Saturday, January 11, 2014


The start of the new year always picks me up and flings me high into the air with thoughts of "more exercise, less spending, more confidence, less complaining and change change change, damnit". This year is no different. I have been extremely busy the past eleven days (it seems almost a lie that we are already eleven days in) with so many fingers in so many pots. I am setting up my life and my time to actually be different rather than moping around pining for things and people that are closed to me. Instead of talking about and dreaming things, I'm taking decisive action and it really feels good. And exhausting. I still have two jobs so I'm still wedging everything I possibly can into the tiny spaces in between my obligations of work and chores and errands and day to day necessities. I'm still testing time like a rubber band; it hasn't snapped back just yet and believe me, I am using all my arm muscles this time. I have hope.

In keeping with the theme of changing my life, I've decided to tackle my debt in earnest for the sheer fact that I need the freedom being debt free will give me. It is a means to an end. Debt doesn't really bother me if only it didn't affect every single other aspect of my life. As such, I have to deal with it. I never learned how to take control of my finances, even when I paid everything off four years ago. I mean, clearly. I'm back to square one here. However, I've decided to just take the lesson and learn what I can from it, namely, stop buying shit I don't need. The world's landfills don't need another supplier. Yeah, that's right. I'm doing this for the WORLD. You're welcome.

I feel good. Honestly, I do. My dreams are still going to happen, however they will be on hiatus until I get all my debt cleared away. Why can't 2014 be the year I do it? I read this article recently and it inspired me. I have spent a few days looking for ways to make extra money (even more than my two jobs already affords me) and I ended up signing up to become a mystery shopper. (Ooooo what could it be???)

I am under no delusions that such a venture will net me any kind of real profit; I'm approaching it as more of a "that's $15 I didn't have before and now I can get two beers at the bar instead crying at home in a corner because I'm not spending money." And it is basically not a lot of work for that money so why not, right? I found this website (through that article) and signed up and just like that, I embarked on the adventure of a lifetime....

Not really. However, I did find an assignment within a couple of days that was minutes from my house and I agreed to do it yesterday afternoon. Before this, I knew nothing whatsoever about mystery shopping, assuming as one does, that there was shady dealing and costumed role play with large hats involved.

Me as a mystery shopper at the self portrait store.

Sadly, there is no costuming. In fact, you have to be completely inconspicuous. And you have to pretend you are an actual customer. I am a really terrible actress. I'm one of those types of actresses who has to believe what I'm saying so if I were a good actress, I'd follow the method school and have to "live" the part. However, despite the fact that I'm a bad one, I still need to live the part. I know this because in order to prepare for the part of "customer"I had a lot of difficulty coming up with a believable scenario to give to the store employee in order to evaluate their performance. Sincerely, I came up with about a dozen ideas and rejected them all as being 'too fake' when in reality, they were all totally believable. At one point, very shortly after taking the assignment, I thought about cancelling, convincing myself that I was going to give myself away and have to run out of the store in embarrassment. This is why I can only ever go out for the parts they give to extras in the background; I'm an overthinker and an exaggerated situation my head-er.

The actual shopping went relatively smoothly. I notice everything anyway so it is kind of natural to me to describe people's demeanor and physical attributes. I'm not good at a lot of things but I can read people and evaluate situations pretty well. It was just the lying. O the humanity! I finally settled on a few scenarios to give to the employees and they all performed in stellar ways. Well, stellar is a strong word. They all performed in satisfactory ways. And my story held up. I had even invented a character in my mind, never realizing that I'd need to use my debit card to pay so I'm glad I never had to fake a name. It would have been P.J. O'Pootertoot, or something equally believable. Today, mystery shopping a Walgreens. Next stop, espionage school.

What should I do with the $15 they are sending me?

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