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

St. Louis, MO
USA
733 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2009 :  08:08:46 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I avoid those purchase and return jobs, but sometimes the lure of any money is too much. I try to stick with those I can return at a later date. Credit cards are the way to go if you want the receipt, you have to hang on to that receipt to be sure you'ved received your credit anyway. I almost always say I'm shopping for a gift so when it's time to return, I either found something more appropriate or I got a phone call saying the recipient needed something else.

Lisa
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David Richard
Valued Contributor

Providence, Rhode Island
USA
207 Posts

Posted - 05/16/2009 :  11:32:27 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I avoid any shop where the details are not available before applying or accepting the job. Against my better judgment, I did so recently for a store very near my location. The listing did supply the client, the pay, the type of shop, and the dates to shop. The listing did not make available the questionnaire or what types of evaluations to conduct. After eleven or twelve interactions in the store, more than two and one half hours to enter the shop with more than 300 questions on a awkward spreadsheet, I learned my lesson.


PS, No, the pay was below minimum wage and it won't get significantly better the second time.

Happily shopping
Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts.
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KenASch
Star Contributor

Camarillo, CA
USA
689 Posts

Posted - 05/17/2009 :  3:50:38 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I recently completed my last bar integrity shop. The instructions required I sit at the bar for 90 minutes, order two drinks and observe three other transactions. The level of detail expected is more than I can handle and still have a relaxing time at the bar. Not only do they want to know the names of the drinks ordered by customers (or the shape of the glass, color of the drink, etc if you didn't hear the order) but they also ask for the amount of the order that is on the register screen. I have yet to see a register screen that I can read from the other side of the bar. You do get to order an appetizer and there is a small payment above the reimbursement but it is just too much work for me to justify another one. Also, the Sassie form is confusing, repetitive, and does not easily fit all situations causing me to force some answers to get the form to be accepted. Some of the commentary sections do not apply so I entered n/a only to have the form give me an error for not entering enough characters. No wonder these seem to last a long time on the available shops list.

Ken S
Gold Shopper
Shopping Ventura County California
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Alan-Texas
Star Contributor

Arlington, TX
USA
542 Posts

Posted - 05/18/2009 :  2:06:27 PM  Visit Alan-Texas's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Although I've never officially done a bar integrity shop, I've seen enough of the instructions to know some of what they expect. So when I have to sit at a bar as part of a restaurant shop, I try to see just how much I can observe. Not only have I never been able to see the price charged for a drink on their registers, but I also am rarely able to see what types/brands of alcohol are being used to make up certain drinks. Heck, for that matter you can rarely hear what someone is ordering unless they stand right next to you anyway.

I would love to hear from some one who has successfully done one of these bar integrity shops to tell us how the heck they did them.

Alan A.
MSPA Silver Certified
Shopping the Dallas / Ft. Worth area since 2005
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Cilla
Star Contributor

MD
USA
1433 Posts

Posted - 05/18/2009 :  4:31:43 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Since I do not drive at night, and never after a drink, I only do bar shops that are part of my overnight hotel shops. I find that so few mixed drinks are ordered that describing the pouring and the "dressing" of mixed drinks is very rarely an issue. Is that just because I shop from VA to NY? I wonder. Here it's 99% wine and beer. (Yup, the BT was freepouring that beer. )

In addition, the idea of being able to see the POS computer screen from a position at the bar is a joke. On rare occasions the screen faces me, at a distance of from 6 to 10 or more feet. More often, it is turned with its back to the bar patrons. And, then, there is the issue of "the tip box" or jar or whatever. I have yet to be able to see where a cash tip goes; almost every paton pays by signing the check or using a credit card. Where business travelers stay, there is just not much cash for any employee to fool around with.

Cilla
MSPA Gold Certified 2005
IMSC Certified 2009
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KenASch
Star Contributor

Camarillo, CA
USA
689 Posts

Posted - 05/18/2009 :  5:11:53 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I just received my review from the editor and I received a 7 with the following comments:

"please attempt to observe and detail specific drink brands and food in your observed customer transactions. Your descriptions were very general."

As I said, that shop will be my last bar integrity. At least I will get paid for it.


Ken S
Gold Shopper
Shopping Ventura County California
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PamInCa
Star Contributor

CA
USA
6556 Posts

Posted - 05/18/2009 :  6:43:51 PM  Visit PamInCa's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
These jobs are easier for folks with a background in the restaurant/bar industry. Once you see a drink made 500 hundred times, you can tell what the bartender is preparing by the bottle of liquour used, the juice being added and whatever other additions might be added, such as lime juice, vermouth or grenandine. Sometimes you can tell just by the shape of the bottle. I am glad to hear you are getting paid.

PamInCa
Author of: "The Essential Guide to Mystery Shopping"
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David Richard
Valued Contributor

Providence, Rhode Island
USA
207 Posts

Posted - 05/18/2009 :  7:07:24 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I feel your pain.

Beyond what PamInCA said,

It's really about if the bartender is taking in the correct money for the house and giving out the correct products. Consider sitting at a bar and observing with this in mind - even asking the bartender how the system works. If you get a bit more familiar with the way it works, I'm sure you can do a good job on another bar integrity shop.

Happily shopping
Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts.
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ShopperDee
Star Contributor

USA
416 Posts

Posted - 05/19/2009 :  9:56:30 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ellinbeth

My no-nos are: ...Veterinary visits---way too traumatizing for my 16 yo cat to be brought into the vet!



That's funny. I took my cat on those shops when she was 15 and 17.

The reimbursement made a nice dent in the geriatric panel of blood tests, something she needed at her age..


Dee
MSPA Gold
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JNorthup
Valued Contributor

Toledo, OH
USA
165 Posts

Posted - 05/25/2009 :  08:29:22 AM  Send JNorthup an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
I'd avoid purchase and return shops. Too time consuming and I dont get anything for free. Ive done a lot of those bar integrity shops, I can relate to the pain of trying to memorize every detail that goes on. Thank goodness I have a Blackberry I can keep under the bar table to take notes!

Josh
Gold Certified
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Alan-Texas
Star Contributor

Arlington, TX
USA
542 Posts

Posted - 05/25/2009 :  09:07:33 AM  Visit Alan-Texas's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
The nice thing about using a Blackberry or any other PDA is that even if you had it above the bar, no one would know you were taking notes unless they looked over your shoulder. For all they know, you are texting someone or responding to an e-mail. I may have to invest in one at some point.

Alan A.
MSPA Silver Certified
Shopping the Dallas / Ft. Worth area since 2005
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BetteNan
Valued Contributor

Newtown, PA
USA
127 Posts

Posted - 05/25/2009 :  09:34:25 AM  Visit BetteNan's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Judi You and I have the same ten foot pole list. I did he vet shop, with my pooch. We usually frequent the Vet clinic, which is great and reasonably priced by they don't take appointments, so the wait is often quite long. I figured I'd give this a change and maybe save a couple bucks. Well...I cerainly did not save any $$$, I waited a half hour to be seen and they were more interested in selling me other services than looking after my baby... NEVER AGAIN !!!
As far as the Swedish furniture store goes...OMG...it was crazy and then not even be reimbursed for the "meal." The odd thing was I did not think my shop went that well, but I got a 10 with glowing remarks !!! Still...NEVER AGAIN !!!
Give me those bank/teller shops and/or bring those coffee/donut shops and I'm happy

Bette Nan
MSPA Gold M1anhz... shopping Beautiful Bucks County, PA and Center City Philly
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Mike Krieger
Star Contributor

USA
294 Posts

Posted - 05/25/2009 :  3:58:30 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
P&R shop that I usually do for $15 when it comes up is now $10 at the popular mall gift store... It was enough work for $15 and I thought that was fair pay. Now its on my 10 foot pole list.
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JudyinLA
Trainee

Baton Rouge, LA
USA
7 Posts

Posted - 05/25/2009 :  4:12:04 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I just spent the weekend (Fri-Sun) at a movie theatre counting patrons and collecting data at each screening for the one particular movie. Then I compare my info with the manager's info in my report. I get home at 11pm and the report which takes me about an hour and a half, is due by 8 am the next morning. By midnight I am bleary eyed with my calculator. Saturday alone was a 15-16 hour day, Sunday wasn't much better. I was too far from home so I had to hang out at the theatre.....Hubby not very happy that I was gone for 3 days. At least I didn't have to cook! But never again. I can repeat verbatim the ads, the trailers and the first 10 minutes of Night at the Museum. My pay came out to under $3 an hour. I'd rather donate my blood or spit into a jar for extra cash.

Judy
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Iron Chef Toni
Star Contributor

Plano, TX
USA
456 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2009 :  09:18:44 AM  Send Iron Chef Toni an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
I will never do another oil change shop again. I did two of them for two oil changes in a row and then started going back to my regular place. My regular place, who I have been going to for the last 10 years, let me know that the other place replaced the oil pan plug with one that did not fit correctly. It caused enough damage that the oil pan had to be completely replaced at a tune of $350.

Toni
Gold certified in N. Texas
Now doing Merchandising!
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JeffInIL
Star Contributor

IL
USA
310 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2009 :  09:38:53 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Iron Chef Toni

I will never do another oil change shop again. I did two of them for two oil changes in a row and then started going back to my regular place. My regular place, who I have been going to for the last 10 years, let me know that the other place replaced the oil pan plug with one that did not fit correctly. It caused enough damage that the oil pan had to be completely replaced at a tune of $350.



Why didn't you return to the previous location with a copy of the repair bill? I'd demand they reimburse you for their error and incompetence. Worse case scenario, this sounds legally actionable. It doesn't have anything to do with oil change shops in general though. It's something that other location needs to compensate you for, not the MSC's fault.

Jeff
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LisaOV
Star Contributor

MN
USA
2659 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2009 :  09:46:31 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by JudyinLA

I'd rather donate my blood or spit into a jar for extra cash.



Hey Judy! Which jobs ask you to spit into a jar? I can do that! LOL!!!


PS those jobs get faster then longer you do them.
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Alan-Texas
Star Contributor

Arlington, TX
USA
542 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2009 :  08:01:07 AM  Visit Alan-Texas's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
I can't believe I'm about to agree with LisaOV about something. Does this mean the world is about to end?

But seriously, I do agree that Open Checks get much easier after a while. In fact, they are one of my favorite assignments to do, especially when I'm able to pick up other shops in the area to do between show times. And Open Checks are a great way to catch up on your reading when you stay at the theater. Just find yourself a chair to sit in and read away. I think most of the books on my bookshelf were read at the theater during Open Checks.

As far as shops on my ten foot pole list, my doctor added most burger fast food shops and all pizza shops to my list yesterday. Why did she do this? Because my total cholesterol is 309.

Go ahead. I'll give you time to get over your shock.

At least I can still do Sonic shops since they have food choices on their required menu items list that are lower in fat.

Alan A.
MSPA Silver Certified
Shopping the Dallas / Ft. Worth area since 2005
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JudyinLA
Trainee

Baton Rouge, LA
USA
7 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2009 :  1:17:52 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Alan, that would be great to do a shop in between movie times, but this movie is 1 1/2 hours and I couldn't find a shop close in proximity to the theater so that I could get back in time for the patron check. My town is a little spread out. But anyway, under $3 an hour is a little too cheap of a shop even for me as a beginner. I'll look into chewing rubber bands.

Judy
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Lisa1961
Contributor

Tupelo, MS
USA
61 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2009 :  3:56:31 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I won't tell you the name of the company that I did this job for but it was ridiculous. I went to a bank to inquire about opening up a checking account. I, probably like most of you, would not assign myself to a shop with that had 5 pages of questions. $15.00 for a shop that took 20 minutes in the bank plus over 30 minutes to put my report in. They asked the same questions over and over again and mind you my report was very detailed. NO BANK JOBS FOR ME EVER AGAIN!!

Lisa
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