required.  You will be returning the same item you purchase from the store.  The price could be any amount, the average being $75 to $300 (or higher).  It is suggested you use a credit card for the purchase as you will be immediately returning the item the same day and it can simply be credited back to your account.  Cash payment is also acceptable.  If you do not have the funds to make the purchase, even though you are immediately returning it, please do not apply.  A purchase IS required for this shop.  There is a flat fee for this shop. The shop requires that you spend approximately 2 to 3 hours in the store.

2 to 3 hours, MY ASS!!!

After I agreed to the job, I received a confirmation e-mail telling me what store I would be evaluating and an attachment which would outline the finer details of the job.  I was thrilled that they had chosen me, after all, I had only ever completed restaurant jobs in the past.  I was going to be paid $60 for this job.  I then opened the attachment and began to read through it, I felt a sinking feeling!  The attachment included 10, YES 10, typewritten pages of detailed instructions.  The first section of the "Shopper Guidelines" went like this.......

We have refined our guidelines to make things easier! I thought to myself, "this sounds promising."  Besides the standard instructions, we have created a "cheat sheet" for DISCREET use in the store.  "Oh yay, a cheat sheet, that will make things much easier!  You MUST bring the cheat sheet with you BUT read/use the guidelines at home.

So there I sat , reading through the guidelines amazed at the details they were requiring and trying to figure out exactly how I was going to accomplish all of this in 2-3 hours.  At this point I had already spent half an hour reading and re-reading the instructions to make sure that I understood them correctly......after all, I was not allowed to bring them into the store with me.  After becoming mentally exhausted by the job thus far, I decided I would take a look at the cheat sheet which they had promised would make things easier.

Hourly rate thus far: $120 per hour

At this point, I KNEW that I had signed a deal with the devil.  The cheat sheet was 18, YES 18, typewritten pages with small areas to fill in names, physical descriptions, arrival times, wait times, blahbety, blah, blah, blah and lots of areas to write specific notes in which I was to embellish upon, later in my formal report.

I am a woman of my word and anyone who knows me will tell you that I am NOT a quitter.  If I say I am going to do something, then I DO IT!  There I sat for another hour re-reading the guidelines and writing notes on my cheat sheet to make sure that I was prepared to do an outstanding job, because that is how I roll!

Declining hourly rate: $40 per hour

Well, I am not going to bore you with the details of the shop because, who gives a crap!  But what I will tell you is that I arrived at 11:24am.  At one point, I disappeared to the bathroom to review my notes and assess my progress.  How does one do this discreetly, you ask?  You sit there on the toilet with your pants around your ankles (sitting on a public toilet without a lid with my pants pulled up just didn't seem right, call me crazy.....what would you do?) and your notes on your lap and recollect yourself.  When I was finished, I realized that I was only about a third of the way complete with the cheat sheet.  I was so frustrated and ready to throw in the towel, so to speak, but people were counting on me.  I continued on........

Quickly diminishing hourly rate: $17 per hour

By the time I was finished, I had evaluated a total of 16 employees and inspected every department including restrooms and baby care rooms.  I left the store at 4:15pm, tired and dreading the job I had ahead of me.......the formal report.

Crappy hourly rate: $10 per hour

When I arrived home, I told Michael that we would be having frozen pizza for dinner and we would not be having salad or vegetables with it.  I then informed him that he was cooking it and to let me know when it was ready.  I sat at my computer with dread and began my formal report.  I took a quick break for dinner and 4, YES 4 hours later I was finished.

Less than minimum wage hourly rate: $6 per hour

There you have it folks.  What I had anticipated would be an escape for a few hours while making $60 turned into a long day of work which required the literary intelligence and attention to detail of someone worth MUCH more than minimum wage!  Next time, I will not sign a deal with the devil!

Consider this, LESSON LEARNED!



Dwija {House Unseen} said...

Holy cow. That is sucktastic! I'm gooing to scratch mystery shopping off my list of buck makin' jobs for sure. Ugh!

Diana Burfield (BettyShmetty) said...

Oh my gosh...that really sounds awful! I have had similar experiences trying to make a little money on "little" projects. Those are the ones that always end up COSTING me money :(

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