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 Shops you wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole?
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Star Contributor

Reston, Virginia
300 Posts

Posted - 06/11/2003 :  09:01:12 AM  Send Janice-NoVA an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
I'll never do another Jenny Craig. I didn't believe what they were telling me about their program and then they kept calling to try to make me sign up.
Janice Porter

Janice Porter
Shops Northern Virginia, Maryland and DC
Gold Certified June 2003
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Star Contributor

Tampa, FL
1352 Posts

Posted - 06/11/2003 :  10:29:33 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I am pretty game for anything ONCE. I think it is really fun to do different shops and compare them.
In one two week period, I did a bridal shop, a baby shop, health club, day care, extended living facility and ended with funeral homes. My life in a nutshell... WEIRD!!!
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95 Posts

Posted - 06/11/2003 :  7:18:34 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Really now, I wouldn’t do the famous home improvement shop if there were no purchase and return. Now let’s see – how many times is it you walk the race track? And how many associates are you to pass before you begin taking names. And what color apron is it they must have on? And how many departments is it that you must visit and interact. And how long is it that you are to remain in the store? Have I left anything out? Really now!

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Anaheim Hills, CA
43 Posts

Posted - 06/11/2003 :  7:56:24 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
A tattoo shop? How interesting! I can see where a shop would hire someone to come in -- I've been in plenty where the counter boy has been a total jerk!

I won't touch the extra lengthy, no-pay, yucky fast food jobs with a ten foot pole. I may still be new to this (seven months) but they make me want to tuck my tail between my legs and run away (fast).

[ Shopping Orange County, CA | MSPA Gold Certified ]
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Brantford, Ontario
1 Posts

Posted - 06/11/2003 :  8:49:09 PM  Visit EstherG's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Hey MS'ers! I am new here, so please excuse any improprieties!

I loved reading all your comments on what you will and will not do. It is very helpful to a newbie like me.

The comment about the 10 foot pole and the home improvement store made me laugh my guts out. My idea is to take a 10 foot pole and never touch it to that store!!!

That store was one of the first ones I did, and I thought I was so lucky to 'get' it!! (Talk about NEWBIE!!). NEVER AGAIN. Sometimes I look at their 'jobs available' page, just for a laugh. When I see that store come up...I feel so sorry for some poor sucker (like me) who will accept it and then one day be adding their comments to boards like this.... how many shoppers must they go through? I wonder how many 'regular' shoppers they have?

Because I was such a newbie, tll told, I only made about $2 an hour on that shop! I know you can't get rich MSing, but come on!!! I must have been in the store about 4 hours (with my husband waiting outside no less!!!!!)

I took all the instructions so seriously....it me took almost an hour to locate all the items on the cover of the sales flyer, never mind trying to figure out who made eye contact with me and who hadn't, and then why hadn't they, while at the same time keeping a running tally, and trying to remember if I had already counted the SA before in one of the previous HOURS or 'racetrack' trips......

Finally, I left with my purchase. I felt like an idiot trucking my huge cart and its huge contents from the exit in that huge cart, over to the entrance, and then in again to return it. I don't think feeling like an idiot should be part of MSing. I wouldn't mind returning the item on a different day, and getting paid to do a second shop. That would be so much more reasonable.

Do 'real' shoppers really spend 3 1/2 hours shopping for something ?(keep in mind, I am a NEWBIE) Do real shohppers empassionately convince the salesperson they need a certain item, even though (since the salesperson has recommend everything else under the sun for my 'project'. Do real shoppers turn around and return items IMMEDIATELY???? Am I the only one who thinks that the 'return' must be an insider 'tipoff' to the employee on 'returns' that they were just 'shopped'?

By the time I left the store, I was so frustrated, tired and irritated - the LAST thing I felt like doing was writing up a report!!!

The only good that came out of is knowing I will never have to face that 'shop' again!!

Is there a thread already started on this 'home improvement' store? I bet it would be pretty hilarious. Is that allowed on these boards?

Keep up the good work and tips ya'll!
lategates in Canada.

A rose smells sweet but cabbage makes better soup
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Valued Contributor

108 Posts

Posted - 06/12/2003 :  12:48:13 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I will try just about anything once, but the home improvement shop was even one I passed over as a newbie.
Generally, I will not do purchase/return shops. I just don't feel comfortable.
Since I am getting more experience under my belt and getting more offers, I am becoming more selective so I am shying away from the drive thru/dine in FF shops.

I am doing my first Bank shop this weekend and would like to try an apartment shop to see how I like it.

MSPA Gold Certified
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Vernon, CT
42 Posts

Posted - 06/12/2003 :  1:18:59 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I am also pretty new at this, so I don't know all of these shops you guys are talking about, but it is so helpful to see this and know what to AVOID! My first shop was a hardware store and I was SO nervous about it. I have enjoyed almost every shop I have done so far except one where the reimbursement won't cover my purchase because there was NOTHING in the store for the amount allotted. I feel so excited when I get to do these shops that I think I forget to get annoyed. (Give me time and some of these bad ones and I may change my tune!) I did something recently which was an audit instead of a shop and I didn't like that as well, but I would probably just stick more with shopping where I can be discreet. This is so much fun to see what everyone thinks about things!

Carrie Fornal =)
New in Connecticut

MSPA Gold Certification ouna7a
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Sandi In Mississippi
Star Contributor

1285 Posts

Posted - 06/12/2003 :  1:40:21 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I really enjoyed the last 3 posts - as well as most everything in this thread! It's good to see what new shoppers think about some of the weiiiiiiiiird things we're asked to do. L0L.

Esther, I think you make good points describing your experience. Hopefully some of those "lurking schedulers and company owners" will read and think through that one. Part of what makes sloppy, non-compliant (and sometimes dishonest) shoppers is those type of scenarios.

Shops like that take strong character to go ahead and do the shop as intended even with stupid directions. In your heart you know that shortcutting or faking is about as low as it gets - yet halfway through you realize you are actually going to lose money on the shop in addition to looking like a fool. Live and learn. I've gotten through several of this type shops (once) by just remembering that the employees being evaluated have no control over the shop circumstances and deserve a fair rating. That and eating chocolate immediately afterward. Happy shopping!

MSPA Gold Shopper
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23 Posts

Posted - 06/23/2003 :  08:54:22 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have accepted just about every job that I have been offered. I enjoy the "new" and "unusual" As a newbie, well maybe not so newbie now, I just celebrated my 6 month anniversary...I knew I needed the experience and the exposure between myself and the various companies. Now I am able to be a bit more discriminating. I have to admit though, I never did the french fry, burger-shop because my husband worked there for a few years while in college. I don't think I miss not being able to do that shop after reading what many of you have posted. As far as the home improvement shops: well, deep breath here, I have applied but never been accepted. Maybe the gods look out for me?

MSPA ~Silver Certification~ Successfully Shopping AL/GA Anniston, Jacksonville, Piedmont, Centre, Gadsden, Fort Payne/Rome, Cedartown, Cave spring, Kennesaw and surrounding areas.
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89 Posts

Posted - 06/23/2003 :  5:36:04 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Anyone remember the "truck stop shower shops"?...I actually did two, and I was very "new" when offered those assignments. Perhaps some folks didn't mind.....but oh, those shops made me incredibly uptight and nervous! I will never say "NEVER"....but at this moment, NO! Come to think of it, I've not seen any of these listed in quite some time, but then again, I'm not exactly searching them out.
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Wake Forest, NC
79 Posts

Posted - 06/23/2003 :  10:53:54 PM  Visit .TamaraDLeonard's Homepage  Send .TamaraDLeonard an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
*I won't do purchase and return shops
*I am VERY picky about FF shops, because I don't LIKE FF...it depends on the free and reimbursement, because I can bring some stuff back for the guys that work for me...my dogs won't even eat chicken sandwiches from FF shops either LOL
*NO home improvement shops...I drive a sports car...and I am not dumb enough to go buy 2x4x8's that I know won't fit and would rip the convertible top, and then go back in and return them cuz they wouldn't fit in the car!
*Most MALL shops I won't do because I hate malls ICK

I know it is amazing, a MSer who really hates to shop LOL All of MY shopping, I do on the internet (well all I can), and have it delivered to my home

Tamara D. Leonard
NC Pro MSer Extraordinaire
MSPA Gold Certification # t0rsji since 11-16-2002
2003 NCPMS Secret Shopper of the Year
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Star Contributor

Dallas, TX
283 Posts

Posted - 06/24/2003 :  05:47:49 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Caitstuart - that's so funny you mention about the truck stop shower shops. I was MS'ing on vacation 2 weeks ago and was bored one day so thought I'd see (MS-wise) what was around this sort of small but resort destination town. So I'm reading the description going, "ok - this doesn't sound too bad for $xx.00"...until I get to that bit about the shower!! Buh-bye....logout please. I like how the company stuck that in the guidelines last - I almost bit!

Shop I wouldn't touch again (I would even do the home improvement shop before this one): Pretending to remodel my entire kitchen and talking to the sales person about every type of appliance (dishwasher, stove, oven, refrigerator, sink, garbage disposal) and then report what model numbers they showed you on of ALL the above, what colors they were, what the features and price are and what they recommended over which brand. Oh - and how many different types within each brand of each appliance. It was a freakin' nightmare!! My husband and I fought afterwards (I made him come with me to help remember details) and I actually cried while filling out the report (Up until then I didn't think my tear glands worked - I just don't cry!). I fired off an email to the scheduler (and she is sooo sweet!) about how horrible it was and to please tell her client. She did send a very nice response. All this was for less that $18!! I still see it posted as "easy appliance shop - no purchase necessary" Easy my eyeball!! (still moist from crying....) Just dredging up this memory will probably cause another nightmare where I'm trapped in the dishwasher saying, "Whirlpool, model xjs6 $239, Maytag, #kfh7 $219, Thermador double oven (stainless steel) model wor98 $1,522, etc........."

MSPA Gold Certified
Shopping the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex
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Star Contributor

462 Posts

Posted - 06/24/2003 :  05:48:42 AM  Visit ElaineHN's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Shop'nChek has their electronic store reimbursement only shop in my area back up!!!! If the darn shop paid a FEE in addition to the reimbursement, I'd be happy to do it ... it's not that far out of the way for me, I can always buy a few packs of batteries or a calculator or something small ... but I'm just not going to do it for nothing but the reimbursement!!!! Maybe if it were a meal I'd be paying for anyway or even some super item that I'd always wanted ... but just for an icky ole electronics store ... no way ... I want a fee for this one!

~*~ Shopping West Georgia (Carrollton, Douglasville, Newnan, etc.) & Metro Atlanta ~*~
MSPA Gold Certified Shopper
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Star Contributor

Bourbonnais (S. of Chicago), IL
2015 Posts

Posted - 06/24/2003 :  07:21:02 AM  Visit Heather86's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
I didn't mind the truck stop shops even with a shower. If they give you a funny look just tell them your water heater is on the fritz.
I never actually took a shower in there, but used the time to write notes on my eval sheet. I did change clothes and wet my hair so it looked like I showered there. I had the shower on while I was in there to so it was more believable. I have done these shops about three times. There is a decent fee, $8 reimbursement for anything in the gas station and $6.00 for drive through and another 6 for dine in. The best part is you don't have to order "beef", or "Chicken" with items off the dollar menu. I get the food I like, a nice salad, ice cream, ect...

I would do these again. I know at one point they were asking for people to do certain locations each month for a year commitment. I do them every 6 months or so. After a while people will recognize you and tell you to go buy a new water heater.
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Bakersfield, CA
90 Posts

Posted - 06/24/2003 :  10:08:39 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
LOL Heather! When I started MS'ing 7 months ago, these "eat, shower, shop and gas" assignments were the only thing offered in my area from this company. I almost considered it because I read a post by you on the old Volition board about how much you liked these shops. But, they are 100 miles round trip for me, and even though I thought about it to get my "foot in the door" with this company, I decided against it. Since then, they have been on the board every month, and NO ONE takes them. So...My hat's off to you!

MSPA Gold Certified Shopper
MSSIC: CentralCalGal
Shopping Bakersfield, CA, surrounding areas and LOVING it!
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Marion, IA
1 Posts

Posted - 06/24/2003 :  12:19:38 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I've done my last apartment shop.

I had to make at least 11 long distance calls to get the right who to shop, drive 127 miles, and now they want me to fax in the report and backup material which will cost me $22. Oh, and fill out a detailed 9 page report. Never again.

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Valued Contributor

Terre Haute, IN
191 Posts

Posted - 06/24/2003 :  2:34:38 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Shops that I'll no longer due are the FF shops for a lousy $7. I did start out completing them, but they've gotton restriction happy now, so it's more of a hassle than it's worth. It's amazing how many in my area are still available this month [:p]

I've never had the opportunity to complete an apartment shop because there's none in my area, but not sure that I even would want to try.

I will no longer do the grocery store jobs that have since been lowered to $10. I had done them for the prior 2 companies, but for all of the work $10 is way too little money for me. My grocery budget has gone back up, but no more stressing over finding 10 employees.

Marcy ~ mystery shopper in western Indiana.
MSPA Silver Shopper certified #ijjaaf
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DM Griffin
Valued Contributor

Hayward, CA
112 Posts

Posted - 06/24/2003 :  7:13:07 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Personally, I refuse to shop the fitness centers anymore. I used to do them awhile back, but I got very tired of the extreme pressure from the employees to become a member. Once, I actually had employees standing in front of me and refusing to let me leave until I gave them an acceptable reason as to why I would not join that day. They would NOT take NO for an answer. Those shops are such a nightmare.

The other ones that I won't do anymore are weight loss centers. Those too, are very high pressured. In my experience, they have belittled me to make me feel very obese and very unhealthy. Also, the called me for months afterwards (as did the fitness centers) to find out when I would be making a decision to make a committment to be a "healthier" person.

Lastly, like others have said on this board, I am getting pretty tired of the fast food shops also. They don't pay very well, and it just isn't worth it to evaluate the dining room and the drive through for the small fees they offer.

On the other hand, I love credit union and bank shops. And, unlike many others, I really enjoy Apartment shops. I like writing narratives, and I like the good shop fees that these types of shops offer.

Shopping the East Bay in Northern California
Silver Certification# r3qqxe
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Rhonda in Michigan

Shelby Township, MI
37 Posts

Posted - 06/25/2003 :  01:34:42 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I stopped doing those fast food shops for $7 not because of the el cheapo price and the restrictions, but I am now on Weight Watchers. In eight weeks I have lost 19 1/2 lbs!

As for the fitness shops, the only thing I take with me is my keys - no purse, no wallet. When they ask for the sale, I tell them I do not have thay type of cash on me. Then when they ask for a credit card or check, I say I do not take them with me. Very plain and simple. If they see I don't have it, they may aske me to come back, but I have yet to be pestered by a salesperson.

MSPA Silver Certification
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Valued Contributor

Cherry Hill, NJ
212 Posts

Posted - 06/26/2003 :  04:22:36 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
OK I have to admit I just did one of the shops I stated I would never do you know the bathroom vanity and return shop but they were offering $25 ( the highest I ever saw this job offered for) and I was going into the same shopping center for some other work. So I bit the bullet and while it still was a bit of a weird shop I've done worse and it seemed almost worth the $25. I must admit I was in a well staffed location so it was not difficult to find associates so I did not need to stay more than the 45 minutes noted on the instructions. Even the vanity part wasn't too bad. I found an associate did the scenario, choose the cheapest combo vanity and top unit and had him load it into my flatbed cart. I then went through checkout wrote down the required info near my car and wheeled it right to returns. I never even touched the box. Filling out the shop form is very easy. I think I may do it again for $25. Maybe LOL

Gold Certified Shopper in South Jersey - Cherry Hill, Marlton, Voorhees, Moorestown, Mt. Laurel, Berlin, Medford and other neighboring towns.
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