Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pizza Tastes Even Better When It's FREE, Baby!

When one pretty much counts every dime as a freelance journalist, there's nothing better than being an active, veteran mystery shopper for free food.

In the past few weeks, I've gotten active again in a side biz that has fostered decent bucks posing as a customer at various retailers, then reporting back to the two dozen companies I'm associated with to rank service and quality.

Over the past couple years, I've visited cell phone shops, fast food joints, high-end department stores, bars, storage facilities, bodegas, banks, eyewear retailers... my god, I can't begin to remember all of them.

The best among the bunch: Earlier this year, I got a one-night stay =free= at a major hotel chain in NYC that included drinks, dinner, breakfast in the room and transportation. It was so luxurious it was sick. Mind you, the accompanying questionnaire took me days to fill out—but we treated it like a second honeymoon in our own hometown and were treated like kings. The total bill came to more than $700—for one damn night(!)—all on the house, plus a $40 incentive. How sweet it is!

On the lower end, how about free delivery pizza from a major chain, plus $7 in my kitty. Meow!