Convenience store mystery shops allow you to put some gasoline in your car, buy some chips, and make a few dollars in one visit. They're not too hard to do and the reports usually aren't very long. Unless there is a long line in the store, visits don't last more than 15 minutes.
Convenience store mystery shops don't always focus on the cleanliness of the store or the service from the employees. A lot of clients are interested in how the alcohol, vaping, and tabacco products are handled. They want to see if cashiers are asking for identification on younger customers.
As you can imagine, mystery shopping companies look for college age shoppers to do many of these shops. I've seen age requirements requesting people between 18 -25 years of age only to apply. That doesn't mean all assignments are that way. Many have no age restriction.
Convenience store mystery shops vary with the requirements for each assignment. Most will reimburse you for a certain amount of money, usually around $15 to $20. One item to purchase may be alcohol or tobacco. You can purchase gasoline in most cases. You will be paid a fee for doing the assignment. That fee ranges between $5 and $10.
Mystery Shopping companies that work with convenience stores have a lot of locations to schedule. Sometimes, they will assign one person to do 10 mystery shops or more. You may be offered more money if you're given that many assignments, especially if some of the locations require some extra travelling miles.
I knew people who traveled a lot who would do quite a few mystery shops, including convenience store locations. They would do several locations in one day and submit the reports at the end of the day. You must get a receipt from the cashier. Reports and receipts are usually due within 24 hours.
You will have a list of instructions for each mystery shop that you'll need to read over closely. You may want to print up the questionnaire and take it with you on location. However, make sure that it's not visible for some employee to see it.
Here are some sample questions I've been asked for convenience store assignments:
- Was there any trash cans overflowing in the gas island?
- Did the windows to the front door have any smudges on it?
- Did the glass to the coolers have smudges on them?
- How many employees did you see?
- Were all products facing forward and were prices labelled properly?
- Did the cashier give you a proper welcome?
- Did the cashier give you a receipt?
- Did the cashier thank you and ask you to come back?
You'll have to make a visit to the restroom to answer questions about cleanliness. This is a small sample of the kinds of questions that may be on the questionnaire.
Some of these assignments require you to pay for your order with cash. This is to see if the employee gives you the proper change and that they count it back to you. There may be some narrative to write, but it's usually not overwhelming.
It's important to complete reports and meet deadlines in mystery shopping. Any report that is incomplete, late, or missing a lot of details, may result in partial payment or NO payment for the work done.
Not only does the mystery shopper lose out on the money, they may be banned from doing any more assignments with that company. Mystery shopping is a legitimate business that wants people who are serious about each assignment.
I wrote an book about my mystery shopping experiences for both written and hidden video assignments. I include a list of mystery shopping companies that I have worked with and companies that I would consider reputable. The book (and eBook) is titled Take That Job And Mystery Shop It!
There should be no fee to join a mystery shopping company. If there is, even if it's $2, stay away from them. Mystery shopping companies should pay you after you complete assignments for them.
Do not cash any checks before you do any mystery shopping assignment. There is a popular scam where people are sent checks for as much as $5000 to perform mystery shops at check cashing locations. These checks are fake. If you cash them, you will have to repay the bank and all associated fees.
Read more about mystery shopping scams.