Shopping for Employers….Great Fun!

How to provide professional shopping service to your employer

Personal shopping is one of those tasks that sound pretty good to anyone aspiring to be a professional Household Manager. Not only do you get out of the house and get some fresh air, but you get to spend someone else’s money. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

Yes, personal shopping for a household employer can indeed be fun. But it’s important to remember that it is still part of your job. So when you’re shopping, you’re still working. It’s essential to maintain the high degree of professionalism in a store that you do when you’re inside the house.

When your employer isn’t home, you work just as hard as you do when they’re at home, right? Shopping is no different. Also, remember that you are representing your employer and their family with everyone you come in contact with.  Act professional!

Here are some ways to maintain your professionalism while shopping for your employer.

  • Shop ONLY for your employer. Never use the opportunity to grab a few things you need or want at your own home. Unless…they live far from town, and you live on property, picking up a few items should be allowed. If you are going to be doing a lot of shopping for yourself, you might want to let them know, and be sure that you make-up the time.
  • Don’t seek out free samples of anything for yourself. If you are purchasing for your employer, then it is allowed.
  • Check out new products only if this is something your employer expects or requires of you. Otherwise, this should be done only on your own time.
  • Do not buy a meal or a snack for yourself, unless you are working through your lunch time, or if you are experiencing a “low” sugar. Be as efficient as possible. Your objective should be to spend as little time in the store as possible, while still getting what your employer needs and getting the quality they expect. You need to return home as quickly as you can so that you can return to your other household responsibilities.

If you’re having trouble finding something on your list, ask an associate for help rather than wandering all over the store looking for it. Just as you do at your employer’s home, manage your time effectively at the store.

While some household employers won’t want you to waste time on coupons, others appreciate the opportunity to save money – especially if there are doubling options or buy-one-get-one-free opportunities. However, they are paying you more in wages than the few bucks you might save on coupons.  So watch your time.

Some household employers enjoy shopping themselves, but want you to accompany them. When this is the case, once again remember your primary objective: to help them. Push the cart and watch how you stack food items.  Don’t put fresh vegetable and fruits or bread on the bottom!

Don’t ever “disappear” to browse for yourself! If you’re to divide and conquer, again, do so efficiently.

If you have to stop at the restroom, be sure to let your employer know. They should never wonder where you’ve gone.  Don’t say that you are going to the “bathroom,” just say that you will be back in a couple of minutes.  If they ask for details, then just say you need to use their facilities or that you are going to the restroom (not bathroom….you are not bathing!)

Finally, when you are at the checkout line, remember that you have two responsibilities:

1.       Ensure all purchases are rung up correctly, with the right prices. Do not assume the computer will record the correct price; mistakes can happen at any time. Sometimes computers don’t register sale prices; sometimes cashiers accidentally ring up the same item twice.

2.       Ensure all purchases are packaged correctly. You may want to have some purchases double-bagged or padded with extra bags to prevent breakage.

3.        Because shopping bags are “cheaply made”, always ask for the bags to be “doubled bag”, this prevent any potential bag breakage.

Because you need to be alert and attentive, you should refrain from engaging in excessive conversation with the cashier or with others in line. You should also not read magazines or “zone out.”

All of these will help you conduct yourself with utmost professionalism at the store. And maintaining your shopping professionalism will help build trust with your employer.


This is just a sample of the subjects that we discuss in our training programs.

For more information check out our training section.