The best advice that can be shared about mystery shopping with kids is – DON’T!
However, many stay at home moms and dads pick up mystery shopping gigs as a way to supplement the household income. And to stay in touch with what is going on in the world beyond kids.
We think these are all the right things to do – and we really aren’t as hard core as that opening line sounds. But you do need to pause and think before you take your children along to ‘work’ with you when mystery shopping.
Bringing your kids along seems rather natural to many people. And in certain instances, it is. Amusement parks, fast food, and pre-schools are natural places where you would bring your kids. So why not on a mystery shop?
Guidelines for Mystery Shopping with Kids
First, always check with the mystery shopping provider to find out if children are allowed to join you on a shop. Some companies have strict rules – and if you break them without permission – your perfect lunch might end up costing you, instead of adding to your bank account. Always make your request to bring your children in writing. And save the answer from your scheduler. Paper trails have saved many a shopper from additional headache.
If you have the go ahead to bring the kids along, make sure your kids can handle the types of shops you are assigned. You know your child. Do not book a marathon day of apartment and pre-school shops and expect them to act appropriately at each location as the day groans on. It just won’t work.
Think also, about how your child likes to chime in. If they are a talker and you are ‘bending the truth’ in your scenario, make sure your child knows not to say, “I don’t have a little brother”. Or “Grandma doesn’t live in New Mexico”. Shoppers have been amazed at what their children pipe in with when on a mystery shop assignment.
For amusement parks and restaurant shops where it seems natural be mystery shopping with kids, remember that you are working. You need be focused to make all those timing and greeting observations. Having another adult with you to ‘mind the kids’ and/or observe with you can be helpful.
Your kids are wonderful. We have no doubt. But they are kids and can be distracting and demanding. Finding a way to trade off sitting time with another parent is a great way to be more efficient. Or make sure your child is in the right frame of mind to be your little helper for your next mystery shop!
You may be amazed at how they pick up on good customer service skills!
Have you brought your child along on a mystery shop? Share the good, bad and outrageous with us in the comment section below!
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