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Jahn Z
Contributor

USA
76 Posts

Posted - 09/29/2011 :  3:11:34 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
The two-part shop has twice the work and less pay. I think the reason they did it is because the two-part supposedly involves "lower level product" inquiry, so the pay is lower. It is VP of a company gets paid higher than his secretary athough secretary may be doing all the hard work. Needless tp say, they always have trouble filling those in my area. I may still not do them even if the pay were raised due to so much work involved.

They rotate you for every other month but sometimes you may still get same employees. I have so many branches where I am that I think they can rotate shoppers among several other branches for a number of months before the same shopper can make a repeat visit to the same branch.

Jahn
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Netti
Valued Contributor

Hudson, FL
USA
197 Posts

Posted - 09/29/2011 :  5:09:31 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I don't understand why ANY company would limit you XXX amount of shops in a lifetime. My gosh, with the ratio of high turn over for employees at the majority of the locations, nothing seems to be accomplished by blocking an experienced shopper. The shopper is out of a job/jobs, the company still has to fill those and sometimes with the inexperienced. I am sorry, what am I missing here?

Silver Shopper - West Coast Florida
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Dar-L
Star Contributor

USA
1031 Posts

Posted - 09/29/2011 :  8:07:53 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
It's all in keeping the clients happy Netti.

The clients expect, and are promised by the MS companies, unbiased data from shoppers that fit the demographics of their target customers. While we shoppers strive to be responsible and professional in gaining and reporting our observations *because the MSC's expect it*, this professionalism actually alters our demographics, such that we no longer fit the model of the average customer. We all become "professional MS'ers" when we work instead of being students and factory workers and soccer moms etc.

We tend to notice things that are not so important to the clients, we begin to expect a level of service beyond the capability of the store employees we shop, and we also begin to identify with the targets we shop, to the point of making excuses for them or omitting key info the client may look for.

We don't see this occurring, but the MSC's do see it in their statistics. We feel that doing more jobs gives us experience making us better at our jobs, when in actuality it is making us less desireable as a shopper to the MSC's and clients.
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KenASch
Star Contributor

Camarillo, CA
USA
689 Posts

Posted - 10/13/2011 :  6:32:43 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Anyone else having a problem with pictures at gas stations? I had two shops put on hold this week asking for additional pictures. I have done a bunch of these in the past without a problem. I'm wondering if they have a new editor. I was able to explain why I didn't have the picture they requested on one but I will have to revisit the other one tomorrow. Luckily it's in my home town.

Ken S
Gold Shopper
Shopping Ventura County California
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Larry S
Valued Contributor

Simi Valley, CA
USA
219 Posts

Posted - 10/15/2011 :  09:56:22 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Ken,

This month they seemed to be really concerned that you had a clear picture of the application holder on the pump. Fortunately the shops were edited fast and I was able to limit the need for a 2nd trip to only a few shops.

Larry
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Jonathan B.
Star Contributor

Smyrna, Tennessee
USA
469 Posts

Posted - 10/15/2011 :  5:28:50 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
For those of you that were not seeing certain shops that you thought you should see, definitely call them. Right after they upgraded thyeir website a few years back, I had a certain client not show up on my searches, that was through no fault of mine or theirs. A computer glitch had me "fail" the screening questions that pop up before each shopping period. However, I never took that screening quiz!! I only found out about this near the end of the period when a desperate scheduler took the time to figure out why the system said I was ineligible for shops (the gas station audits that are audits only-no rotation rules, no gas purchase at start, etc.) and that had no that I had completed the past period and done similar shops for other clients that period.

Jonathan B.
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JenGA
Valued Contributor

Kingsburg, CA
USA
157 Posts

Posted - 10/18/2011 :  9:29:39 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Ken, I had the same problem. One shop still had problems, it was 45 min out of my way to go out there, and I could not get back out there again. It did seem more involved overall, well longer than the shops did take-the extra component of the audit made me crazy. I am tempted not to bother with these shops again, for the amount of work/pay, I'd be hard pressed to take them.

Jen
Mystery Shopping in the Central Valley of CA since 2005
Silver Certified since December 2008
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Laura the Canuck
Valued Contributor

Tarkio, MO
USA
128 Posts

Posted - 10/23/2011 :  07:49:37 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I self-assigned for some yellow sign shops as part of a route when they came on the board in August and they did not go through. I got a call for one a couple weeks ago... apparently the project did not start until October. I had already been to the town 45 minutes away, but thought I would do the scheduler a favor and took the shop, hoping another MSC would have a bonused location nearby. Apparently the shop description changed from when I applied and when it was assigned. The test was not available a week ago when I had time, but was there yesterday.... With the test, the time at the station, and entering the data I came out with about $4 an hour on that one. The two-gallons reimbursement was eaten by the 45 minute drive each way. (Thankfully there was a $29 Blue Light store nearby. Heck, even the golden arches did not have a bonus yet.)

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

Smyrna, Tennessee
USA
469 Posts

Posted - 10/24/2011 :  10:02:26 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
It does seem like the yellow gas stations keep getting things added to them for no extra pay. I'm starting to not like them because of all the extra things that are added.

Jonathan B.
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Netti
Valued Contributor

Hudson, FL
USA
197 Posts

Posted - 10/29/2011 :  4:36:51 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Curious how all of you handle the 'credit card' at the pump, deal. In Florida, the majority of the stations which include all brands, now put a $75 hold on your debit card for 24 hrs, if you use the pump. It is very inconvenient to purchase a pre-paid credit gift card, tie up that money until it's used up while some of the stations will not accept them. Not only that, the pre-paids charge $2.95 to load more money on.

I found out the hard way when the hold was put on my personal card, then I started investigating and asking at the convenience stores.

Silver Shopper - West Coast Florida
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Larry
Member

Sequim, WA
USA
12 Posts

Posted - 10/30/2011 :  09:38:26 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I hear that Jonathan...been wondering if others notice more work for same pay. Plus, reports are ambiguous in some areas, leaving no options but fudge. But overall, easy money and "free" gas!

Larry - Silver Certified shopping on North Olympic Peninsula of WA.
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Larry S
Valued Contributor

Simi Valley, CA
USA
219 Posts

Posted - 10/30/2011 :  12:43:27 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Netti

Curious how all of you handle the 'credit card' at the pump, deal. In Florida, the majority of the stations which include all brands, now put a $75 hold on your debit card for 24 hrs, if you use the pump. It is very inconvenient to purchase a pre-paid credit gift card, tie up that money until it's used up while some of the stations will not accept them. Not only that, the pre-paids charge $2.95 to load more money on.

For the yellow stations you need to pay for the gas inside and with cash. For the red, white & blue stations I get a gift card for that brand of gas. It works at all their stations and there is no fee. I normally put enough on it to cover two weeks and then just get another card as needed.

Larry
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Laura the Canuck
Valued Contributor

Tarkio, MO
USA
128 Posts

Posted - 10/31/2011 :  10:17:45 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I did my little, out-of-the way shop last Saturday, and logged in every day for several days to check for holds.... All was well. I got an email late Friday night about a photo hold. Did not see the email until Sunday and logged in. The shop has already gone from my list. (They did not get around to editing the shop for a week, then removed the shop because I did not see their late-night email in a timely manner?)

So I called in to speak with someone.

It is Monday, not a holiday. I have been on hold for 79 minutes so far. Thankfully I have a potable speakerphone or else I'd really be mad.

(If their Facebook page accepted comments from "fans" I would leave a comment there, too. What is going to happen? They kick me out of the program? I made $4 an hour on this shop, if they decide to pay me for it...)

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

Oklahoma
USA
661 Posts

Posted - 10/31/2011 :  2:32:17 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
OMG, that is horrible, 79 minutes? I usually use a Bluetooth so I can do cooking, laundry or what ever while I wait but for never that long. They are usually more efficient than that. Hope you get it all resolved. They are usually very good to work with.

Sue
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Laura the Canuck
Valued Contributor

Tarkio, MO
USA
128 Posts

Posted - 11/01/2011 :  5:29:02 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I hung up after 117 minutes... called back and got through via the automated system. It didn't bounce to switchboard the second time. Normally, I would not have held that long but had tucked a potable speakerphone into my shirt and had gone about my day: changing diapers, cooking lunch, etc.


Laura
Proud Canadian, shopping Northwest Missouri and Omaha areas.
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KarenMSW
Valued Contributor

USA
183 Posts

Posted - 11/01/2011 :  8:49:26 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Netti

Curious how all of you handle the 'credit card' at the pump, deal. In Florida, the majority of the stations which include all brands, now put a $75 hold on your debit card for 24 hrs, if you use the pump. It is very inconvenient to purchase a pre-paid credit gift card, tie up that money until it's used up while some of the stations will not accept them. Not only that, the pre-paids charge $2.95 to load more money on.

I found out the hard way when the hold was put on my personal card, then I started investigating and asking at the convenience stores.



Do you have kids or relatives who go to a school that uses Scrip to defray some expenses? Do you belong to a nonprofit group or a Church that uses scrip to help pay some expenses, debt, etc. If you do, buying the gift cards through a scrip program would have a two-fold benefit for you. It would prevent the credit card issue, since Maritz pays so quickly your initial cash outlay would be returned to you quickly, and the rebate that the company gives back to the organization through your gift card purchase would be earned. I used to do a ton so I would buy scrip cards in the amount equal to my shop reimbursement and got a lot of Chorus expenses covered through the program. I've also used it to have some of DD's tuition paid. My Church uses it and if you just let the rebate go to the Church instead of to you you can write off that expense as a charitable contribution. Just one way to make the purchase somewhat less painful.

Karen
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HamiltonJackson05
Member

Virginia Beach, VA
USA
14 Posts

Posted - 11/06/2011 :  6:54:36 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
The test for the green and yellow gas stations is very frustrating. Some of the pictures aren't that clear to point out exactly what's missing or invalid. The wording on a couple of questions doesn't seem to make sense. I'm down to one more test and ready to fail it again tomorrow .

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

Camarillo, CA
USA
689 Posts

Posted - 11/06/2011 :  7:10:48 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Call them and they walk you through it.

Ken S
Gold Shopper
Shopping Ventura County California
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HamiltonJackson05
Member

Virginia Beach, VA
USA
14 Posts

Posted - 11/08/2011 :  4:01:21 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Thanks Ken. I called them today and went through the test and I actually got all the answers right except for one. I just didn't want to take the test again with only one fail attempt left. Everything's good and my first shop with them is this Saturday

Hamilton
MSPA Silver certified and wanting to be video certified
Shopping in Hampton Roads
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Roberta07
Contributor

Chambersburg, PA
USA
64 Posts

Posted - 11/23/2011 :  4:07:15 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have been receiving a minimum of 1-3 calls on EACH of the projects I work for them - on a daily basis. I am ready to begin answering the phone with, "You're #6, which project, please?" I'm not sure why someone would look at the notes and assume that my answer would be different for them than for the prior 6 calls that day.

Roberta W.
Shopping Southcentral PA and MD
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