Defender of democracy Bob Newland pays his bills with work as a traveling secret shopper. He notes with amusement the appearance on his gig board an invitation to secret-shop the Catholic Church in Rapid City:
Mother of all that is holy!
In the 15 years that I have been evaluating the customer experience at a variety of retail locations, it never occurred to me that the Holy Roman Catholic Church would offer someone like me $22 to evaluate a holy mass. Of course, my process of conception, even of possibilities, is somewhat less than immaculate.
Today a job appeared on the Confero, Inc. job board: “This shop is for for either 9/16 ( if the church offers Saturday mass times) or Sunday 9/17. The allowed mass times are in guidelines for your assigned church. Attend the mass, make observations and donate $5 cash. You will be reimbursed for the $5 cash donation. Survey is easy and less than 15 questions.”
The assigned job is at Cathedral Of Our Lady Of Perpetual Help, Rapid City, SD, 57701. It pays $22, and the evaluator is expected to donate $5.00, which will be, as is it says in the description, reimbursed. A cynic could most likely be reimbursed for just saying (s)he donated $5.00.
I applied for the job. I can’t see any more detailed instructions until I am assigned the job. You too might be considered if you apply…. You will need to apply to be a shopper with Confero, a position I already hold, although I don’t recall ever performing an evaluation for Confero. Honestly, I doubt they will assign me, and if they do, I doubt if I will go. I do, however, want to see the more detailed instructions.
I also wouldn’t mind getting reimbursed for a $5 donation I did not make. Normally, reimbursable expenses require a receipt. Am I contemplating a mortal, or merely venial, sin? Would it be worse if I ate and drank of the host? Would my sins be worse than those committed daily by the political organization which hired Confero?
Incidentally, I searched for a similar job in Pierre and Sioux Falls, and did not find it. Either it was not offered, or someone snapped it up before I looked. However, this job was not on the job board until today, so maybe it’s endemic to Rapid City. WTF?
There is also the possibility that a competitor is offering this job, just to try to find out what it is that people see in the halls of darkness [Bob Newland, FB, 2023.09.13].
Secret evaluations of Catholic Mass, viewed through the same lens as consumer-experience surveys at Kum & Go—I wonder what could go theologically wrong there?