Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Shop it like it's hot

I have never been a mall fanatic. Between the kiosks selling fake hair and the ladies who want to spritz me, I am such a definitive shopper that there is very little lingering and lollygagging. Even on days I want to play around in Shoeville, I know quickly what I want. JohnnyMac loves shopping with me for this reason. And internet shopping? Come to Mama. What do I feel when I can clickity clack away and have things deposited on my doorstep? LOVE I tell you. There is a powerhouse of internet shopping I have recently found: CSN Stores of which their shopping family includes over 200 stores and sites. Seriously. I am doing a product review for them in the next week or two and am looking quite forward to it. I am loving scrolling through their stores looking at every imaginable product from bakeware to patio furniture including these speaker stands that would make a great gift for someone in my family.

But do you know when I do love to go to the mall? When I am paid for it. Oh yes. A girl’s dream come true? Call me Spendarella. For several years I was a mystery shopper. The assignments were easy breezy. The company would send me a store location with a checklist of items to either see or hear from the sales associates. Not only was I paid to shop, the company paid for my purchases upon the submission of a detailed final report. Typically the assignments were high end retailers or restaurants. But of course, sometimes the mystery is where you end up. Case in point:

I get an assignment one day for Frederick's of Hollywood. Va va va voom. I hadn’t been to this store since I was a young college student with my first serious boyfriend and believed that furry undergarments would be a big, big hit. Guess what? They are not. Unless you like the image of someone wearing a bikini that looks like it is made of ferrets. But, this assignment was to observe the customer service and look for certain specific phrases and customer offerings. The assignment also requested I have a bra fitting.

Ummm…what?

Yes, part of the shopping assignment was a fitting. I need a fitting as much as a flat screen TV needs a fitting but ok. It isn’t like I was asked to wrestle in jello. The good news, I had been wearing the wrong bra for years. I think my last fitting was at 16 and I didn’t think there was much gray area in the A cup sector besides “capital A-cup" or “lowercase a-cup" but I was wrong. Lucky me, learning a little something in Frederick's of Hollywood! And after that moment or two of personal time, I did happily report excellent customer service and top marks for all the necessary criteria which was the primary interest of the corporate office. And they no longer carry furry undergarments. That is a good thing.

63 comments:

the walking man said...

Does Walgreens have a mystery shoppers position open...I am rather tired of the grimace I get when I buy my cigarettes. Which by the by is the only buying I do.

Jules said...

I can't see me going to Frederick's for a bra fitting.... I can just see them selling me furry slippers. I still think they carry those.

blueviolet said...

I have heard of those paid to shop assignments. I went to a bra fitting as a youngster with my mom. The horror has never left my mind.

Brian Miller said...

note to self...get rid of furry undergarments...

mbkatc230 said...

I'm a power shopper too - in and out, guess that's why I'm not much of a mall rat. Unlike my dear mother, who has to stop and look at EVERY BLASTED THING and proclaim "isn't this cute?" Thank God for Al Gore & the internet:)
But being paid to shop? Now there is an idea I could work with! Kathy

jinksy said...

I don't think the bra has been invented that can totally dipense with the misery of bra straps digging into sholders for ladies who have more ample proportions than a, or indeed, A cups! Triumph bras are about the best of a bad bunch, I've discovered...

Anything Fits a Naked Man said...

I have ALWAYS wondered what it would be like to be a mystery shopper! How cool that you did it for several years! Besides getting an excellent bra fitting (!), did you enjoy it?

Cara Smith said...

I am well aware of the world of mystery shoppers. I was an apartment manager for several years and a ms would walk through our doors once a month. You never knew who would be the unlucky soul to get strapped with them that time. They were usually easy to spot by the questions they asked. But I was never sure how those mystery shoppers were compensated.

Simply Suthern said...

Hmmmmm, Mystery Shopper in a mall. What a gig. The wife signed up in the wrong column I think. We got a call and ended up in a couple of Seven Elevens and Handy Pantries.

I am NOT a shopper, I am a Buyer. I don't mind going to the mall or a store to get things but I hate shopping. My problem is I get Option Paralysis and cant make a decision. I usually know what I want and go in and get it.

"The Furry Ferret" is that a brand?

My name is PJ. said...

I always wanted to do that when I was younger! How fun!

I am an internet shopping devotee.

The Boob Nazi said...

I want to do that while wearing sweats to see if they'd treat me any differently.

Krëg said...

Every time I ask them to fit me, they flatly refuse.

Writing Without Periods! said...

Shopping is my drug of choice.
Mary

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip said...

Bikinis made of ferrets!!! Bwahahaahaha!!

Salt said...

I had a red ferret bikini when I was in college. WTF were we thinking?

BTW unless someone puts a gun to my head, I steer clear from the mall at all costs. In fact, if I went to my local mall, chances are I'd end up with a gun to my head.

foxy said...

That's one of those things that you just don't think you need... until after you've had one. Then you're like, huh... I guess I did need that. Weird. I had one at VS about 5 years ago and was so glad that i did.

Dumblond said...

I've always wanted to do that! But all the ads for becoming one look sketchy...

foxy said...

And you know what? I used to work for a mystery shopping company too. But we had all the high-tech video gadgets... like a purse that had a tiny pinhole camera in the side - and men's shirts that had a camera in the button hole. We shopped car dealerships, banks, and our biggest client was AT&T Wireless. We'd secretly shoot the transaction and give the video to the client. A weird business, but really cool.

Pres. Kathy said...

What an experience. I would love to learn more about becoming a mystery shopper, if you can email me. Thanks@

Secret Mom Thoughts said...

I'd love to be a mystery shopper. Sounds like fun with the exception of the bra fitting.

Kristina P. said...

I used to mystery shop, hardcore, for several years. I could make like $800 a month. And then I got burned out.

I am sad I never got to do a bra fitting.

Erin said...

It would be fun to be a mystery shopper too, but I loathe the mall as well. The lighting, the pushy salespeople, the lines, etc...I much prefer shopping on-line. If my ass doesn't fit in it, I can just mail it back! Voila!

I've never set foot in Frederick's...lol!

Herding Cats said...

I've always considered being a mystery shopper. It sounds so fun - like you are a shopping detective? Maybe that should be my summer job!

Eva Gallant said...

I was a mystery shopper at one time as well. Wish I could remember the name of the company, since now that I'm retired I'd have plenty of time to mystery shop!

Babes Mami said...

I can't stand the mall either! We go maybe twice a year and I try to avoid that at all costs!

Crazy people, kids everywhere, groups of teenagers, perfume sprayers...I HATE IT!

Furry bikinis aren't in?? I better get rid of the rainbow I've been hoarding.

SmartBear said...

I did the mystery shopper stint for a short while too...but never at Fredricks of Hollywood. Too funny!
Best,
Tina

MommaAmma said...

Nothing better than stopping by the mall for an Orange Julius and aligator shaped schlong holder for your man.

You know I'm joking! Thank the lord most of our malls here are higher end and outdoors, really cuts down on the mall rats and tiny tot fashion shows.

Slamdunk said...

So it is your fault mystery shopper that store employees are always trying to pressure us into purchasing batteries with gifts and opening up another charge card account.

Sounds like a good way to create adventures though.

Emily said...

I guess you never know when I job is going to play off in a personal way. ;)

From Tracie said...

I always wanted to try mystery shopping.....how do you get into that anyway?

Bra fitting.....not my favorite thing. I could probably use one right now, but that doesn't mean I'm running to the mall! hehe Maybe tomorrow!

The Professional Family Manager said...

I'm with you...I can't stand to do recreational shopping. Never understood why any of my friends thought it would be fun to get together and shop. I'm a "get-in-and-get-out" kind of person...well, at least when it comes to shopping. ;-)

However, there are worst things in life than being paid to shop. And I'm pleased to hear the little furry things are passe now. I never understood those, either.

shortmama said...

Note to self...throw away furry undergarments because they are Not in style...damn.

I love online shopping too...oh the pleasure it gives!

Pricilla said...

Living in the Middle of Nowhere, MT leaves on shopping online. A lot.

I would love to be a mystery shopper but my town has one store and one restaurant and I try to avoid the restaurant at all costs.
heh

Jen said...

After working at Victoria's Secret for a year, I learned that the majority of women are wearing the wrong bra size and don't know it. Including me! Yup, I was about halfway through my stint there, happily using my employee discount for a bra wardrobe (oh yes, I have a wardrobe), a coworker asked me about my selection and promptly gave me a fitting after hearing what size I was wearing. I'd been working in the lingerie capital of the world for months fitting everyone but myself for the perfect bra! LOL Talk about irony.

Jenn@ You know... that blog? said...

Seriously? All this time, and I didn't know it. One of my two companies is a Mystery Shopping idea (Although I prefer to be called a Quality Control Specialist). You wouldn't probably like the assignments I send my operatives out on though - I specialize in Funeral Homes ;) You DEFINITELY do not want a fitting in that case.

anaïs said...

i'm not really a mall person either - i'm usually in and out, since i already know what i want. shopping on-line is definitely convenient, though i am a little leery about purchasing some things via the web.

anyhoot, i have wondered what it would be like to be a mystery shopper, as i don't mind shopping on someone else's dime, but as noted by a previous commenter, the job postings for those positions seem to scream "scam."

for those people out there who might be interested in giving it a go, do you have any companies that you would recommend?

Aunt Juicebox said...

Ugh. When my daughter used to take music lessons, they were in the mall, and I had to go every week for like, 6 years. I rarely shopped though. I parked myself on a bench and read a book, and sometimes got a pretzel or looked through clearance racks. I do love thrift stores though, and if they had those online, I'd be in Heaven!

No One Reads The Copy said...

I so need to get fitted for the right size bra, but I'm worried they'll tell me I'm smaller than I even think I am which is a barely B.

Jessica said...

Im always looking for a reputable mystery shopping company. Who did you work for? I want to do it!

M-Cat said...

Why every girl doesn't take a few minutes and get properly fitted for her girls is beyond me. Once you have a good bra (not costco) and have it fit right, you can feel completely different about your rack or lack thereof.

I like being the secret shopper when the JDRF sends us out.

Kristy said...

Waiting for packages to arrive is one of the best things, isn't it? I always like to have something coming.

Mighty M said...

I got fitted for a bra at Nordstrom's once and the fitting lady was very, um, hands on with her assessment skills. :)

Grand Pooba said...

What the? That job really exists? I swear you have the most interesting life!

(I have to say though I would HATE that job. I despise shopping!)

Aging Mommy said...

OK, now I have a new career goal, mystery shopper. That would be heaven, being paid to shop.

As for a bra fitting, everyone needs to do that from time to time. I recently had one and discovered why my bras do not fit, because 36C on a 30D frame doesn't work.

I am trying to rid my mind of the furry underwear vision.......can't imagine many people being into that!

Baloney said...

So... what did you buy?

J.J. said...

I hate the mall. I go in, get what I need, and get out.

I should get one of those 'bra fitting' things though.

secret agent woman said...

Ha ha ha at Brian!

Never had a bra fitting - i think I'd find that too embarassing. But I did discover in Australia, when they lost my freaking luggage, that my bra size there is 10C. Who knew?

Melissa B. said...

My youngest is a Shopaholic, and would so love a gig as a mystery shopper. Hook me up!

brainella said...

Fur....and metal rings. I bought something from Frederick's for a bridal shower with fur and metal rings. Did not put a note on the box. To this day, no one knows it was me.

Badass Geek said...

Wait... Furry undergarments aren't hot?

Crap. I hope FurryManSlings.com takes returns.

Bringing Pretty Back said...

I have never been a big fan of mall shopping either. That Fredricks story is a hoot!

Little Ms J said...

A bikini made of ferrets? Fantastic.

When I was twenty I once decided to surprise my boyfriend while wearing a body stocking. He came in the door, saw me in my tube sock and started laughing until he couldn't breathe.

Eff lingerie.

Candice said...

Sounds like we would get along just fine.

I'm SO not a browser for hours. I go. Get my shit. Then leave.

The end.

Unknown Mami said...

I did a product review for CSN and really enjoyed the experience. I had no idea they had so many stores. I think you would be hard pressed to find something they don't carry.

Perhaps they do not carry furry undergarments.

hiking in stilettos said...

I am with you on the mall thing. As for mystery shopping, I want that job! How fun. And apparently it comes with countless opportunities for funny stories!

Mommy Lisa said...

I have done a lot of "product testings" where you go and try something and get paid on the spot for your opinion - but I have never been able to find a gig as a mystery shopper.

I want one!

The Constant Complainer said...

That's a great story. I'd love to be a mystery shopper.

P.S. I hate going to the mall too. I'm always the guy who gives dirty looks to the T-Mobile and Nail City vendors. Just let me walk and do my thing - don't bother me!

carissajaded said...

I always wanted to be a mystery shopper!! It would really be the perfect job for me, except I would probably somehow give it away that I was a mystery shopper... And I can't online shop.. I never know what fits!

McVal said...

I did a bra fitting at a home party when I was pregnant. Needless to say, the bra doesn't fit me anymore... but wow, did it do wonders for my morale while preggers!

Intense Guy said...

I'm going to the Mall... I'm long past due a bra-fitting.

Will it hurt any?

secret agent woman said...

Checking the bra size converter on-line, a 10C in Australia would be a 70D in Japan. You'd think there'd be some uniformity in it all.

HalfAsstic.com said...

That's funny, I just posted about my first visit to the mall in ages. I really enjoyed myself, but I feel it was due more to the company than any shopping experience I had.
I have to say though that almost any woman I know would feel that shopping, for free, and getting paid for it would be the ultimate job. And while my home constraints keep me here and on the computer to do most of my shopping, I really do enjoy being able to try it on first.

Kate@And Then I Was a Mom said...

Oooh! I did mystery shopping for a while there, too. The Cheesecake Factory shops were the best (dessert required...THE BEST). The have-to-fake-apply-for-a-job ones? Not so great. Horrifyingly uncomfortable, actually. Although perhaps better than a bra fitting. Fine, you win.