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 Company changed shop specs because of cheating!
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.KaBryant
Inactive

Scottsdale, AZ
USA
31 Posts

Posted - 07/25/2003 :  08:52:50 AM
I regularly do shops for a company that requires one to visit a location and verify information. I login today to print out my forms and find the parameters have changed and a new signature sheet is required for the client to sign after you are done. In the instructions it said that shoppers have been calling the location instead of actually going there and now this is necessary to insure they really did go. I have been reading peoples posts on here and many have replied with the attitude that they are the perfect shoppers who follow the rules to a "t" and then I find this. I have never called one of these places unless the company told me to try and do by phone. This instance was a result of the customer refusing to answer his door if someone came by and I was told to try and obtain the information via phone. He never would tell me what I needed to know and the company ended up cancelling the shop anyway. This must have happened quite a bit and not just in my state to have made it such an issue. If everyone wants to be so literal and take their shops as seriously as they claim, doing them whether they can drive there or not because of a "bad headache", etc., then some are not being honest. This additional form is not a big deal to me because I don't cheat on my shops. I may have cancelled and some shame me for that in additional to being thin skinned. But cheating is unthinkable, and some have done the unthinkable, not me thank goodness.

KatherineM
Contributor

TX
USA
89 Posts

Posted - 07/25/2003 :  09:20:18 AM
Is that surprising to you that some people have cheated, thus setting up the need for the change in specs?

"I have been reading peoples posts on here and many have replied with the attitude that they are the perfect shoppers who follow the rules to a "t" and then I find this."

And are you trying to compare the small of percentage of people that responded to your post to ALL shoppers (wait, lets make that cheating shoppers)...I'm not sure where you are going with this....are you just sharing information on the new specs?

(And..yes, I do know what a migraine is...I had them from age 5 to 22...I was diagnosed with that condition, and when they "disappeared" in my early 20s, my doctor chalked it up to a change in hormones. At the time, there was nothing but codeine, but I made it through elementary, jr high, high school and part of college with 'em...not a ball, but glad they are gone)
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Mary Alice G
Member

Richardson, TX
USA
16 Posts

Posted - 07/25/2003 :  09:23:39 AM
I got the same information from the company about the signature being required. The company did say that it was because some shoppers have called rather than visited the locations in person. I must say, though, that my initial response was not to come accuse Volition posters of being cheaters. I think more and more companies are going to be requiring signatures, digital photos, or other types of proof that a shop was actually done. Due to the shopping industry becoming more and more computerized (the pros and cons of which have been discussed extensively), companies do not know their shoppers as well. Requiring proof is another way to insure that shops are done ethically. Personally, I think that the majority of Volition members are the least likely to have been the cheaters. Being defensive and accusing others of cheating only makes you stand out more. JMHO

Mary Alice
Shopping Dallas and the northern suburbs
MSPA Gold Certified kmfks8
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.KaBryant
Inactive

Scottsdale, AZ
USA
31 Posts

Posted - 07/25/2003 :  09:33:16 AM
I am not saying any or everyone here has cheated. But someone has and it had to have happened more than once in other areas besides my state. If anyone is thinking I am pointing the finger at them directly, then maybe they are being thin skinned instead. I have also seen these shops selected them declined again and probably someone who knew the old rules, suddenly reads the new rules and finds they actually have to physically go and do the shop. The issue here is cheating, the company has addressed it and made changes to it, again they are not issues that affect me, except for someone putting their John Hancock on a piece of paper to prove I was there. My problem is someone taking short-cuts to get a shop done. I'd much rather cancel because I couldn't or wouldn't do all that was needed to complete the shop, than disobey the companies orders in place for the shop.
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JulesDV
Contributor

TX
USA
53 Posts

Posted - 07/25/2003 :  09:33:29 AM
Most shoppers who post on this forum are looking to gain knowledge from shoppers with more experience, or are more experienced shoppers looking to share knowledge with less experienced shoppers. There is no point in posting on a board of this nature asking for the input of others if you are going to be too close-minded to take into consideration what they tell you. It would not have hurt anyone, the scheduler especially, had you kept your experience to yourself. However, you chose to post it, and got less than favorable responses. Deal with it.
To now, attack the shoppers on this forum simply based on changed shop specifications from one company is just insulting to those members of this forum. Yes, there are some shoppers who cheat. Just as there are some shoppers who reschedule shops and then cancel at the last minute. Neither one fulfilled the shop requirements, and neither one complied with the agreement signed when becoming a certified shopper. Thus, they're both wrong, and cause more work for those involved.
PS. You might want to read the thread regarding schedulers reading this forum and the perceptions taken from the postings.

MSPA Silver Certified 7oyxfy.
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.KaBryant
Inactive

Scottsdale, AZ
USA
31 Posts

Posted - 07/25/2003 :  10:00:40 AM
No one is taking at anyone in particular. Many probably read this forum but don't post here. I guess I was shocked that this became enough of an issue to change the rules. I admit cancelling a shop shortly before it's due was a bad thing to do but I don't make a habit of it whether anyone believes it or not. This is not an accusation but a warning to anyone who might consider doing this in the future. In my opinion, completing a shop via phone versus in-person would be worse than cancelling because you flat out lied to the company about doing the shop. Cancelling means you accepted the shop, agreeing to do it and then said you couldn't do the shop for whatever reason. The rules of this shop even in the beginning said you must go to the site and some of the sites I have visited have been less than desirable, greasy parking lots, guard dogs on chains(pitbulls especially) and people who were very suspicious at why I was there and couldn't speak much English. Others have been very nice and friendly, offering me coffee, donuts, etc. If I offended anyone by accusing them, I apologize. I am woman enough to do that. But I am furious that some have chosen to follow this route but if extra documentation ensures the company that the shop has been done according to the rules, then good for them. Maybe some who are guilty of this may read this and realize that cheaters never prosper.
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MandyMershon
Valued Contributor

Kyle, TX
USA
187 Posts

Posted - 07/25/2003 :  10:34:24 AM
The tone of the original post certainly did not five me the impression of a warning to shoppers who may be cheating on their shops. It really seemed more like, "If all of you think you are so perfect then why are they making shops harder because of cheating? Now I have to do more work because of you." You latest post clarifies this a bit. I agree with you that it is worse to fudge on a shop than cancel it but honestly good shoppers do neither. I am curious though, Kabryant, do you ever have anything positive to say? You do not seem to enjoy mystery shopping and you seem to have been at it a while. All the posts I have read from you lately have been negative and accusitory and you don't seem to listen to the feedback you have been given. I do notice on this post that you finally take some responsibility for cancelling the shop in your other thread but you still don't seem to think you really did anything wrong there. Just my two cents...

Mandy Mershon
Shopping Central Texas including Austin, San Marcos, and Bastrop
MSPA Gold Certified Shopper # nkbd8u
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Leisa
Star Contributor

USA
530 Posts

Posted - 07/25/2003 :  11:58:33 AM
Well to get back on topic...
I do not know who this company is that revised their guidelines, but they are not the first company to do so and will not be the last.
Last year some time, a situation like this came up for shopping the Gateway Computer Stores. The company had to re-iterate that the shopper had to physically go and complete the shop and provide proof by submitting a business card. All of this because some shoppers (the company said) were calling the location then filling out their report.

So it does happen and probably more often than any of us really know about. Is it right or fair? No way! But as a reminder to everyone who shops for a particular company, the shopping company is revising and reminding each shopper that they are required to follow the strict guidelines that we as shoppers agree to.

So there is my input and 50 cents worth.
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.ColleenNYC
Inactive

New York City, NY
USA
1700 Posts

Posted - 07/25/2003 :  1:01:29 PM
I dont see many shops listed that dont require a receipt, business card, or signature. Honesty (like charity) begins at home.
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Patricia_IN
Valued Contributor

Peru, IN
USA
225 Posts

Posted - 07/25/2003 :  1:11:16 PM
I take my work seriously. If the client wants a receipt, a signature, a photo...what difference does it make to me. I turn in my work in a timely manner and to the best of my ability. That is what I am paid to do. I don't think that I need warnings to do my job in a professional manner.

shopping Logansport, Kokomo, Peru, Rochester, and Wabash
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.ShannonPA
Inactive

PA
USA
415 Posts

Posted - 07/25/2003 :  1:25:22 PM
quote:
Originally posted by Kabryant

I have been reading peoples posts on here and many have replied with the attitude that they are the perfect shoppers who follow the rules to a "t" and then I find this... But cheating is unthinkable, and some have done the unthinkable, not me thank goodness.

Why did you post this here? It really does come across as though you are accusing us at this particular forum of cheating on shops. As though you are lecturing us. There are thousands and thousands of MSers out there, many of whom don't visit this site. Maybe they are the ones cheating. Maybe everyone here DOES "follow the rules to a 't'".
I am not trying to be nasty with you, but please re-read what you write before you post it for all to see. You come across as accusatory here in this particular post.
I DO agree with you it is worse to lie about a shop than to cancel at the last minute. I just think that finding out that others cheat made you feel alot better about yourself.

MSPA Gold Certified uwjrsy
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Jay R
Valued Contributor

Shelton, CT
USA
126 Posts

Posted - 07/25/2003 :  1:49:25 PM
If shoppers can get a accurate description of the employee over the phone, then.. lets just say with their psychic abilities I'm sure they would be doing more than 12 dollar shops!

10 yrs experience. MSPA Gold Certified #ggu7ew
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CabrusoBros
Star Contributor

NC
USA
744 Posts

Posted - 07/25/2003 :  2:59:49 PM
Yes, it is a sad world we live in where someone cutting corners causes those of us who don't to get penalized for being in the same industry. However, "ghosting" has been around a long time and it will likely always be. If human nature didn't subscribe to such theories, we could all leave our doors unlocked at night and never have to worry about our families falling to harm.

Example: this past week, we reviewed a time sheet for a rep who claims to have worked 18 hours on what is a 2 hour task. Giving her the benefit of the doubt is one thing. Giving her payment for services not rendered is another. I am amazed at store employees who will sign blank time sheets without questioning what they are signing. I am amazed that a rep will submit a time sheet for 4 different days signed by the same manager. We have to determine what she would have done in that store for an additional 16 hours and she expresses to us her "frustration." The rep's supervisor insists we need to pay this rep. Myself and my supervisor cannot justify this.

Back to the original post...I sense a finger pointed at other posters and judgement on their "attitude" and "to a t perfection." I am sure the company that you do these shops for is quite pleased "you don't cheat on your shops." NOONE should cheat on shops, but it happens. Just accept that the extra steps are a necessary part of our jobs.
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.StephanieA
Inactive

Redmond, WA
USA
1816 Posts

Posted - 07/25/2003 :  6:12:48 PM
I am a little confused here!! How can this be a mystery shop if you have to have someone sign a piece of paper saying you shopped them?? Getting a business card, a receipt and overall a good physical description would work best. At least your anonymity is keep.

Shopping WA especially, Redmond, Kirkland, Bellevue, Woodinville and from Tukwila to Lynnwood.
MSPA Gold
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.Denese In Denver
Inactive

Las Vegas, NV
USA
70 Posts

Posted - 07/25/2003 :  9:11:23 PM  Visit .Denese In Denver's Homepage
Kabrynt, maybe we need to consider the client source? If we are talking about the same one, they are notorious "doubting Thomas" to begin with.

If you've never suffered through a "depression", then you might not have experienced the doubt, but considering their main line of business, then the verification is something I would have expected earlier.
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Barbara N.CA
Star Contributor

San Francisco, CA
USA
2397 Posts

Posted - 07/25/2003 :  11:20:43 PM
I apologize for my previous response in this thread. I was disgusted with some of the posts here and posted a sarcastic response. I came back to remove it but it was already gone. I have not received a warning from the moderators on this yet but I just emailed them an apology.

I'm sorry for any and all who read my previous response and was offended by it.

Barbara
MSPA Gold Shopper since June, 2003.
MSPA 2005 "Go To" Shopper
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JasonTX
Member

Pensacola, FL
USA
33 Posts

Posted - 07/25/2003 :  11:33:31 PM
Oftentimes, (is that a word?), anyway, often...as we all know, some instructions for shops are extremely cumbersome and ramble on forever. I used to find it ridiculous how much of it was simply common sense. "Get a name and description of the associate. Note their hair length, color, yadda yadda yadda". Duh. Then I realized the companies do not repeat all of this basic information for every single job because shoppers are idiots, they do it because they are covering their behinds from shoppers "trying to get away with" something. We all know to get a receipt, a business card, a lock of hair, whatever, to prove we were there. But obviously, SOMEBODY is finding a loophole somewhere. I think every time it is advertised that this is a quick route to Easy Street, the influx of cheaters jumps dramatically. It's been posted many times how quickly newbies drop out because it is harder than they thought. I'm sure many don't drop out, but figure out how to cheat instead. All of us have a company or two that if we were dishonestly inclined, we could work the system to our advantage. Personally, I am uncomfortable taking jobs that don't require me to get some sort of proof. Okay, I am just rambling...but, I agree with those who have posted that it's the nature of the business. And, I also agree, that the cheaters are most likely not active forum participants. (The Wise Sages that patrol these boards would spot them and call them out in a heartbeat, I do believe.)

Now let's all think happy thoughts so we can bring some much needed positivity back to these wonderful forums!

I hereby bless all shoppers reading this with an abundance of nametags, upsells, increased fees, and more well-stocked bathrooms than any one shopper could possibly handle.

Shopping Pensacola, FL and surrounding areas
MSPA Silver Certified
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Andie
Valued Contributor

Sealy, TX
USA
166 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2003 :  12:12:02 AM
Some of you were asking how do they get a way with this? Obviously they DO NOT! That is how the company knows it is happening!! They may not always catch it or catch it on the first time but the cheaters do get caught. So next time someone thinks about cheating, remember you will get caught.

To answer the question above - How do they get a physical description? I came up with 3 ways without spending much time thinking about it (I guess I need to stop reading all of those mystery books, I am developing a criminal mind).

I just don't see why someone would risk their integrity by faking a $10 shop (or any amount of money). Don't you just wonder how these people sleep at night? Oh that is right, they lack a conscience.

Andie
Gold Certified, CCSE
Small Town TX
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Gennia
Contributor

Alabama
USA
51 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2003 :  03:44:08 AM
I so much enjoy reading my fellow shoppers remarks. I too can not understand why someone would intentionally not do their work. Thats what I am paid to do. I follow instructions to the best of my ability and just thought that everyone else would be doing the same. We all have the same goal. Its a job, its a pay check and I really enjoy my job. It sure beats being in a business 9-5 every day with the same folks to deal with. I did that for 30 years and now I am the boss. I love it. The schedulers are wonderful. I hope folks take this seriously and do their best so we can all benefit. You know it takes only one bad apple to spoil the pot.

Happily shopping Al and Tn.
MSPA#xp29sy

Happily shopping N Alabama and S Tennessee
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Karen0224
Member

Painesville, OH
USA
24 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2003 :  06:15:34 AM
I can put in two cents here from the other side. Maybe requiring someone to sign off, etc. is just a way to keep the company shopped from going into denial. I recently worked for a bank that was shopped regularly. At first we didn't require a description of the employee who was shopped. Sometimes I'd read through the shop results and wonder if the shopper was shopping on Mars. There is no way I could say the shopper didn't do the shop correctly, but if the marks were bad it was an easy way for me to deny we had a service problem. We started requiring names and in certain shops, business cards. This took away all doubt that the shopper was actually shopping the employee they were supposed to. It also made it easier for me to correct the service problems.

Another thing that helped us get more accurate results was shortening the shop format. Now that I am a shopper I realize that its pretty darn hard to conduct a shop and remember each of a 1,000 details! I think that results in general are more accurate if the company being shopped sticks to what is most important to them.

Again, just my two cents!
Karen

MSAP Silver Certified
Shopping Northeast Ohio
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MaureenLu
Star Contributor

Dallas, TX
USA
283 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2003 :  06:44:14 AM
I have to echo Barbara N. CA sentiments. I too posted what I thought was a funny, but sarcastic remark to the OP. Mine too, was deleted before I thought better of it and went to remove it myself. I apologized to the moderators via email and now I'm apologizing to y'all and most importantly the OP in case anyone read it and was offended by it. My deepest apologies (I'm bowing at the waist, head hanging low, hand out in forgiveness...)
-Maureen

MSPA Gold Certified
Shopping the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex
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