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 Feedback Requested: Maritz (2)
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Ray Sola
Volition.com Staff

Prescott, AZ
USA
3099 Posts

Posted - 06/19/2011 :  2:56:20 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Given that the topic "Feedback Requested: Maritz" has reached 100 pages long, I have locked it and started this new topic. All the opinions posted to the old topic are still valid, however, a thread this big can slow down the server.

Please continue the conversation here.

Jenn L B
Trainee

MA
USA
7 Posts

Posted - 06/20/2011 :  07:00:50 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Just an FYI for those thinking about the green gas audits: you now need to take 14 required photos, plus infractions. Kind of a pain, but it can still go quickly once you get into a rhythm. I'm not sure I would pick up more than I already have scheduled without a bonus, though, since the required photo number has doubled since last year.

The test for it is tricky, but if you take your time and look through your book, it's doable without calling for help. Just remember that it's designed to help you spot infractions, so err on the side of caution. And if you can't get ahold of anyone at Maritz before your shop, just take pictures of everything and call them later. I've always found the employees to be super-sweet and helpful, although getting in touch with anyone after hours is impossible. But they know that, and are generally willing to accomodate you if you explain that you tried to reach them while their phones were off.
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DavidCar
Valued Contributor

Charlotte, North Carolina
USA
114 Posts

Posted - 06/20/2011 :  4:06:26 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
On June 19th, Laura wrote.. "I spent four hours over the past couple days trying to pass that quiz. I'm locked out due to too many attempts. So I called this afternoon and spent 20 minutes on hold. Called again, held for a while.... Called just now and found that when the office is closed there is no way to even leave a message because the greeting is set to give office hours and hang up. I am due to do a shop tomorrow morning, two hours from home while on a trip. Looks like I will have to cancel because office hours don't star until 10am tomorrow."

Laura, you can call and get an extension.
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Laura the Canuck
Valued Contributor

Tarkio, MO
USA
128 Posts

Posted - 06/20/2011 :  8:45:17 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
David, I called. And I called. Spent a long time on hold, called back, held a while.... The day of the shop I left a message, and got no reply. I emailed and got no reply. Now all of the green-sign audits have been removed from my list. Searching for shops within 99 miles of here, no green sign audits appear on that list. Apparently I am black-balled from the green sign shops without so much as an explanation. That is not how Maritz typically does things.

Laura
Proud Canadian, shopping Northwest Missouri and Omaha areas.
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Jonathan B.
Star Contributor

Smyrna, Tennessee
USA
469 Posts

Posted - 06/20/2011 :  9:50:07 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Call during the week during normal business hours and find out what it is going on. You might be able to get things straightened out.

Jonathan B.
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Laura the Canuck
Valued Contributor

Tarkio, MO
USA
128 Posts

Posted - 06/22/2011 :  07:14:29 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I called again (twice) yesterday and the second time, I got to talk to someone. I guess there was nothing she could do for me. She wrote some of the details down for a note to her supervisor but was not permitted to speak to her supervisor. Someone indicated in my file that they had spoken to me and I was not interested. WHAT?? Yesterday, after 6 phone calls during business hours (including 25 minutes on hold) a phone message and an email, this was the first time I spoke to a human. I was offended that I have put at least five hours of my life into this and someone indicated that I just blew it off. Again, this is just not typical Maritz.

Laura
Proud Canadian, shopping Northwest Missouri and Omaha areas.
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John6228
Apprentice

Columbus, Georgia
USA
2 Posts

Posted - 07/02/2011 :  08:56:08 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Maritz Gas Station Audits vs Mystery Shops
Which is the better to do? On the Maritz website it said if I did the audits I couldn't do the mystery shops. The audits are paying 15.00, and the shops are paying 6.00 plus 5.00 in gas and a 1.00 pay back for a required purchase. Do they typcially do more of one as compared to the other. Therefore, there would be more opportunities.
Thanks for any help

John Holcombe
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Larry S
Valued Contributor

Simi Valley, CA
USA
219 Posts

Posted - 07/02/2011 :  11:26:27 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
John, Do not rush into a decision as it is nearly impossible to switch. You have to go six months without doing any shops to switch from one to the other and once you do one of one kind you are locked out of all of the other. I believe that they both are now quarterly shops and they both have a rotation built in. The mystery shop is a quick 10 minute in and out with an easy report but there is a limit on how much fuel your vehicle will hold. The audit requires photos, takes about 20 to 30 minutes and the reporting will be longer because the photos have to be processed, but you are not limited by the size of your tank. I would call and speak to both teams to get a feel of their need in your area. In my area the mystery shops are gone in hours but the audits stay on the board for about a week or so. Good luck.

Larry
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Jonathan B.
Star Contributor

Smyrna, Tennessee
USA
469 Posts

Posted - 07/02/2011 :  2:34:40 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
The audits do not have a shopper rotation and each station is done twice a year. Personally, I am glad that I do the audits because I enjoy them more than I ever did the mystery shops you are referring to. But, that's just a personal preference.

Jonathan B.
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Alan-Texas
Star Contributor

Arlington, TX
USA
544 Posts

Posted - 07/04/2011 :  10:55:04 AM  Visit Alan-Texas's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Prior to having been blocked from the shops (no clue why; thought they had lost the account until I saw these posts and realized I must be blocked), I preferred the mystery shop. Last time I did them, the $5 reimbursement allowed you to get about 2 to 2-1/2 gallons of gas. So I would schedule five each day I scheduled them, with the days usually being 5 to 7 days apart. We have so many of those stations around here, I could schedule them all close together. I could usually get the five stations done in just a little over an hour, and the reports were easy as well. Then I would have a full tank of gas with which to go do my mystery shopping for the next several days.

One word of caution, however. The last time I did these mystery shops, the report said the shop was not a "white-glove" shop. What they really meant, however, was that it was an "ignore the elephant" shop. They were only interested in you reporting things that the attendant-on-duty could be reasonably be expected to take care of during their shift. That means they weren't interested in the graffiti on the side of the building that said things about your mother or the yellow-stained walls in the bathroom that made you feel like you got a disease simply walking in there. So before doing one, read the instructions carefully then call and talk to one of the schedulers for that shop to get an idea of what they want you to look for.

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

Houston, TX
USA
1085 Posts

Posted - 07/05/2011 :  2:25:59 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Alan, I have been placed on their "biased shopper" list and have had my self-asigning privileges temporarily suspended. If I want shops, I can call and ask for them (but they call me quite often asking if I want to do them...??) I told them if I can't self-assign, I don't want to do any.

Like what you menitoned,I reported graffiti that I was embarrassed to see even in private. The pictures and filth in the restrooms was enough to make a person vomit. I have also reported obvious prostitution activity (scantily clad women asking lone truckdrivers if they can get a lift a couple blocks down the street). I know these are not white glove inspections but I refuse to sugarcoat reports to make them more palatable for the clients. If I cannot write reports that honestly portray what I have found, then someone else needs to do their reports.

Every time I have given a bad report, the CSRs have tried frantically to cover up or excuse the situation. I once had a shop where restaurant signs had been pasted over the proper signage above the pumps. The same sign appeared above each pump in exactly the same place. The CSR said a group of school children came in on a bus and did it and they wanted a re-shop.

Another time the CSR did not speak one word of English. I asked for an application and he didn't know what I was talking about. I saw one next to the cash register and pointed to it. He opened it and showed it to me. I told him I did not want to take his last copy. However, in defense they looked at me on a video with him showing me the application and he said he was "explaining to me how to fill out the application." Good grief, the man didn't speak English.

I don't have any intention of doing any more of these because they don't sit well with me. I think they prefer shoppers who will just "X" all the yes answers and be done with it.

Juanita
MSPA Gold Certified
Happily shopping the Houston, TX area.
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Alan-Texas
Star Contributor

Arlington, TX
USA
544 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2011 :  08:24:54 AM  Visit Alan-Texas's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
I never felt like the blue/white gas mystery shop people simply wanted people who would "x" all the yes answers, but I did feel like what they wanted us shoppers to look at was different than what they stated in the instructions. Saying a shop is "not a white glove shop" is much different than saying a shop is an "ignore the elephant shop." If they want me to ignore the foul-mouth graffiti, the yellow-stained bathroom walls, or the prostitute soliciting everyone at the pumps, I will happily ignore it. They just have to tell me that's what they want.

Like you, Juanita, my self-assigning privileges were revoked after they decided I was being too harsh on the shops. With one exception, all of the examples they gave me of my being too harsh fell into the "ignore the elephant shop" category. I don't know if they eventually agreed with me or not, but I did get my self-assigning privileges back, thought that could also have been because I do so many other shops for this company. I also saw listings and got a lot of phone calls for the shops again. My guess is that the last person to call me about the shop blocked me from the shops after I told her that I was not currently interested in doing the shops because I felt the revocation had been unjustified.

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

Houston, TX
USA
1085 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2011 :  3:06:41 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Alan, they specifically have a section where you can add comments on "Was there anything else that affected your shop?" This is where I would put the information about prostitution, graffiti, etc. So I wasn't putting the information in answer to one of their questions about cleanliness of the restroom, and so forth. I knew what they meant by the "white glove" inspection and not to mention graffiti.

So I felt perfectly justified in putting in my two cents worth in the section to explain what else affected my shop. It certainly did affect my shop. And it affected me as a customer whether I was shopping or not.

I really think this client only wants to hear the good and doesn't want to hear the bad (or Maritz only wants us to report the good). I cannot understand why a company would not want to know if there was graffiti so obnoxious that it made people sick. I think the purpose of mystery shopping is so that clients can take the information and make improvements. If they don't have the information, how can they improve upon it? And if they don't even want the information, well...I am at a loss to understand why.

I have not done any shops of any kind since my self-assign privileges were removed on the gas shops so it is doubtful they would ever reinstate the privileges. I did a lot of shops for Maritz but fortunately I have a lot of other companies that keep me busy. I do jobs that I enjoy and that I feel are contributing to something. I am 67 and am too old to work at jobs that irritate me. I did enough of that when I was young.

Juanita
MSPA Gold Certified
Happily shopping the Houston, TX area.
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Jonathan B.
Star Contributor

Smyrna, Tennessee
USA
469 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2011 :  6:55:37 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I did some of the shops that you all are refering to when Maritz first got the shops for this client. It took a while to figure out exactly what the client was wanting. Then, I got an email saying that the client wanting to seperate the shoppers doing the mystery shops from the audits. Since I had done more audits than ms's, I was put into the audit group. I am glad of this, because I thouroughly enjoy the audits where as I didn't really like the ms's.

Jonathan B.
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PamInCa
Star Contributor

CA
USA
6557 Posts

Posted - 07/07/2011 :  05:50:55 AM  Visit PamInCa's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have seen a lot of companies requesting not including graffiti as a mark down for cleanliness. Since this seemed to me something they would want included, I asked why.

It can be cleaned one day and the very next day some moron will think it is cool and put new graffiti in its' place. It is not something they can continually control.

However, I think some places completely ignore it altogether as not only is the same graffiti there month after month, new graffiti is added.

PamInCa
Author of: "The Essential Guide to Mystery Shopping"
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JuanitaJ
Star Contributor

Houston, TX
USA
1085 Posts

Posted - 07/07/2011 :  07:21:33 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Pam, I agree with you about graffiti being cleaned and then right back again.

I have never commented on a small amount of graffiti (which is found in almost every gas station). What I had wrote about was graffiti that covered all the walls and ceiling and was mixed with what looked like feces and slimy things that appeared to have come from some noses. The particular restroom I complained about (and it was only ONE time) was so covered in this filth that it would have taken months for it to have accumulated. It was obviously a case of the station's attendants ignoring the restroom to the point that it was unfit for customers. The rest of the room (toilet, sink, floor) was also deplorable. There was stuff in the floor I could not identify. Even if they did not want to hear about graffiti, what about the excrement on the walls??

The scheduler I spoke with at Maritz agreed that owners should be made aware of things like this but it wasn't part of their program. So, since the restroom had obviously been collecting this art for a long time and no one has reported it, it will probably continue. Maybe they should just eliminate the question about the restroom if they really don't care what it looks like. It would not have made any difference if the restroom had tissue, soap, etc, or not, because I would not have used it.

Juanita
MSPA Gold Certified
Happily shopping the Houston, TX area.
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Laura the Canuck
Valued Contributor

Tarkio, MO
USA
128 Posts

Posted - 07/07/2011 :  8:45:32 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
gross. That should be a relevant question. If a cashier cussed me out after making me wait 10 minutes for her to finish a cigarette break, that would be poor service and I might think twice before coming back. But a restroom that was so filthy I had to "hold it" and go somewhere else? I would never, ever, ever be back to that store. The condition of the restroom is more important to me, Joe Customer, than the behaviour of the clerk.

Laura
Proud Canadian, shopping Northwest Missouri and Omaha areas.
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SandiA
Star Contributor

USA
495 Posts

Posted - 07/09/2011 :  09:43:43 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I would think there's a health code violation in that situation that should be relevant to everyone!

SandiA
Celebrating 14 Years in the Biz!
MSPA Gold Certified since 2003
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Netti
Valued Contributor

Hudson, FL
USA
197 Posts

Posted - 07/10/2011 :  4:20:05 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I just finished my first shop with them for the Green/Yellow. It was an audit. It went well, I thought. Took 40 pictures, as I generally do for other companies. I had to sit in my car and do the paperwork, it is 98 degrees and I have no air conditioning, the sweat is pouring off my face and onto the paper work. All I wanted to do at that time, was get out of Dodge. Yes, I forgot to take the overall photo from across the street and, I took a frontal of the entire gas pump, not at a 45 degree angle. I submit this and editor wants to know where the photo of the largest PERIMETER POP element. What the heck is that?
I'm at the point where it doesn't really matter. I would have gone back the next day (3 hrs, round trip) but I started new meds and I had an allergic reaction to them. I spent 4 days in bed.

To get to the nitty gritty, I have done this same exact store in the past with another company being a Reveal Shop. Same criteria. I am curious who makes these guidelines for the photos? The other company did not warrant so many photos, nor intricate details.

I imagine that Martiz is going to kick me to the sidewalk. But, I'll still be shopping :)

Silver Shopper - West Coast Florida
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Jonathan B.
Star Contributor

Smyrna, Tennessee
USA
469 Posts

Posted - 07/10/2011 :  6:13:35 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Netti,

It's the client that comes up with what they want for the photos. The Perimeter POP is usually the POP attached to the side of the pump that you first see as you drive up. There are some pictures of examples of the POP somewhere in the shopper manual.

I do a bunch of these shops, so if I can be of help, private message me and I will give any assistance I can without breaking ICA agreements.

Jonathan B.
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Netti
Valued Contributor

Hudson, FL
USA
197 Posts

Posted - 07/10/2011 :  6:42:32 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Thanks Jonathan, I've been nail biting this one.

Silver Shopper - West Coast Florida
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