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 Lower shop fees debate - Low Paying Shops
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BekkiCat
Star Contributor

Charlotte, NC
USA
296 Posts

Posted - 10/12/2004 :  12:52:56 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I had a downer when I read my Sunday paper on Oct. 10th. The main story in the business was on "Mystery Shopping". Although it did say that 'Mystery shopping will not make you rich,' it proceeded to offer two main sites to all of the readers who 'might want to get into mystery shopping'. It listed many "common mistakes" Mystery Shoppers make in the beginning and how to correct them. It also listed the total number (I don't know how they got their data!?!) for my city--over 280 shoppers. My point is: I am already competing with 280+ mystery shoppers in my city and I can just imagine (with the publicity from the article), twice as many people applying for jobs; therefore, (and since they've already been told 'not to expect to make it rich but it's a good way to get free meals, entertainment, etc.'), I anticipate lower fees being offered in this area with a new generation of people entering the field. I don't know. Any thoughts?

Bekki
Gold-certified
Undercover Essentials video-certified
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Christy_LC
Star Contributor

Lake, Illinois
USA
370 Posts

Posted - 10/12/2004 :  01:07:35 AM  Visit Christy_LC's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Any thoughts? Yes. I think that these articles are actually press releases, or advertisements, from companies recruiting new shoppers for the exactly the reasons that you suggest: lower fees and fresh faces. Many of the new recruits will not last, and they know it. In the meantime, there was another shopper in the rotation.



Christy
The shopper formerly known as ChrisLC
MSPA Gold
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BekkiCat
Star Contributor

Charlotte, NC
USA
296 Posts

Posted - 10/12/2004 :  01:26:32 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Makes sense ChrisLC . . . It just puts my regualr accts. into question. C'est la vie, ladidadida, I guess. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Christmas is coming up and you know how long it takes to get reimbursement or paid for jobs. Do you or anyone else have any ideas on how how to get an edge on newbies who most likely won't last?

Bekki
Gold-certified
Undercover Essentials video-certified
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Christy_LC
Star Contributor

Lake, Illinois
USA
370 Posts

Posted - 10/12/2004 :  02:13:46 AM  Visit Christy_LC's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and apply to other companies. You may be surprised to discover new favorite companies and assignments.

Christy
The shopper formerly known as ChrisLC
MSPA Gold
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MaryLou
Inactive

East County / San Diego, CA
USA
915 Posts

Posted - 10/12/2004 :  11:10:03 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Bekkicat

Makes sense ChrisLC . . . It just puts my regualr accts. into question. C'est la vie, ladidadida, I guess. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Christmas is coming up and you know how long it takes to get reimbursement or paid for jobs. Do you or anyone else have any ideas on how how to get an edge on newbies who most likely won't last?



Yep. For $15 you can get your MSPA Silver Cert (tax deductible). Then when 280 new people apply for the same (MSPA) MSP SASSIE shop, you will be at the top of the pile. (Your e-mail address will have your cert next to it if you are applying to an MSPA Company that uses SASSIE.) At least you will be given a chance and will stand out as a "serious" shopper, as opposed to the huge pile of shoppers on whom they have no info.
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MarieSpree
Star Contributor

NY
USA
511 Posts

Posted - 10/12/2004 :  11:32:55 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Many shoppers agree that the newbies take low-paying shops for experience, resume building, and because they don't know any better. More experienced shoppers claim these shops aren't worth taking.

In some ways, though, it seems that these shops are MORE worthwhile to the experienced shoppers. If you look at it purely from a dollars-per-hour standpoint, the people who can accomplish the shop and fill out the report more quickly (most likely because of more experience) are making the shop worth more to them than someone new who labors over it longer.

Of course, I'm not saying the experienced shoppers should be grabbing up the lousy-paying shops, I'm just saying that, while they're bad overall, they seem like they'd be slightly less bad for those with more experience.

And, of course, the higher paying shops go to those with more experience, so a dollars-per-hour "raise" is upheld, just as it is in salaried careers.

A big part of the problem is addressed on the Marxism thread: what is an acceptable standard of living? No one can agree on what salary is good/normal/average. Shoppers from drastically different demographics are not going to stop arguing about 2-dollar shops, because 2 dollars is never going to be the same amount of money to all of us.

"Let's shop til we plop!" "You mean shop til we drop?" "Whatever!"
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LyndaK
Star Contributor

Toledo, Ohio
USA
273 Posts

Posted - 05/15/2005 :  07:36:17 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
A question was posed in another thread about why are companies lowering their shop fees? Now I know that alot of peole think it is because as the shopper, we're the ones getting the short end of the stick, so that the proverbial, "Fat cats" can continue lining their pockets. But the more I read, see, and hear, the more I believe that at least a big part of it is just what is happening ALL over America now.
People are losing their jobs, companies are downsizing, people are working in EVERY sector for less pay because of salary slashing, the rate of inflation is climbing while ordinary joes are NOT getting cost of living raises, or any type of raise for years at a time. Alot of people are working for the same money they were 5 years ago, even tho the cost of living has continued to rise. Alot of people, not just shoppers, are working for less than they were 5 years ago, simply because that's the way it is now in our economic climate.
For instance, 3 years ago, a new company bought the business that my husband worked at for 20 years. They promptly slashed his salary 30K per year. Now, we aren't rich by any means. He was making a 5 figure salary, not a 6 figure salary, we have 4 kids, the mortgage,, etc. But the company did it anyway. He is in a specialized field, with a non compete contract, so he couldn't just quit and go find another job. Another year after the slash in salary, they, "downsized" him right out of the job. 20 years in the company, no benefits, no severance, just fired. I personally know of 3 people, in their 40's, that have lost their jobs after 20 or so years in a company. What people have to spend is MORE, while what they're bringing in is less, period.
I know that there are shopper companies out there that are certainly paying lower fees so that they can continue to line managements pockets in the style they are accustomed to, but there are shop fees are lowered through no fault of the shop company.
Now IMO, this is part of the reason, not the whole reason, but part of the reason.
That being said, the .50 cent phone call, or 5 buck shops, are ridiculous. It makes me think about them in particular, that they are just lining their own pockets off the sweat of others, or that they may be in danger of folding, because they cannot meet their explenses without shafting the shoppers.
BarbiNJ, said it best in the thread, their are people, (thousands) that do not want to take lower pay, but if it meant losing your job altogether? That's the question, I guess.

Lynda
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PennyC
Star Contributor

GA
USA
658 Posts

Posted - 05/15/2005 :  07:57:46 AM  Visit PennyC's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
I was told by the cashier at Old Navy yesterday that if I filled out an online survey I would get 10% off my next purchase.
Talk about paying to "shop"...... no thanks.
My feedback is specialized and educated and I do not give it away for (less than) free!
We all have to find our break even points. ANd they are all different. I located mine Friday at 3:55 PM in Norten Shores, MI.

PennyC
MSPA Gold Certified 5/04
Shopping Gwinnett, Hall and Jackson Counties in Georgia
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JustJoan
Contributor

New York, NY
USA
94 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2005 :  9:07:56 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I know it's my own fault for taking this assignment, but I'm just so mad (probably at myself) for taking this $5 job. It's one of these "4 or 5 question reports and several digital photo" assignments that shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes including the site visit. My feeling, when I accepted the job was that it was in my neighborhood (I could walk there) so it was no biggie.

Well, the company's website wasn't working when I tried inputting the "quick and easy 4 or 5 question report" and did it twice before I gave up and sent an email to the scheduler. She sent me back an email with the report form attached and asked me to try a third time. It was clear that the report form wasn't complete (the last question was missing) but I submitted it again and now I have my fingers crossed that I won't hear back for a fourth attempt.

Bottom line: I didn't need the frustration and aggravation for the lousy $5 and I'll think twice before accepting such a low paying job again, even when it's only "4 or 5 questions."

MSPA Gold Certified
Happily shopping NYC since 2001
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MandyMichel
Member

St. Louis, MO
USA
10 Posts

Posted - 05/21/2005 :  09:11:32 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I've been reading about the issue of low shopper fees on this website for awhile. I think the answer to the problem is for shoppers of a particular area to try to come up with a living wage. I have two kinds of shops I do: ones that are fun and give me great reimbursements (dinner, bowling, etc.) and ones that are boring and pay me (banks, jewelry stores, etc.). For the shops that do NOT subsidize my entertainment, I must receive a bare minimum of $8 an hour for the time I spend working. I subtract from the fee the cost of gas and I include time spent driving, printing, faxing, typing up the report, and whatever other time-consuming stuff as part of the time. Basically, one day I did a cost-benefit analysis of a day of shopping and realized that the amount I made fell below the mark of $8/hour and I felt very degraded by that. Now if everyone in Missouri agreed with me that our time was worth a minimum of $8 an hour (and preferably more), we just would not take any low paying jobs (unless they counted as entertainment). Of course, if I heard from other shoppers in Missouri and they said, "$8 an hour is ridiculous. $10 is the minimum," I could agree to that, too.
I used to live in Seattle and there, my shopping minimum would be higher, just because of the cost of living.
The only problem really is subjectivity. What is boring work for me might be fun for some shoppers. Some shoppers might not be as good at predicting how much time they will actually spend versus the money. But deciding upon a bare minimum hourly wage for a particular area would at least allow us to create some sort of benchmark of decent pay.

Mandy
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JoyB
Valued Contributor

Cherry Hill, NJ
USA
212 Posts

Posted - 05/21/2005 :  09:34:14 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I do the same cost analysis every day when I shop. Granted I do it in my head so it's not super precise but I live in NJ and feel I need to make $12-15/ hour to justify going out. I don't deduct gas but I do factor in travel and report time. Sometimes I can average higher per hour but if I fall below $12 well I feel like I might as well stay home.

Gold Certified Shopper in South Jersey - Cherry Hill, Marlton, Voorhees, Moorestown, Mt. Laurel, Berlin, Medford and other neighboring towns.
joy.bennett@verizon.net
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CMilton
Star Contributor

North Haledon, NJ
USA
379 Posts

Posted - 05/23/2005 :  08:47:35 AM  Visit CMilton's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
My bottom line is that if I don't make 20 bucks an hour or totally enjoy doing the shop,I don't do it. When I started out, I did everything I could get, just to get experience and to build up some sort of "resume", but I don't do that anymore.

Any shop with photos is going to be more time consuming than you think, and 5 bucks isn't going to cut it, I don't care how many or how close. The only thing I would do for five bucks is a phone shop, in multiples, where I can knock of a bunch of them in a night without re reading instructions or re inventing scenarios.

Right now, about all I'm doing is financial reps, hotels, fine dining, bookstores, and emergency shops. My days of doing 5 buck gas station audits are way over.

c.

celia milton
Gold Certified 2004, nzcy0k
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UpstateNYKat
Star Contributor

Rochester, NY
USA
1100 Posts

Posted - 07/19/2005 :  06:30:58 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Back in October I posted about a reveal shop/Audit with a fee that had gone down by $2.00 from the year before. They recently started posting this year's shops and they have dropped yet another $2.00!

Katrina
Part time shopper Rochester, NY
Silver Certified #junxlc
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JoyB
Valued Contributor

Cherry Hill, NJ
USA
212 Posts

Posted - 07/19/2005 :  09:41:18 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I saw those.... I refused them last year when they went down $2..... of course little good that did me as they have now gone down 2 more dollars. For a whopping $4 less than I did them in 2003.
Just goes to show that someone will take them.....I think when you factor in the printing of the reward certificate ( I saw on another thread that people are purchasing card stock and using color ink) , the reveal (I'm assuming its as before and you must reveal even if they lose), and having to stay after to audit that it just is not enough fee for the trouble...but obviously others feel quite good about the pay . I guess as they are all being snapped up that they will be down another $2 next round and so on and so on until they are only reimbursement.
Since I generaly hate revealed reward shops (unless I only have to reveal to a winner) it's just that much easier to refuse them.

Gold Certified Shopper in South Jersey - Cherry Hill, Marlton, Voorhees, Moorestown, Mt. Laurel, Berlin, Medford and other neighboring towns.
joy.bennett@verizon.net
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.Kenthe Sub
Inactive

WI
USA
658 Posts

Posted - 07/19/2005 :  10:27:51 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
This morning I got an urgent message to do a large Mart furniture shop, assuming it might have a bonus I did go to the website, saw the small fee and the training materials.

I did take time to reply and said that this fee was way too low and did not warrant my doing the shop but I would consider it for a fee of $20.00. I have to drive to that community for other reasons in the next day or two but I just don't feel I want to continue reinforcing ridiculos fee shops with the attitude of "I'm going right by it anyhow" or similar. I also noted that many shoppers on Volition.com are discussing low fee shops.

The other 2 dept. big box electronics shop, $4.00 per dept. with a max. of $2.00 purchase reimbursement I also now pass on until the bonus is at least $10.00 making total fee of $18.00 plus a "free" soda. Those shops closest to me have not been taken for two plus weeks so I think the message may be starting to get out.
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UpstateNYKat
Star Contributor

Rochester, NY
USA
1100 Posts

Posted - 07/19/2005 :  10:40:54 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Ken,

If you're talking about the store I think you are, there is one directly across the street from my apartment and I REFUSE to shop it. The same company shops a large home store that is 1/10 of a mile down the street from my apartment for the same RIDICULOUSLY LOW fee. I refuse to shop that too. I've never done a shop for that company and rarely even check their sight. The only reason I don't deactivate from them is because I think they'll come to their senses and start offering fair wages for the amount of work they want.

Katrina
Part time shopper Rochester, NY
Silver Certified #junxlc
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AnneZ
Valued Contributor

Warrenton, VA
USA
127 Posts

Posted - 07/19/2005 :  12:37:27 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
If we just sit tight, bonuses will appear and we can make a decent amount of money. I understand why a lot of folks might have their reasons for taking these $5 (and less!!!) jobs, but I hope that one day they will realize they are cutting their own throats by doing so.....

I happen to really like working for some of these notorious low payers - but they have pony up decent fees for me to take their jobs. I got the furniture email also. When that shop reaches $15, I will take it....unless one of my desperate neighbors takes it for $5 again.

Whatever.


AnneZ MSPA Silver certification
shopping Northern Virginia and military bases
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BekkiCat
Star Contributor

Charlotte, NC
USA
296 Posts

Posted - 07/19/2005 :  1:17:18 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have become so jaded over the past year about low pay because after receiving e-mails from companies, I will look at the pay, read the other offers (with 70% of them offering the same low pay), apply--or if I'm lucky, self-assign--for the better-paying jobs, go back to the lower-paying jobs to see if any are convenient and/or not so embarrassingly lower than most of the low-paying jobs, and guess what? Someone has already signed for the job! So, I just don't see many Shoppers who will band together to fight for better pay. AND, a year ago, these jobs paid at least $2 to $4 more! You can't tell me that the companies assigning these jobs are settling for lower prices for these gigs. So, what's the real problem? I'd say it is the integrity of the new shoppers who have joined into the force over the past year or so. I would like to know what percentage of the new shoppers are MSPA-certified. Anyone have access to that info? I am MSPA silver-certified and would be gold if they would ever offer a workshop within driving distance.

Bekki
Gold-certified
Undercover Essentials video-certified
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KrisM
Inactive

USA
297 Posts

Posted - 07/19/2005 :  1:34:59 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I like the $7 gas station shops, only because I like the quick in and out shops! I don't want to spend 1/2 hour to an hour evaluating a bank or other business. I can do a $7 gas station shop in 10 minutes AT THE MOST! That's over $35 an hour with gas stations being on every other corner. The forms only take 5 minutes to fill out.

When I select a shop, I don't turn down the $5 shops right off the bat. It depends on how much time I have to invest in doing it. KMart shop for $5, not until a bonus is offered cause it can take 1/2 hour.

Don't just look at the shop fee, look at what it takes to complete it. Sometimes, it's so simple the $5 is easy money made.
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AnneZ
Valued Contributor

Warrenton, VA
USA
127 Posts

Posted - 07/19/2005 :  2:12:21 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
You might want to edit your post there, Kris.

So your quickie shops might be $4 next month ??

AnneZ MSPA Silver certification
shopping Northern Virginia and military bases
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