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Mystery Shopping Discussion


Posts:3,106
A ways up-thread, someone did a search on the defendant's name and found out it was Market Force.

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"Happiness is merely life's way of keeping you off-balance."
March 02, 2013 03:22AM
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Posts:883
Oh no! I do not qualify to be a mystery shopper? When I had my baby, a nurse once asked me, "Do you know you do not have a pulse?" My doctor explained that I have athlete's pulse. I guess that qualified me to do marathon swim but definitely not mystery shopping.

I guess I will just go and continue to 'fool' MFI, as they seem to be respectful of me and have been accommodating me to do shops even when I was 'hardly breathing.' If I ever fainted, would that excuse me from flaking? lol
March 02, 2013 01:40PM
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Posts:1,277
risinghorizon Wrote:
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> Oh no! I do not qualify to be a mystery shopper?
> When I had my baby, a nurse once asked me, "Do you
> know you do not have a pulse?" My doctor
> explained that I have athlete's pulse. I guess
> that qualified me to do marathon swim but
> definitely not mystery shopping.
>
> I guess I will just go and continue to 'fool' MFI,
> as they seem to be respectful of me and have been
> accommodating me to do shops even when I was
> 'hardly breathing.' If I ever fainted, would that
> excuse me from flaking? lol

When I had my first child I remember reading that mothers become brain dead. That actually happened to me and I think I am still brain dead from the experience. I used to be able to check the grocery bill item by item as it went by on the register but no more since having children! But alas I am breathing well and able to join the other breathing minions taking all those $2 shops and doing them successfully. Please do not forget, you wonderful shoppers who are more than breathing, someone needs to be willing and able to do the $2 shops you do not want...and those that do accept them are most likely the bulk of the shoppers percentage wise. You can do those well but also you can do the higher paying ones, like $3-4! There is no excuse for the msc calling us all just breathers but from their point of view, esp for a company that mostly does bulk shops with checkoff boxes only, it may look like that most days. They are getting much better shops lately so perhaps they will change their tune.
March 02, 2013 02:02PM
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Posts:2
Hi,
If you go to Youtube you can watch this episode. The case for the MSC is the 2nd one on the docket. Here is the link:

[www.youtube.com]
March 02, 2013 10:41PM
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Posts:2
Oops sorry...it did not give the whole link.
Search for The People's Court 2/26/13 uploaded by camptonXVl
March 02, 2013 10:43PM
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Posts:1,941
Just checked it out. It was actually the host that suggested that the only qualification needed was the ability to breathe. However, the MSC did not deny it.

The plaintiff was a joke. He goes into court with four folders, and yet had no tangible evidentiary documents showing dates and times. He tacked on all kinds of made-up stuff to be reiumbursed for, like gas and tolls. The MSC claimed he was trying to get paid for three assigments that he had cancelled, and one was for a client they didn't even have.

The MSC also said some of the clients are considering prosecuting him, one of the reasons being that he tried to return merchandise he was reiumbursed for.

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"Between stimulus and response, there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom."
~Viktor Frankl
March 02, 2013 11:09PM
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Posts:1,896
Thank you very much for the link. I just watched the part of the clip that had to do with the MS case. The plaintiff/shopper had no credibility. The MSC rep. did fine during the case but was foolish in taking the bait outside the courtroom.
March 02, 2013 11:13PM
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Posts:1,896
I believe the only "pay" guaranteed for each party is about $250 in appearance fees and $200 in travel expenses. The court pays any monetary judgment in the case from a fund ($5,000?), and whatever is left is split between the two parties (not sure if it's a 50/50 split).
March 02, 2013 11:55PM
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Posts:64
I'd have to guess that the MSC would have to do some damage control after this episode - It gives them as much of a bad rep as the shopper-plaintiff.
I mean, I wouldn't be happy as a client if I saw that these were the type of people reporting on my business and that they only required people who breathe. I'd question the credibility of reports I'd been recieving and such.
March 03, 2013 01:06AM
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Posts:407
I find this just very unpleasant - that the MSC would say the only requirement for being a secret shopper is breathing. I take this seriously and intend to make it a sideline for the time being, and I take my reports seriously. This means that I strive for well-written reports that are error free. This also involves some having some handle on basic technology and having some kind of organizational skills - though from what is being said the shopper in question here flunked that one with flying colors.
March 03, 2013 02:03AM
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Posts:538
I have not watched this episode but I do watch Judge Judy. Unfortunately so do my friends and family and I am sure that they now firmly believe that I am just "fooling around" when I go to work. Since the only requirement is to be breathing I guess I can throw my computer, printer, calender, car and timing devices out the window. Not to mention trying to figure out this business and being able to write and spell legibly. It is pretty insulting....
March 03, 2013 02:14AM
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Posts:14,346
Neither the plaintiff or the defendant was a shining example of anything in our business. There were also several myths about mystery shopping which were highlighted in and out of the courtroom. When the judge made a reference to keeping reimbursed merchandise, nothing was said about it being worth $1 to $2 on average. The MSC rep said shoppers get reimbursed in the range of $20 for a meal plus another $7 to $10 for a shopper fee. How many times does anyone get that much from this MSC? When Harvey Levin asked a MS how much she made she threw out numbers of $200 to $500 with no explanation of whether that was per week, per month or per job.

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"Allow me to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket." – Captain Jack Sparrow
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"I don't drink these days. I am allergic to alcohol and narcotics. I break out in handcuffs. - Robert Downey, Jr.
March 03, 2013 11:11AM
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itsasecret Wrote:
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> One thing I have learned by carrying a recorder
> pen in my pocket is that I don't only breathe, I
> hum and groan a lot for no apparent reason.


If you are recording the shop the "audible noises" like yawns or asking "waiting for me?" at an empty register marks time and events. Grunts groans and other noises equal accurate timing
March 03, 2013 04:05PM
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Posts:3,103
I cough when I get in line and say, "Oh, it's my turn?" when I've been called. "In" when I come in, "Out" when I go out. But the humming and groaning . . . no idea why I do that. I don't even realize i'm doing it.

I was once told that I moan when I eat cereal. No clue.

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I pray it does not occur that the last thing I did before I died was vacuum the house or eat broccoli.
March 03, 2013 06:33PM
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Posts:7
I saw the episode and came away shaking my head. Judge Milian treated mystery shopping like a lark - something fun she might like to do. When she asked what skills were needed, I about died when the MSC said "breathing." Sadly, this perception of mystery shopping is why my brother and his family have no respect for what I do. It irks me - as if my ability to write well, among other skills, counts for nothing. I take this seriously - it's not a hobby for me..

Sadly, the shopper was ill-prepared, which also irked me. If you're suing someone, be prepared. Take the lawsuit seriously!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/03/2013 09:18PM by kat.
March 03, 2013 08:34PM
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Posts:14,346
It was actually the interviewer that came up with the line about breathing. From what was televised the MSC did agree. The problem with these types of programs is editing. Reality shows are never based in reality, merely entertainment.

*****************************************************************
"Allow me to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket." – Captain Jack Sparrow
*********************************************************************
"I don't drink these days. I am allergic to alcohol and narcotics. I break out in handcuffs. - Robert Downey, Jr.
March 03, 2013 08:54PM
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Posts:3,103
Wow. I just watched it. I love at the end when they ask the guy if he's going to keep shopping and he says no. AS IF he ever could again, after outing himself on national TV as a mystery shopper.

What a nitwit.

I think he just thought he should be making more per hour than it works out to. At the end he wasn't talking about not getting paid, he was grousing about all the time you have to spend doing the reports -- well, if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. That's part of the job. Nobody's going to get rich doing this. Very few even make a sustainable living at it.

So I wonder what bank shops he did for someone OTHER than the defendant who "stiffed" him too?

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I pray it does not occur that the last thing I did before I died was vacuum the house or eat broccoli.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/04/2013 11:12AM by itsasecret.
March 03, 2013 09:23PM
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Posts:3,103
I think what he was hoping to do was leverage the question that is near the top of all MF reports that asks if you have any fees for faxes or tolls that you need to report.

The lawyer let slip that MF has 600,000 shoppers. I find that hard to believe, actually. That would be 12,000 per state. I wouldn't think they post enough jobs to need 600,000 active shoppers. Although if they were including the purple side, maybe there are a lot of jobs I don't ever see.

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I pray it does not occur that the last thing I did before I died was vacuum the house or eat broccoli.
March 04, 2013 11:16AM
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Posts:3,942
I believe the number. The company was not identified, so there was no one-upmanship involved in stating the number of shoppers. Yes, that's huge. Does the company work only in the United States? I never considered whether they might be international.

Let's remember that not every shopper is aggressively shopping. Some will only do one or two shops a month for the company. I shop 12 - 16 days a month and last year I did 642 shops, but probably not more than a dozen or so for this company. I'm thinking that a lot of us who are signed up with the company don't actually do many of their shops. We probably mostly use them for fill ins when we need a meal on a route, or when they offer us a bonus.
March 04, 2013 12:12PM
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Posts:3,103
25 of my 148 shops have been for them. ALL of my most lucrative shops have been with MF, with the lone exception of that one bank shop at the Grand Canyon that got the $125 bonus.

I like the ease of scheduling and the reports are usually simple. But there is an attitude that shoppers are totally disposable so I try not to depend on them. I've shopped for over 20 companies so far and I add a few more to my list of over 50 MSCs every week. Some of them just never have anything in my area.

I figure someday they'll get tired of me, and I hope by then I'm also tired of THEM. smiling smiley I thrive on variety.

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I pray it does not occur that the last thing I did before I died was vacuum the house or eat broccoli.
March 04, 2013 12:47PM
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Posts:1,788
My daughter said she saw MFI flyers on her college campus, recruiting college students to shop. I also believe their numbers of 600,000 shoppers. Of those, I wonder how many have been deactivated.
March 04, 2013 10:59PM
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Posts:2,140
I would guess that MFI could arguably have the largest database out there. While I have not shopped for them in years, I know I am still active in their database and I am guessing that number probably includes every single person that has ever signed up, even if they have not completed a shop.

If you consider the number for domestic use only and figure the US population at just over 300 Million, that means about 1 in every 500 people is a shopper. I would guess that over 50% of the people I know are registered shoppers. Most of my family and close friends have tried out shops after accompanying me, so for everyone that knows a group of 500 folks without a shopper in it, I have 20 or 30 to spare smiling smiley

I say the number is believable and the unfortunately, the plaintiff in this case is also sadly believable as an unprepared shopper....
March 05, 2013 01:02PM
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Posts:4
I am soooo glad I found this site. I have been a breather (lol) since 2007, but had to stop in 2010 due to vehicle situation. But now I'm getting back in the breathing game. I really wish I had watched this show (or maybe not, as I probably would have thrown something at my TV hearing "all you had to do was breathe"winking smiley. I guess the memorization and organization skills, along with perfect spelling and grammer, automatically come with breathing. Do you think this rep knew she was insulting her own people? I am at a loss for words on that one, as I take a lot of time and care on my result reports. We are talking about peoples jobs. Some of these companies fire employees that get bad reports. I know someone that works at a car lot, and he told me that they have regular meetings about MS that may come on the lot. We help large, very well known companies, make sure their employees are doing what they are required to do. I guess like other jobs we have all worked....we're just underappreciated.
March 05, 2013 07:43PM
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Posts:2,140
I think it's safe to say the comment about breathing was meant to be slightly tongue-in-cheek, and to point out that minimal special skills or education were required to become a shopper. The MSC rep was clear that they were simply looking for consumers of products and there was no stipulation about what made a good shopper, though the program and frustrated shopper clearly pointed out that it requires a good deal of time and organization, as well as observational skills.

The reality is that the only thing required to sign up is the ability to complete a web form with your information. It's a skill slightly above breathing and that's probably the majority of the MFI shopper core. Some of the shops I have done for MFI in the past required checking around a dozen boxes, entering a few numbers and absolutely no narrative. Printing and submitting the CPI were the hardest parts of those jobs, so it's a job that someone with less than a high-school education can do. I would guess that it takes more skills to work in a fast food establishment than to shop one.

That said, it takes a great deal more organizational, reading and writing skills, as well as memory, improvisation and role-playing to be a great shopper and make a decent wage at it. The plaintiff on the show admitted that he was not cut out for the job in the end. Quality MSCs appreciate their shoppers and the required skills they bring to the table. Companies like MFI concentrate more on the numbers and have no issue with dropping or replacing shoppers as needed. You are just a number, warm body, breather or whatever you want to call it to them.
March 05, 2013 09:19PM
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Posts:31
I guess I wasn't breathing enough as I was dropped by the MS company for not accepting enough of their low paying shops. It doesn't surprise me of their cavalier attitude toward shoppers, as they seem to treat us as disposable as a napkin from one of their underpaid fast food clients.
March 06, 2013 07:19PM
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Posts:109
itsasecret Wrote:
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> One thing I have learned by carrying a recorder
> pen in my pocket is that I don't only breathe, I
> hum and groan a lot for no apparent reason.


That is absolutely hilarious, itsasecret. When I first started using Naturally Speaking Dragon for some of my long narratives, I kept noticing " him him him" randomly inserted here and there. I soon realized that I clear my throat a lot...geez!
March 06, 2013 08:29PM
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Posts:80
Steve so cal said- "You are just a number, warm body, breather or whatever you want to call it to them"

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And I'm just a big fat warm body looking to get paid to eat. Ive been in worse relationships. Tonight I had a pizza and 2 chicken breasts and they paid me $12 on top. That pizza and chicken was the highlight of my day. I do live in Nebraska you know. I give market force a thumbs up and wish there was even one other mystery shopping company half as good as them.
March 06, 2013 09:22PM
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Posts:3,103
I've had no problems with them until they tried to cancel a shop I had already done when THEY were the ones who decided to hold it open (the tax return shop that couldn't be completed all in one go because of IRS delays).

They need to send their staff to a class in tact. "Sorry, this phase ends today so we can't pay you for the shop, better cancel the return so you don't have to pay fees" is a bit abrupt after I had been in constant contact with them for over a month on the shop, including just two days prior to getting the notice.

They did, however, hear my righteous protest and rescinded the rescission and I was able to finish it up.

But I have to admit I thought that email was beyond insensitive.

I'll decide to forgive them for it AFTER I get paid the fee and the reimbursement (over $600 total) next month. I've done a lot of work for them, but the tone of that letter demonstrated to me how little regard they have for shoppers as human beings, not just breathing machines that are a dime a dozen.

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I pray it does not occur that the last thing I did before I died was vacuum the house or eat broccoli.
March 06, 2013 10:19PM
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Posts:14,346
Ah, this explains a lot. If you really think MF is the cream of the crop, then you are not signed on with enough companies.

TRUTHSEEKER Wrote:
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> I give market force a thumbs up and wish
> there was even one other mystery shopping company
> half as good as them.

*****************************************************************
"Allow me to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket." – Captain Jack Sparrow
*********************************************************************
"I don't drink these days. I am allergic to alcohol and narcotics. I break out in handcuffs. - Robert Downey, Jr.
March 07, 2013 10:33AM
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Posts:109
I can breathe AND think by myself. I think I am over qualified. Maybe I need to start asking MFs for a bonus for each job due to my high qualifications!
March 07, 2013 11:11AM
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