Secret shoppers who go on assignments to children’s clothing stores or amusement parks would be wise to bring a child with them to blend in more easily. But how exactly should you go about choosing assignments that are kid-friendly?
First and foremost, be sure to check with your mystery shopping company on their policy regarding children. Some may not want you to bring along kids on any assignment, while others request that you leave the little ones at home for certain jobs.
If you’ve gotten the go-ahead to bring along kids, read on for tips on choosing the best assignments for you and yours.
Hunt through job boards
If you’re looking for a way to include your child in a secret shopping excursion, the best place to begin is with the job boards. When you sign up with a mystery shopping company, you’ll gain access to online job boards that lay out assignment descriptions, which will include location and level of compensation. When looking through the boards, be sure to seek out kid-friendly choices. Some options might include children’s clothing stores, where you can scope out fitting rooms with your child while also shopping for back-to-school clothes or a new pair of shoes.
Amusement parks, skating rinks and movie theaters are also good options for secret shopping with kids. Enjoy an afternoon out with your children and get paid while you bring them to see a matinee movie or take a ride on a carousel.
When looking through job boards for the best secret shopping assignments, always be sure to check out the reimbursement plan. If an assignment only provides partial reimbursement when you were hoping to bring along three kids, you might want to consider another higher paying option, or consider bringing fewer guests.
Consider the kids
Although bringing kids on a shopping trip while you get paid might seem nice to you, always consider the role of your child in the process. If you’re planning on bringing a screaming toddler into a clothing store as a secret shopper, you might want to reconsider. If things go wrong, it won’t be any fun for you, your child or the employees you’ll be around.
Don’t forget to factor in the ages of the children as well. Babies and toddlers may be more distracting, while older children will be better equipped to cope with a somewhat lengthy shopping process. Also, be sure that your child won’t ruin your cover. The Mystery Shopping Learning Center points out that the entire assignment will be blown if anyone mentions secret shopping, even a five year old. Consider doing yourself a favor and only telling your kids about mystery shopping once you’ve finished the assignment.
When not to bring kids
Even if you consider your child to be a joy at all hours of the day, there are still some times where it would be best to leave them at home. Fine restaurants, for example, are a problematic spot for kids. For one thing, even if they are exceptionally well behaved, they’ll still stand out in a room full of adults, drawing attention to you as a customer.
Children may also affect the service you are given, and thus the report you will later turn in. If you’re with an infant in an upscale store, an employee may be more attentive to you and your needs than they normally would be in order to help keep the baby from crying or otherwise upsetting the atmosphere. Shops that play loud music may also be distressing to young children, as well as dark restaurants or patio restaurants where smoking is permitted.
Don’t forget that you’re shopping as a job, one that requires an eye for specifics and a detailed report to follow. If you think taking your kid along might keep you from noticing details, or worse, reveal you as a secret shopper, then consider saving that trip to the movies for when you can really enjoy time with your kids.
You’ll be the best judge when it comes to selecting assignments for you and your child, so exercise some caution and you’ll be sure to have a good time.