Help, I’ve forgotten to do my mystery guest job!

Help, I’ve forgotten to do my mystery guest job!


If you do a few mystery guest jobs from my time, it’s inevitable you’re going to find yourself with a job you just can’t do.

Worst case, you will have straight out forgotten to do the job.  Hopefully, you’ll realise just before the due date that you can’t do it.  This happened to me recently.  I was interstate and had a job to do in Sydney.  I’ll tell you how it ended up below.

First, let’s examine a couple of ways NOT to handle this situation.


Get a friend/family member to do the job for you

In your regular job, would you let a friend or family member turn up to do the work for you?  Unless you’re dealing with blind people (!), of course not.  That is, not if you want to keep your job.

It is a surprise then that some shoppers get someone else to do a mystery guest job for them.  But this is a big risk.  Be aware that mystery guest companies warn shoppers that they check store security footage to confirm work was done.  Some companies ask you to provide a photo of yourself when you register – see a connection?

The other risk associated with letting someone else do the job for you is the potential damage to your reputation with the mystery guest company.  Most companies are continually rating shoppers (often after each shop).  Are you completely confident someone else will do the job and write it up to the same standard you would?

Bottom line: don’t go there.

Fake it or do it later than agreed

For the more adventurous (stupid) among us, you could pretend that you did the job (even though you didn’t) and fill in the survey as such.  This can be tempting if it’s a type of mystery guest job that you’ve done over and over.

However, this is very high risk option and obviously dishonest.  If you adopt this approach, who knows, you might even get away with it once? But in time, it will certainly catch up with you and is just not worth the risk.

Another alternative you may consider is to do the job at a time/date that wasn’t agreed but pretend you did it at the allotted time.  The problem with this approach (apart from the risk of an audit of security footage) is that you’re not actually looking at what the mystery guest company needs.

Furthermore, most mystery guest companies want you to fill in the online survey within a pretty quick timeframe after the business has been visited.  If you don’t visit the business until even just a day after what you’d agreed, you won’t complete the survey in time and probably won’t be paid.

When I was new to being a mystery guest, I didn’t understand the requirement (from one company) of having to do mystery guest jobs on a specific date/time.

Result: I did 6 jobs and didn’t get paid for any of them.  Ouch.


Let them know early

Mystery guest companies in my experience, realise that mistakes do some times occur.  The earlier you can let them know you’re not going to be able to do a mystery guest job, the better.

If you’ve already missed it, whatever you do, don’t just ignore it and think it will go away.  The only thing that may be going away (if you adopt this approach), is your future employment prospects.

If you’ve got a reasonable track record as a mystery guest your best approach, after the job was due, is to fess up and apologise.  I wouldn’t recommend making up any stories, just tell them the truth.

Make sure, also, that you follow the company policy on what to do in this scenario.  It might be making a phone call, sending an email to a particular person/address, or cancelling the job online, or a combination.

Negotiate the deadline

Depending on the mystery guest company, one other option may be to negotiate the deadline.  There are a few factors that come into play here.  Often businesses will have a program of mystery shopping over a period of a few weeks/months.  As long as yours isn’t the last job in that program, you may be able to do it on another (later) date.

Typically the mystery guest companies just need to get the job done by someone and are grateful if you can do the job at all.  In the example I mentioned at the start of the article, I called up the day before the due date as well as sending an email.  As it turned out, I was able to complete the job a full week after the due date and I still got paid. Yay!

I can only imagine that at times, they really struggle meeting their own targets.  Be a part of the solution and you’ll stay in the good books.


To err is human, to forgive is divine.  We all make mistakes and occasionally, this may result in you not being able to do a mystery guest job you’ve agreed to do.  Wherever possible, avoid this situation.

But if you can’t do the job, get in touch with the mystery guest company as quickly as you can.  Be apologetic and see if you can reschedule the job.  You might just end up getting paid anyway and maintaining your all-important reputation for future jobs.

Leave a comment

CommentLuv badge