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 Mystery Shopping
 Feedback Requested: Corporate Research International (CoRI) (3)
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MsKim
Star Contributor

Bryan, Texas
USA
419 Posts

Posted - 12/19/2011 :  7:52:32 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
So most of you have probably noticed that MOST of the monthly gas stations are going quartly next month. Finishing up with several locations that were monthly and going quartly and have heard this statement more than one time.....

Employee "...did you know we are going quartly next month?
Me "Really?" (mind you I already knew this)
Employee "...ya its going to be great, cause once you have been here
then we dont have to clean or worry about anything till
the following quarter.."
Me..."oh ok"

Me thinking.....WOW so this is going to be interesting since most quarter shops are done towards the end of the 2nd month into the 3rd. And then the next month it will be different....oh this will be interesting.

Ms Kim
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HamiltonJackson05
Member

Virginia Beach, VA
USA
14 Posts

Posted - 12/20/2011 :  06:21:12 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Has anyone done the college bookstore shops? I'm strongly considering doing a couple of these since the fees are pretty high.

Hamilton
MSPA Silver certified and wanting to be video certified
Shopping in Hampton Roads
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Sandi G
Star Contributor

Tallahassee, FL
USA
918 Posts

Posted - 12/20/2011 :  06:45:00 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I did one. School was already out, so the place was pretty deserted. It was a SMALL bookstore, too, so finding something in there to ask about was mildly challenging. They did have a couple Nook readers, though, so if I do another one, that's what I'll ask about. I'd say that I figured they would not have the crowds of the regular stores.

--Sandi
traditional & video shopping FL and GA
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Netti
Valued Contributor

Hudson, FL
USA
197 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2011 :  07:46:54 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I submitted my gas station using Firefox. I have always done it this way as I have problems with I.E. I received a confirmation number. I received an email that I had to re-submit it. The entire shop was deleted. Now, it has to be done through I.E. I can't go all of the way back to the location and re-do it. The worst thing has happened, somehow the entire file that I had for this shop has disappeared. I've done all kinds of searches on my computer looking for it. Oh, by the way, it is almost 11 am and I have to have it submitted by noon.

Silver Shopper - West Coast Florida
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LarryT
Star Contributor

USA
693 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2011 :  08:07:43 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I always keep a paper file of any job I do or I make a screen shot(s) of the completed report or save as an MHT file (when possible) for reference and proof later on and for printing out a hard copy if ever needed. If you have your report data and they lose it, you at least have all the data for resubmission. No need to go back to the store to re-do the shop.

If all you do is keep electronic copies of everything, you better use an online/off-site backup service like carbonite.com or whomever. Hard drives are very delicate and fail frequently and data recovery is not only not possible in some cases, but is very expensive. $700+ per hard drive.
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Sue Br.
Star Contributor

Oklahoma
USA
661 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2011 :  08:16:09 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Good luck, doesn't look like you are going to meet the deadline. When I finish a shop I always print a PDF of the shop which can be done with Cute PDF (free). There is also a link under the confirmation that allows you to save it. The file and the pictures go into a file with the shop number and brief location info. I stopped trying to turn in shops on Firefox long ago because they got kicked back. You can use Chrome if IE doesn't work for you. That seems to work alright and they haven't ever said anything. Good luck.

Sue
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MsKim
Star Contributor

Bryan, Texas
USA
419 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2011 :  6:26:45 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
What I do might sound like a lot of work BUT....I can say that it has saved me several times.

In one folder I put all the labeled pictues, receipts and signed letter, everything is labeled. I do several locations in one day so I will have several locations in one folder, but it is labels the day it is completed. I have a sprial that I write all my notes on, for each shop. I use to keep the sprials but now I take a picture of my notes and labeled it. That way I dont have to keep the sprial. I then load it up on a memory stick.

Recently I was asked a question about a report that was almost 4 months old. I was able to email my everything to Cori, including my notes and extra pictures. (This was a high bonused shop too)

The sticks are not that expensive. Like I said, I know it sounds like a lot of work but I it saved me on the bonus shop, and I was albe to give the inforamtion to them within about 15 min.


Ms Kim
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Sandi G
Star Contributor

Tallahassee, FL
USA
918 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2011 :  6:47:45 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Sue Br.
You can use Chrome if IE doesn't work for you.

Good to know. I'm one of the many FF users, and I lost a couple of shops before it sunk through my thick skull that I couldn't do that. (Thankfully I did not also lose my photos like Netti did so I could just resubmit it.) I use IE so little, I have CORI as my home page when that browser opens because that's probably where I'm going. My son keeps trying to get me to convert to Chrome, so this might be the push.

--Sandi
traditional & video shopping FL and GA
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MsKim
Star Contributor

Bryan, Texas
USA
419 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2011 :  7:14:13 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I went to Chrome....and my laptop did NOT like it.

Ms Kim
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MsKim
Star Contributor

Bryan, Texas
USA
419 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2011 :  7:18:50 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
So 2 of my gas station locations gave me Christmas Card and another one gave me cookies.

All 3 of them had "for Mystery Shopper" written on them.

One of the ladies said that they now have bets on when the shopper will show up and which one it will be.

Oh joy let us start betting on the arrival of the shopper!!! LOL Can you tell this location is located way out in the boonies!!!


Ms Kim
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LarryT
Star Contributor

USA
693 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2011 :  7:46:45 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I don't mean to be rude or confrontational, but is it not against agreement to accept a gift from an employee of an audited/shopped store, holiday gift or otherwise? Technically, holiday or not, this could be construed as accepting a bribe, I would think. I'm not saying that's what you were doing, just that it could be construed that way by the mystery shopping company. (BTW, if I were to ever give a mystery shopper a Christmas gift, it would one of those little sacks of coal-shaped bubblegum you find in the seasonal candy aisle, LOL!)

Also, if you are talking about the blue and red stations, it is my understanding that the first part of the shop you are to act "covertly" as if you are just a regular customer and then, after you audit everything you are supposed to audit, you reveal yourself as an auditor and go over the "findings" with the manager. If so, is it not wrong for an auditor or a couple auditors to do the same store so often that the store personnel know who you are before you even reveal yourself? I'm confused about this.
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KenASch
Star Contributor

Camarillo, CA
USA
689 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2011 :  8:40:44 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LarryT

is it not wrong for an auditor or a couple auditors to do the same store so often that the store personnel know who you are before you even reveal yourself?



Larry,

When you say is it not "wrong" to do this, who are you suggesting is in the wrong. I have several different mystery/reveal shops that I do and the MSC has to be aware that I am recognized as the mystery shopper because I do these so often. As long as the MSC is willing to assign these to me, I will continue to do them. I don't see anything wrong in this.

Ken S
Gold Shopper
Shopping Ventura County California
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MsKim
Star Contributor

Bryan, Texas
USA
419 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2011 :  8:48:29 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
OK...was given the gift but did not take it ...for that reason. I explained that to the employee. After I reveal myself and finish the shop, I can not tell you how many locations have offered me an extra water, a snack or other item. I ALWAYS refuse it.

I am VERY "covert" ...I do not ANY pictures till I reveal myself, I buy my gas at the pump with a gift card, so they dont know I am only buying 1.00. These guys are good...they know their cars, and I have black tarus, along with the half the population. They just know.

Also the location is shopped every month...I will do it every time I get the chance. I was told that me, and 2 other shoppers are the ONLY ones who have ever done the shop.

I have been told at several locations about who the other shoppers are...what they drive.... and what days they normally come on. (and it is the same 2 shoppers each time)
I have been told how some of the shoppers are rude and they dont like it when they come. I have been told how they (owner) never get the reports to know how they do so they can fix problem areas. I NEVER make comments about this, I ONLY listen.

Also up till next month most of the shops around me where monthly shops. There are several shops that sit till almost the end of the month if not into the next month, no one want to go there, except me and a couple other shopers.

I also shop 4 cities, and the odds me and 2 other shoppers only shopping some of them....IDK. I dont get shops early ...I get them 3 days out the earliest and I dont get a bunch of date changes, only when needed.

I am nice and polite and I was told by my grandmother that being that way will always leave a lasting impression....Guess she was right!! lol

Ms Kim
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LarryT
Star Contributor

USA
693 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2011 :  8:54:06 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
The MSC. After all, they are the ones, IMHO, who should have the burden of making sure a shopper is not shopping a certain store too frequently (at least in my opinion anyway-shoppers don't make enough money by and large to be handed this burden along with the others they already have). Please take the whole paragraph into context, then it makes sense Why would the gas station corporation, who wants you to act covertly and then reveal yourself, want you to be automatically identified as an auditor during your "covert" portion of your audit.

Just trying to learn something about these shops is all
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LarryT
Star Contributor

USA
693 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2011 :  9:14:28 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MsKim

OK...was given the gift but did not take it ...for that reason. I explained that to the employee. After I reveal myself and finish the shop, I can not tell you how many locations have offered me an extra water, a snack or other item. I ALWAYS refuse it.

I am VERY "covert" ...I do not ANY pictures till I reveal myself, I buy my gas at the pump with a gift card, so they don't know I am only buying 1.00. These guys are good...they know their cars, and I have black tarus, along with the half the population. They just know.

Also the location is shopped every month...I will do it every time I get the chance. I was told that me, and 2 other shoppers are the ONLY ones who have ever done the shop.

I have been told at several locations about who the other shoppers are...what they drive.... and what days they normally come on. (and it is the same 2 shoppers each time)
I have been told how some of the shoppers are rude and they dont like it when they come. I have been told how they (owner) never get the reports to know how they do so they can fix problem areas. I NEVER make comments about this, I ONLY listen.

Also up till next month most of the shops around me where monthly shops. There are several shops that sit till almost the end of the month if not into the next month, no one want to go there, except me and a couple other shopers.

I also shop 4 cities, and the odds me and 2 other shoppers only shopping some of them....IDK. I don't get shops early ...I get them 3 days out the earliest and I dont get a bunch of date changes, only when needed.

I am nice and polite and I was told by my grandmother that being that way will always leave a lasting impression....Guess she was right!! lol



Kim, just curious. How can you be "covert" when they already know who you are and what you are there for? When you enter this particular store during the covert portion of your audit, including the time when you have to make a purchase, do they pretend they don't know who you are or something? The whole situation seems odd to me. I know if I were in their shoes, I would do everything properly, of course, as far as what I need to do as a CSR and what you are looking for during the transaction, but I would probably say, something (polite and funny) to make you understand I already know why you are in the store, just to see if I can get a rise outta you. After all, how could I get in trouble with the company for knowing that a shopper is really a mystery shopper? That's why I can't understand why the client or CORI thinks it's worth doing a shop that only a few shoppers will take. Seems to me in that situation they have to do things differently in order to really get a covert-then-revealed shop with data that is worth anything, at least for parts of the shop.

Also, about using the gift card for the gas purchase so they know you aren't buying only $1 of gas. Using a gas card doesn't hide how much gas you buy from store personnel. They can see all purchases and amounts in the store regardless of payment type. Years ago I briefly worked at a c-store with gas pumps. The equipment was older than what most stations probably use today. But even back then, as long as it was pumped, I knew what pump was used, how many gallons were pumped and what the dollar amount of the purchase was.
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MsKim
Star Contributor

Bryan, Texas
USA
419 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2011 :  10:13:55 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I use the gift card because I can get away with it 95% of the time. There are several times while checking out the employee will look over at the computer and make a comment like, "dang, i did not notice the gas". They dont pay as much attention as you think, but if I went in and asked for 1.00-1.50 in gas....well that is a dead ringer...except in the summer. (that little red can works great.) I do several shops in one day and can not put more than that in my tank at a time.

I am not sure about your area but around here, I rarely do NOT get greet or thanked, it is rare not to have it said. Also as for getting a "report with data that is worth anything"...look at this way. Yes, the company wants to know about the greeting and thank you but 80% is about the location and what is showing, not showing, where it is, where is not and if it is clean. Regardless if I shopped the location every week, same time, same day....if they dont clean, fix signs or mistakes...well then it really does not matter which shopper shopped the location...cause we have to take sooooooo many pictures. I think that is one of the reasons we now take so many pictures. I could keep saying the cooler shelves were dirty, the fountain area was not stocked, ect and they could say yes it was....well now I have a picture to back me up.

There are some locations that have had signs in the WRONG place for almost 7 months now...no does not mean I do the shop every month, but you are going to tell me they fix it one month and then put it back.

Also we are to report a negitive regardless it was fixed while we were there. I can not tell you how many time an employee all of sudden has on a full uniform when I come back in, a laptop is gone, friends have left, and some things get all of a sudden cleaned. I still make comments about it in my report.


If I can go into some places and I know they will probably know who I am when I pull in but the store and restroom is still dirty, well then it doesnt matter if they know.
I have been doing these shops for almost 7 years and when we had to start revealing who we were, only about 5-7 locations out of the 350+ locations every quarter, made the comment like, I thought you might be a shopper, and I have used a gift card all this time.




Ms Kim
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LarryT
Star Contributor

USA
693 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2011 :  10:28:15 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
About the gift card. I see what you're saying. You're talking about not having to go in and pay at the register. On that note, then a gift card isn't necessary as a credit card would alleviate the same problem. In other words, pay at the pump, not in the store (heck, some gas stations have a kiosk where you can pay for gas using cash without going inside. You press "cash" button, pump the gas, then take your barcoded receipt to the kiosk which looks something like an ATM. You scan the receipt, it tells you how much to pay and you insert cash/coins).

Thanks for the info. I may attempt one of these shops someday. I just really hate the thought of doing a revealed shop though.

Also, glad to know you can take the pics at the pump after you reveal yourself. I thought it was only to be done before the reveal part which I never understood why.
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MsKim
Star Contributor

Bryan, Texas
USA
419 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2011 :  10:47:59 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Ifyou do more than a couple of shops, you will freeze your card....been there done that. The pump thinks the gift card is a credit card....and you can use how ever much you want.

You should do them....this past weekend most the shops around here went from 20-40 EACH!!!!

Woo Hoo and I got several of them!!!!

Merry Christmas To ME!!!!!

Ms Kim
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Sandi G
Star Contributor

Tallahassee, FL
USA
918 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2011 :  11:31:23 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Aren't they also running a gift card special, where you get $20 free if you buy $100? I was thinking about doing that, since that is like a shop fee for free. I'm just not sure if I do enough of them to make it worth it. If it takes the whole year to use, it might not be a good use of immediate cash funds. Guess I need to run a report in Quicken to see...

--Sandi
traditional & video shopping FL and GA
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MsKim
Star Contributor

Bryan, Texas
USA
419 Posts

Posted - 12/22/2011 :  07:20:46 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I usually have my deposit pending Thursday morning....does anyone have thiers??? Mine is not there.

Ms Kim
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