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 Mystery Shopping Article in Wall Street Journal 6/9/03
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Ray Sola
Volition.com Staff

Prescott, AZ
USA
3071 Posts

Posted - 06/09/2003 :  3:33:06 PM  Visit Ray Sola's Homepage
How to Live Large, Largely for Free

Jennifer Voitle has mastered the Freebie Economy. She has found a new career in the arcane world of dining deals, gift certificates and "mystery shopping," where companies pay her to test their products and services.

Copyright 2003 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved
http://online.wsj.com/public/us

That's all I can see without paying for the subscription. Someone is mailing me the article.

NYCJenn
Apprentice

New York City, NY
USA
2 Posts

Posted - 06/09/2003 :  4:31:36 PM
Hey Ray, hang on to your hat, as volition.com might be mentioned some day, you are doing such a great job, thanks!
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Ray Sola
Volition.com Staff

Prescott, AZ
USA
3071 Posts

Posted - 06/09/2003 :  4:44:45 PM  Visit Ray Sola's Homepage
Thanks Jenn,

Actually in 2002, Volition.com was mentioned in 7 magazine or Newspaper articles, a few newsletters and even 1 TV show. Three of the articles were about Mystery Shopping, the rest concerned other areas of Volition.com.

Woman's World
The Woman's Weekly
December 24, 2002
Earn $722 a month by shopping

Inside Tucson Business
August 30, 2002
"Mystery shopping ensures service with a smile"
By KYLE SCHLIESMAN

The State Journal-Register
January, 2002
Spy game: Mystery shoppers rate retailers on the sly
By Kathryn Rem

ciao,
Ray
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Kathleen Schlauy
Member

Irmo, SC
USA
28 Posts

Posted - 06/10/2003 :  3:54:23 PM
And Radio!

I heard about Volition.com from a friend. She had heard about it on a radio program, Clark Howard.
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Ray Sola
Volition.com Staff

Prescott, AZ
USA
3071 Posts

Posted - 06/10/2003 :  4:25:38 PM  Visit Ray Sola's Homepage
A subscriber sent me this. It will be available to non-subscribers of the Online Journal for up to seven days.

WSJ.com - How to Live Large, and Largely For Free, Jennifer Voitle's Way

Post your opinions here.

E-mail the editor (wsj.ltrs@wsj.com) and the author Robert Frank (robert.frank@wsj.com) and tell what you think. (I suggested next time to include a link to MSPA and Volition.com along with the hype.)
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PamelaS
Valued Contributor

Los Angeles, CA
USA
147 Posts

Posted - 06/10/2003 :  5:03:56 PM  Send PamelaS an AOL message
Going to bed at 1 or 2 and getting up at 6:30 is no free ride! She's working hard for her money and I don't think the casual observer will pick up on that.

Shopping Los Angeles and Orange Counties. MSPA Gold Certification: 3qangd
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MaryLou
Inactive

East County / San Diego, CA
USA
915 Posts

Posted - 06/10/2003 :  5:47:27 PM
Gee whiz.
Note to newbies: Only a small percentage of this is actual money. A lot of it is merchandise or food. The $50 for test driving the Saturn had nothing to do with mystery shopping. Anyone can print that flyer and do that if they wish. The bridal shop??? It's a half hour in the store, but the report doesn't write itself. Add a half hour to get that done too.
As Katilizz said somewhere earlier, there are people who make $7000 a month shopping, but this is not somebody that only does mystery shopping and makes that kind of money. (If she did, she'd probably upgrade that van!)
Sounds nice though doesn't it?
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RobynShopsGA
Member

GA
USA
33 Posts

Posted - 06/10/2003 :  5:48:33 PM
I agree, it does sound like she's working hard for the money. <giggle> I need to find some of those golf courses in Hawaii!

Thanks for posting the link to the article Ray!

You can usually find what you're looking for on Volition.

Happily shopping the wilds of GA!

Robyn
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Leah_Anchorage
Member

Anchorage, AK
USA
15 Posts

Posted - 06/10/2003 :  5:55:16 PM  Visit Leah_Anchorage's Homepage
Oh boy. I agree - getting five hours of sleep per night is not enough for me!

First off, where is she getting these free trips to Hawaii? Come now. Is she getting free airfare? If so, what mystery shopping company is it that does flights to Hawaii on a mystery shop? I want to go!

quote:
Pulling out of the car dealership, she saw a bridal shop and made another $15 for trying on dresses for half an hour

They make it sound like she just does it wherever and whenever she chooses. That's certainly taking some liberties with the truth.

quote:
Ms. Voitle says her ultimate goal is to return to Wall Street or get a job at a large financial institution. If that fails, she's considering writing a book or holding seminars on living for free.



So, she's been doing this for two years. She mystery shops, she finds places giving away freebies and she merchandises. And now she's an expert. OK. I don't think 2 years is enough to be holding seminars. I could be wrong.

Here's the most glaring thing:

Her Mystery Shopping Career is Now OVER.

Her name, her location and her picture are in the Wall Street Journal. The word will get out. She will be spotted as the mystery shopper. Brilliant. Simply brilliant.

Leah
MSPA Silver Certified Shopping the Anchorage Borough and anywhere else my travels take me
MSSIC Leah_Anchorage
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Arlene_HI
Star Contributor

Lawai, HI
USA
676 Posts

Posted - 06/10/2003 :  6:09:06 PM
Just got a copy of the article - really misleading. Get ready for a flood of newbies. I never knew MS was this easy LOL. BTW, nothing against newbies (if you want to work and aren't just looking for easy money).

"Pulling out of the car dealership she saw a bridal shop and made another $15 for trying on dresses for half an hour." She makes it sound like you can just drive around, shop at random and get paid. Gee, golfing in Hawaii - I LIVE in Hawaii and haven't gotten a golf shop - she makes it sound like they are flying her in, from NY???

And of course, nothing like a mystery shopper having her picture printed in the Wall Street Journal.

BTW.... Saw the WSJ on the plane 5/29 and there was an article about Ronald McDonald. Did you know there are over 250 of them. They make about $40K to start and the average is about $100K. THE Ronald McDonald in the national ads makes $300K, has a bodyguard (kids can be tough not to mention animal rights groups), a scheduler etc.
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EmilyPWa
Valued Contributor

Willard, UT
USA
168 Posts

Posted - 06/10/2003 :  7:01:02 PM  Send EmilyPWa an AOL message
Did anyone else like the reporter calling her a freeloader? I know that I work very hard for the reimbursement on shops. Nothing is really free! Especially some of those reimbursment only shops where you spend hours writing the report.

Emily
Now shopping in the Ogden UT area
MSPA Gold Certified
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Arlene_HI
Star Contributor

Lawai, HI
USA
676 Posts

Posted - 06/10/2003 :  7:40:56 PM
Emily, I have to share this story - the mention of the word "freeloader" reminded me.

When we first moved to HI dh's 10 yr old nephew came to visit us. dh had to work all day but I was always able to take him places and play. He had me explain a couple of times what job I had that I didn't have to go to work. I explained I did "freelance" writing. When he went back to Wisconsin and told the class what he did that summer, he concluded by saying, "When I grow up, I want to be a "freeloader" just like my Aunt Arlene." We still howl over that one.

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Brynne_OH
Contributor

Rocky River, OH
USA
67 Posts

Posted - 06/10/2003 :  7:41:14 PM
quote:
Ms. Voitle, who is slim and blond and gives her age as "somewhere over 30."
That's not a very good description is it? She should not only be able to pinpoint the age, but should add a height, an hair style and a few distinguishing features. I mean she is a shopper right?

MSPA Silver Certified
Shopping Western Cleveland and Suburbs
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Francine Meadows
Inactive

USA
964 Posts

Posted - 06/10/2003 :  7:43:38 PM
The article makes it sound like mystery shopping is a breeze and jobs just come falling into your lap. "Pulling out of the car dealership she saw a bridal shop and made another $15 for trying on dresses for half an hour." I thought that was really misleading. It sounds like she can pick and choose which stores to shop and when without any input from schedulers. The article also does not mention that some of the shop forms can be time consuming. Or that most shops come with detailed instructions on what to do and what not to do.

Francine Meadows
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Jazz
Contributor

USA
54 Posts

Posted - 06/10/2003 :  7:54:41 PM
I agree with all of the comments. The article also does not point out how many hours a day are spent searching web sites for job openings! Or checking e-mails for replys about jobs! This can be extremely time consuming in itself!
Jazz

MSPA Silver Certified
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RobynShopsGA
Member

GA
USA
33 Posts

Posted - 06/10/2003 :  9:21:30 PM
I am wondering just how many letters from incensed and flat out PO'd shoppers the WSJ is going to get over that 'freeloader' remark. That kind of makes it sound like we just pick up free stuff. Any mystery shopper who has ever filled out a report knows the work that went into obtaining the items. Especially if the address was wrong, you had to hunt up salespeople, organize/pay for a fax, etc etc. Not to mention leaving out the entire section on SEARCHING for jobs. hmmm....I might just go write one myself. On second thought make that an anonymous letter. It wouldn't do to have my name and photo printed after all.

This is of course also not counting the numerous irritated letters from all of the aggravated schedulers who will now be flooded with 'flakes' being misled into thinking that there is no actual work involved. Hmm....certification is looking better and better now isn't it?

Given the glowing report that this lady got I'm kind of left pondering the question - I have a feeling that the reporter was a friend of hers and desperate for a story! <giggle>

Happily shopping the wilds of GA!

Robyn
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WendiMobileAL
Valued Contributor

Mobile, AL
USA
233 Posts

Posted - 06/10/2003 :  11:17:40 PM
I actually found it interesting that ICCDS wouldn't comment. I can't believe she allowed them to put her photo in the article. HELLO!!! Guess she will need to teach a seminar, her shopping days may be over. As far as the newbies, I was a newbie not so long ago, but I was a serious newbie. THIS IS NOT FOR EVERYONE!!! Also, to the newbies, you need to know that there are a ton of shoppers, and you will have competition. Be prepared for a lot of hard work, and research!
Wendi

Serving the coast of AL, North West FL, MS and inland areas
MSPA Gold Certified Shopper
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BarbaraNY
Valued Contributor

Rochester, NY
USA
231 Posts

Posted - 06/11/2003 :  05:12:23 AM
I still cannot get over the fact that they put her PICTURE in it!! So, I'm assuming she's retiring because there's NO WAY any company that read that article would EVER hire her again. Talk about being spotted as a shopper!! Sheesh!

BARBARA
MSPA Silver Certified
Happily Shopping Rochester, NY
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Ginger
Member

Reading, PA
USA
29 Posts

Posted - 06/11/2003 :  05:42:17 AM
This article was an infomercial. She now has name recognition and people know what she looks like.
"...she's considering writing a book or holding seminars on living for free."
I bet she expects to start on that book and her seminars now. People who read that article will be very interested in her.

Ginger

Maybe she'll be on Oprah.
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Kanga
Star Contributor

Houston, TX
USA
250 Posts

Posted - 06/11/2003 :  06:16:58 AM
I may be way off base here but in my opinion Jennifer Voite violated an implied vow of secrecy that all professional shoppers embrace. Her flagrant public disclosure of the MS profession in the most public and wide read newspaper in America is just unexcusable. She is anything but professional in my book and she knew better when she agreed to expose her mystery shopping experiences, which I am sure were all a mixture of fact and fantasy. She violated every contract she ever signed. Was a bad decision on her part as she will never work in this field again.

MSAP Silver Certified

MSPA Gold Certified #xixazy
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ElizabethBowen
Contributor

NC
USA
87 Posts

Posted - 06/11/2003 :  07:06:45 AM
While I agree with the comments here, I would have to question whether or not this person's real name AND photo were used. I have a copy of the WSJ in front of me right now, and the photo isn't a real one, but rather a seemingly computerized image. Surely if she's smart enough to figure out how to make this much per month, she's smart enough to maintain some level of anonymity. And if I read correctly, she's only been at this since last summer, when her electricity and phone were shut off. (remember, that's when she "woke up...")

I'd be interested in hearing from Customer Perspectives as to why this wouldn't be considered an ICA violation.

Elizabeth
MSPA GOLD Certified
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