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

Michiana, MI
USA
518 Posts

Posted - 01/16/2011 :  8:10:01 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Harvey S.

Rita -

The point is that the MSC requires that the TOTAL package weigh within x pounds plus or minus a half-of a pound. That includes that you are shipping plus the weight of the box. But their suggestions of what to ship just over x pounds, not including the box. So, if you subtract the weight of the box, there isn't much weight left to use to ship food to the food bank. I don't deny that stuffed animals are light. But I am not allowed to ship just a stuffed animal to a food bank, and buying a large stuffed animal would cost more than the shop pays even if I just wanted to use it as padding.

Actually, my point is that a large box does not have to be heavy as you indicated in your post.

Rita Collins
Shopping Michiana
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Harvey S.
Star Contributor

Glen Mills, PA
USA
439 Posts

Posted - 01/16/2011 :  8:59:24 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Rita -

If you can tell me where to go in order to buy one of the four permitted large box sizes and have it be light, I will gladly do so. So far, I haven't found any of the boxes at Walgreen. One size is available at Office Depot and Target. That box plus 1 other can be found at Staples. I have not yet found the other 2 sizes. The size specifications are very strict. Plus, the boxes also have to meet Post Office shipping guidelines for burst strength, etc.

Harvey
Southeastern Pennsylvania Northern Delaware,"South" Jersey
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Rene-R
Valued Contributor

Phoenix, AZ
USA
171 Posts

Posted - 01/16/2011 :  9:37:46 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KarenMSW

I must respectfully disagree with you Susan. If you follow the instructions as written (and bolded, and underlined), the shops should be paid.

I hate to break it to you, but I followed the rules EXACTLY, and was not paid bc the cashier rang my readypost mailer up with the right price, but the wrong name on the receipt. Had absolutely nothing to do with me.

And BS games like that are why this shop is now on the 10-foot pole list for so many shoppers.

Gold shopping metro Phoenix & airports everywhere, since 2005. ~ Have Video equipment, will travel!
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KarenMSW
Valued Contributor

USA
183 Posts

Posted - 01/16/2011 :  10:21:17 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rene-R

quote:
Originally posted by KarenMSW

I must respectfully disagree with you Susan. If you follow the instructions as written (and bolded, and underlined), the shops should be paid.

I hate to break it to you, but I followed the rules EXACTLY, and was not paid bc the cashier rang my readypost mailer up with the right price, but the wrong name on the receipt. Had absolutely nothing to do with me.

And BS games like that are why this shop is now on the 10-foot pole list for so many shoppers.



That was not the situation to which I was referring. The situation that was in question was a shopper who admitted that the Clerk did something that was prohibited but she agreed to do it by paying the bill with the prohibited item on it. If the Clerk makes a mistake and you aren't paid for the shop that is one thing. If you don't follow the instructions (which are very clear), that is another thing altogether. In your situation I agree that you should be paid, in the other situation the MSC is well within its rights not to pay the shopper. You followed the rules and the shop was not paid - dispute it as high as you can. But if you don't follow the rules, don't expect to be paid. Based on the other shopper's description of the situation, she let the Clerk dictate what she was purchasing, the purchase was incorrect, she didn't get paid because she didn't follow the rules. In your situation it was an error over which you had no control. Two totally different situations which require two totally different plans of action. And notice that my post said "should", not "will". That's why I take these when I am planning on shipping something anyway. That way, if something untoward happens, I will be irked but not out any money and time that I wouldn't have been spending anyway. I think the lesson here is to check your receipt before you leave the counter, then if there are errors ask them to be corrected...blame it on your control freak boss who might not approve your expense report if the receipt is wrong. Acting flustered would help and the story isn't that far from the truth, anyway.

Karen
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LisaSTL
Star Contributor

St. Louis, MO
USA
733 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2011 :  07:36:22 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Karen, which MSC is it that you work for?

Lisa
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KarenMSW
Valued Contributor

USA
183 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2011 :  1:23:33 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LisaSTL

Karen, which MSC is it that you work for?



I'm not sure exactly what you are asking. So, I'm going to err on the side of the fact that you are not insinuating that I am an employee (and not properly disclosing that fact). (If you are insinuating this, please explain your comment further) I am a contractor and have done these shops for both the old and the new MSC. The business to which I refer is my own, home-based business for which I require shipping. I am not, nor probably ever will be, an employee of an MSC, but I do contract work as an IC for numerous ones.

Karen
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Brenda C
Member

Aberdeen, NJ
USA
30 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2011 :  4:43:32 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Wow, these shops definitely sound like 10 foot pole shops, I'm getting a headache just reading all the posts! Too much trouble for me...

Shopping Jersey!
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Servanne
Star Contributor

Silver Lake, MN
USA
2430 Posts

Posted - 01/18/2011 :  07:24:50 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KarenMSW
Based on the other shopper's description of the situation, she let the Clerk dictate what she was purchasing, the purchase was incorrect, she didn't get paid because she didn't follow the rules.


First I want to say that I have not done an actual shipping shop for the new MSC. I passed the test, studied the guidelines and decided the whole "buy you own box and content" bit was not worth it for me. So I am just asking as an outsider.
My question is this: isn't there somewhere in the guidelines that say that you should keep your anonymity? And wouldn't insisting beyond what a normal customer would blow your cover and peg you as the shopper?

Servanne
Merrily shopping my way through the Twin Cities, Western Minnesota and beyond...
MSPA Gold Certified since April 2007!
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Harvey S.
Star Contributor

Glen Mills, PA
USA
439 Posts

Posted - 01/18/2011 :  08:06:17 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Servanne -

I hate stereotypes and maybe this only works for men, but last week I was questioned on two separate occasions. I gave the same response, "I've learned that it is better not to question what my wife tells me to do. I just do what I am told. It is much safer that way."

Male clerk: "I've got you covered man. I've been there myself. We'll just do what she wants."

Female clerk: "I'm sure she has a good reason for what she asks you to do."

I sometimes need to substitute "daughter" for wife, particularly for some odd printing job assignments I have done for various MSCs.

Harvey
Southeastern Pennsylvania Northern Delaware,"South" Jersey
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Servanne
Star Contributor

Silver Lake, MN
USA
2430 Posts

Posted - 01/18/2011 :  08:36:41 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Harvey, stereotypes are never good...but then again, if it helps you get the job done...

Servanne
Merrily shopping my way through the Twin Cities, Western Minnesota and beyond...
MSPA Gold Certified since April 2007!
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KarenMSW
Valued Contributor

USA
183 Posts

Posted - 01/18/2011 :  08:37:21 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Servanne - how you do it is the key to keeping your anonymity. Someone once said that playing ditsy is believable and still gets what you want. If you have a good cover story (overbearing boss, already charged your customer for a certain type of shipping, joke with your cousin to keep sending back and forth the same box for birthdays to see how long it lasts, etc.) you won't stand out. All of the above are actually typical for me, so if you play it with a straight face and act like it's normal for you, you won't stand out. For instance, I did a bank shop that was an hour away from my home and in an area in which I was far from the typical demographic. When the banker questioned it, I simply said that it was near my folks' home and they were watching my DD so I could run some errands and do some research more easily. It was mostly true, I did grow up in that area, it was near my parents' house, and they were watching my DD, but I was not running errands. But, I was comfortable with my story and the banker never batted an eye. In fact, we discussed the nursing home across the street which happened to be the one that my Grandfather spent his last days in! Someone once posted that it we are harder on ourselves than anyone else so we're more nervous when in reality our actions aren't really all that noticeable. I think the biggest issue with these shops is pre-planning and thinking the scenario through ahead of time. So many of us did these by rote so any deviation from what happened before requires some "fancy dancing". I also agree with you, it makes no sense for me to buy and prepare my own box, although I now know the exact weight of a bag of Reese's Peanut Butter hearts. But, since I was sending something to a customer anyway, it worked for me.

Karen
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Servanne
Star Contributor

Silver Lake, MN
USA
2430 Posts

Posted - 01/18/2011 :  08:50:18 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Karen, I think I pretty much have the "keep anonymous" thing down after close to 8,000 shops and I agree with you 100% that it is how you present your scenario, not the scenario in itself. If you act as if it is the most natural thing in the world for you to be where you are, doing what you're doing, no one will (should!) question you.
I just seemed to remember that in the shipping guidelines, there was specifically something about it being OK to deviate from the scenario if it compromised your anonymity, such as not insisting beyond reason to pay more money than necessary, which is not something a normal customer would do. Then again, I read those guidelines a loooong time ago, so my memory could be playing tricks on me (as in: what would make sense vs. what it really is).

Servanne
Merrily shopping my way through the Twin Cities, Western Minnesota and beyond...
MSPA Gold Certified since April 2007!
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KarenMSW
Valued Contributor

USA
183 Posts

Posted - 01/18/2011 :  09:01:25 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Servanne - the only thing that is allowed is to not deviate from the suggested mail class if the Clerk recommends it in order to save money. But, where the issue is arising is with people purchasing items (i.e. flat rate) that is strictly prohibited, just because the clerk suggested it and they didn't want to rock the boat. That's where the prepared scenario comes in, so that you can handle that if it arises. People's issues seem to be with having shops denied because the instructions were not followed to the letter. I understand being upset about it as I just lost shop payment for an instruction on another shop that I completely missed, didn't do, and therefore didn't get paid for. Where I am having an issue (and is is being implied that I must be working for an MSC) is when instructions are not followed, shops are getting denied, and terms are being used towards the MSCs like "stiffed" (and people are being scared off of these shops). As someone who has read these instructions multiple times due the change in MSC, I would be very irritated to find out that someeone got paid who didn't follow the instructions. Kind of makes me feel like my hard work was a waste. BTW, I too have the keep anonymous thing down due to thousands of shops, days in the theatre, and training in High School as a Debater on both sides of the issue. I can roll with whatever punches you throw, except when it comes to my 7 y.o.. I prefer that explanation rather than the "liar" label my DH puts on it.

Karen
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Rene-R
Valued Contributor

Phoenix, AZ
USA
171 Posts

Posted - 01/18/2011 :  10:35:56 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Servanne

I just seemed to remember that in the shipping guidelines, there was specifically something about it being OK to deviate from the scenario if it compromised your anonymity, such as not insisting beyond reason to pay more money than necessary, which is not something a normal customer would do...


You are right, Servanne, it does actually say that. However if you read my experience under the postal shops thread, you'll see that they are not being truthful about it. I took a different service bc I felt I was about to be outed, and I didn't get paid for the shop.

Gold shopping metro Phoenix & airports everywhere, since 2005. ~ Have Video equipment, will travel!
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Servanne
Star Contributor

Silver Lake, MN
USA
2430 Posts

Posted - 01/18/2011 :  2:51:20 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KarenMSW

Servanne - the only thing that is allowed is to not deviate from the suggested mail class if the Clerk recommends it in order to save money. But, where the issue is arising is with people purchasing items (i.e. flat rate) that is strictly prohibited, just because the clerk suggested it and they didn't want to rock the boat.


Just curious: isn't purchasing the flat rate saving you money? In which case it would be OK as per the guidelines to accept it, since you are now accepting a mail class that was being suggested to save you money? Maybe the shopper had no worries about "rocking the boat", but felt that insisting on paying more money would out them?

I agree with you that following guidelines is essential. I also agree that shoppers who do not follow the guidelines should not be paid. But I don't know that the shoppers who shared their experiences on the mailing thread necessarily did not follow the guidelines.
The problem lies therein: if the guidelines can be interpreted different ways, then they are not good guidelines. Good guidelines do not leave any room for interpretation. Therefore the MSC may be liable for not offering clear guidelines. In which case, the shoppers in good faith did what they thought was the requested job and should be paid. JMHO.

Servanne
Merrily shopping my way through the Twin Cities, Western Minnesota and beyond...
MSPA Gold Certified since April 2007!
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KarenMSW
Valued Contributor

USA
183 Posts

Posted - 01/18/2011 :  6:39:56 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Servanne

quote:
Originally posted by KarenMSW

Servanne - the only thing that is allowed is to not deviate from the suggested mail class if the Clerk recommends it in order to save money. But, where the issue is arising is with people purchasing items (i.e. flat rate) that is strictly prohibited, just because the clerk suggested it and they didn't want to rock the boat.


Just curious: isn't purchasing the flat rate saving you money? In which case it would be OK as per the guidelines to accept it, since you are now accepting a mail class that was being suggested to save you money? Maybe the shopper had no worries about "rocking the boat", but felt that insisting on paying more money would out them?

I agree with you that following guidelines is essential. I also agree that shoppers who do not follow the guidelines should not be paid. But I don't know that the shoppers who shared their experiences on the mailing thread necessarily did not follow the guidelines.
The problem lies therein: if the guidelines can be interpreted different ways, then they are not good guidelines. Good guidelines do not leave any room for interpretation. Therefore the MSC may be liable for not offering clear guidelines. In which case, the shoppers in good faith did what they thought was the requested job and should be paid. JMHO.



I wasn't completely clear...the flat rate was not what was purchased but the flat rate box was what was purchased leading to the flat rate ultimately being purchased as well, the box purchase is expressly prohibited (the shopper allowed her box to be placed in a flat rate shipper and was then charged for the flat rate shipper, the instructions expressly prohibit purchasing of a flat rate shipper...more than likely the purchase is on her receipt, therefore the shopper cannot say that she didn't agree to the purchase). The only thing for which wiggle room is allowed is if a higher class (the first one usually offered) is suggested to save you money (no idea how that would happen but the instructions state that this is permissible). IMHO, guidelines that state "you may not" which is underlined and listed in bold are not open to interpretation. If they are violated, then you are not paid. I just ran into a situation where I didn't follow one small step and therefore didn't get paid. I politely requested where in the guidelines I was supposed to do what I didn't do, the MSC replied politely with my mistake, lesson learned. I foolishly assumed that since I had done these shops many times that I would remember everything. Won't make that mistake again! The other issue that the shoppers involved are not seeing is that by purchasing something different than is specified the Client is not getting the feedback about that service for which they are looking. If a certain type of item is purchased it may be handled differently, thereby not giving the Client what they paid for.

Again, I would have no problem insisting on paying more money and making it seem like I was obvious. I would simply state (if pressed for an explanation), that I was shipping for my business and I had already charged the customer the shipping costs. The cost difference is typically minimal but I would be spending more money and time refunding the difference so I choose to spend more money (or the person won't be at their house until the later delivery time and I don't want the box sitting on their porch or force them to have to retrieve it at the local office).

I must reiterate that the situation to which I refer is different from a shopper working with the exceptions that are allowed and not being paid. For that I would dispute it as high as I needed to go and pursue it as long as I needed to pursue it.

Karen
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Harvey S.
Star Contributor

Glen Mills, PA
USA
439 Posts

Posted - 01/18/2011 :  7:00:39 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Karen -

I know from using flat rate boxes to ship eBay items that they are free. The BOX is free, therefore it can not be purchased. That is why the shop asks if the free flat rate supplies are available. What is available for purchase are the Ready Post boxes and mailers, and various decorative boxes that the post office sells for holidays, etc.

Here is a link to the USPS website where you can order the free flat rate boxes and the free flat rate envelopes. https://shop.usps.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?catalogId=10001&storeId=10052&categoryId=10000036&langId=-1&parent_category_rn=10000002&top_category=10000002&WT.ac=10000036

Now, there are also Pre-Paid Flat Rate boxes and envelopes, but other than seeing online that they exist, I have never seen one in a post office.

Harvey
Southeastern Pennsylvania Northern Delaware,"South" Jersey
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KarenMSW
Valued Contributor

USA
183 Posts

Posted - 01/18/2011 :  7:11:03 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Harvey S.

Karen -

I know from using flat rate boxes to ship eBay items that they are free. The BOX is free, therefore it can not be purchased. That is why the shop asks if the free flat rate supplies are available. What is available for purchase are the Ready Post boxes and mailers, and various decorative boxes that the post office sells for holidays, etc.

Here is a link to the USPS website where you can order the free flat rate boxes and the free flat rate envelopes. https://shop.usps.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?catalogId=10001&storeId=10052&categoryId=10000036&langId=-1&parent_category_rn=10000002&top_category=10000002&WT.ac=10000036

Now, there are also Pre-Paid Flat Rate boxes and envelopes, but other than seeing online that they exist, I have never seen one in a post office.



My mistake, I thought because of the poster's post that she purchased the box. However, the person that originally complained about the issue stated that she used a flat rate box because the Clerk put her box in a flat-rate box, and then the Clerk shipped it that way. I assumed (my bad) that she had to purchase a box, I must have mixed it up with the other mailers that you do purchase. However, the instructions clearly state that that type of box and that type of shipping is not to be used. The only exception to the instructions is for the mail class, of which this is not technically a part of. However, the prohibited item was on the receipt to which payment was agreed, the information was submitted to the MSC in direct violation of the instructions, therefore it is not allowed. But, regardless of whether a box was purchased, the actual flat rate shipping is prohibited, in bold, and underlined.

Karen
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BKBerger
Valued Contributor

Porterville, CA
USA
135 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2011 :  12:25:36 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Harvey S.

Karen -
Here is a link to the USPS website where you can order the free flat rate boxes and the free flat rate envelopes.



Use if you NEED 25 of each size.

My Pet Peeve is the 6 emails asking to take these shops I would not do for the former company when they sent multiples.

Not enough pay.

Brian
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Mike Krieger
Star Contributor

USA
294 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2011 :  6:46:08 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Yeah, I have to say the mailing shops are a ten foot pole shop. The fact that I have to go to the store and buy my own box and $1.50 covers a box a bit smaller than what I like. I then go mail what I want mailed and I worked it out to 1 lb 3 oz which is rounded to 2 lbs. The requirement is to have 1 lb and its tough to get right on that 1 lb rate so there needs to be a bit of a cushion. So $2.85 comes out of my pocket as that's what I went over for a location that was reasonable. Good thing I took it with a $5 bonus to begin with.
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