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Mystery Shopping Company Discussion

How do you get post security access at an airport
AceofSpades
Posts:17
Any one knows,these shops pay 25.00
December 05, 2013 12:52PM
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walesmaven
Posts:6,683
You do whatever the MSC and client directions tell you to do to get post-security. For some, you must already have security badge, so those go to airline employees, mostly. See also a current thread on this subject, elsewhere in the forums.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/05/2013 12:57PM by walesmaven.
December 05, 2013 12:56PM
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techman01
Posts:2,630
when no one is looking you casually walk in thru the exit side.

= + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + =
The best way to predict the future is to create it.
December 05, 2013 01:17PM
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dhilpert
Posts:13
techman01 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> when no one is looking you casually walk in thru
> the exit side.

I like to get a running start. You're thru so fast they don't notice.
December 05, 2013 04:30PM
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sportsed1
Posts:241
Excellent advice. Those wacky TSA guys love that stuff.
December 05, 2013 07:25PM
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Michael C
Posts:443
As an individual there's no quick way around this. Before I got in, I got excited about all those $25.00 shops. Now I'm ready to pass my green card to the next sucker. They are a nice gig if you happen to be in the airport anyway, but that is about it. Some shopping companies arrange for their people to get an employee badge, some have the client put the shoppers in as employees. The outlook for airport shopping in the short term is not great. There's been talk on here about a big client shutting down. I'm aware of a different company that has been suddenly sold and their MS program is on hold. There's going to be a glut of experienced shoppers and airline workers fighting for the remaining jobs. Add to the mix the recent nationwide pushback by low wage worker organizers. Defiant workers = worse service = longer reports, challenged reports, and MSC's that will drop you in a heartbeat to keep the client happy. There are better places to put your effort. If you are still determined to try, I suggest you walk in backwards. really. slow.

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December 05, 2013 08:27PM
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walesmaven
Posts:6,683
MichaelC,
Thanks for discouraging so many shoppers from a real gravy train of shops that I do. Only one MSC has lost their contract for 2014. There are a lot of big airports out there and MSCs needing reliable shoppers for post security. But, with your help in discouraging others to apply, I can continue to do $1000-$1200 in post security shops, plus reimbursed swag, in the first 10 days of the month, every couple of months.

Instead of continuing to tell shoppers how dumb they are to accept most shops, you might try giving some concrete advice as to how to get ahead in this business. Generalizations do not help shoppers to get ahead.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
December 05, 2013 09:20PM
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Michael C
Posts:443
I'm sorry Walesmaven, it would never work out for us.

"You do whatever the MSC and client directions tell you to do to get post-security."
"Generalizations do not help shoppers to get ahead."

I must be in over my head here.

I shared my personal experience as a new shopper and suggested avoiding a recently declining area of the market, then ended with a joke. I thought that was a pretty good post.

I have never anyone they are dumb. I joined in a series of obvious jests in this thread with my own. You seem to be stalking me across threads, but I have never told anyone they are dumb in another thread either.

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December 05, 2013 09:57PM
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walesmaven
Posts:6,683
Well, if calling other shoppers suckers, in your post above, is not somewhat like calling them dumb, I will stand corrected.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
December 06, 2013 08:46AM
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KateH
Posts:426
walesmaven Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> MichaelC,
> Thanks for discouraging so many shoppers from a
> real gravy train of shops that I do. Only one MSC
> has lost their contract for 2014. There are a lot
> of big airports out there and MSCs needing
> reliable shoppers for post security. But, with
> your help in discouraging others to apply, I can
> continue to do $1000-$1200 in post security shops,
> plus reimbursed swag, in the first 10 days of the
> month, every couple of months.
>
> Instead of continuing to tell shoppers how dumb
> they are to accept most shops, you might try
> giving some concrete advice as to how to get ahead
> in this business. Generalizations do not help
> shoppers to get ahead.

Wow, so you do 10 lists for that month, in order to make $1000-1200 per month? That's 100+ shops x 1200 words each, or do you mean $1000 per year? I can not imagine the MSC allowing you to do all the lists each quarter for an entire airport, unless you do LGA and JFK as well but the payment is still the same, plus since at the NYC airports you only get a gate pass for the terminal and an escort, you can not visit again at a separate trip to do the $25 and the MSC does not allow shops for the corporate office for a location to be done the same day the shop is being done for the airport management. Since you travel to NY, if you shop at NYC you can make $500 in fees in a day after the 15 of the month, less writing and while enjoying yourself and getting additional reimbursement. Plus you can throw in a fine dining lunch, high end hair salon, and any special project that always seems to show up in Manhattan. All these while being just below Central Park. You can even get a nice boutique hotel to go and enjoy additional shops that require purchase and return the next day, or extend shopping to lower Manhattan.
December 06, 2013 12:31PM
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walesmaven
Posts:6,683
Kate,
I do not currently do any airport shops at the NYC/Newark airports.

I think that you are assuming a number of things, like the fees, the narrative length, and the number of shops per airport per shopping period, and the policies of the airport management companies. In my experience,the Port Authority of NY and NJ is a law unto itself, btw.

For the airport circuits that I do, the written report takes 15 minutes, average 4 per hour. I am a slow typist, but that is my rate. No pix to upload. I am badged at more than one airport, but I will give you an example of what the total shop load is for an average airport in my areas.
Here goes a hypothetical airport case:
Client: the company that manages all of the airport concessions, in most cases (Often a contractor specializing in airport and shopping center management.)
Number of concessions = 105 (This is a large, but not huge, airport.)
Shopped: every other month, eg, Feb, Apr, June, etc. 6 shop periods/months, per year per airport
Each concession shopped: a minimum of 3 times per shopping period/month. Some are shopped 4-5 times, if they are having problems or contradictory reports have been filed.
Total number of shoppers badged for post security: 5-6
Number of different airports each shopper shops on each occasion: 2 or more
Number of concessions shopped on each shopper visit 20-25 (This includes both pre- and post-security.)
Number of visits each shopper makes to these airports each round: 2-5
Minimum number of concessions I have shopped in a round: 65
Maximum number of concessions that I have shopped each round: 105
MY typical shop load for each round: 4 visits to 2 airports and a total of 80-85 shops.
In addition to fees, I bring home tons of reimbursed food, travel sized toiletries, etc.

Just to complicate things, nearly every concession in the airport may also be shopped by another, or 2 other MSCs whose clients are either the company that granted the franchise for the ff or restaurant, etc. and/or the person/company that owns several franchises or establishments in that airport. Typically, it is only the MSCs that have the “whole airport management company” contracts that put together big route/circuits and take the time and trouble to get a cadre of shoppers badged just to do those shops. The other types of shops are spread across nearly as many different MSCs as there are franchisors/business owners at a given airport. That is what accounts for the relatively high number of MSCs that have at least a few post-security shops during any given year.
Some MSCs that have “whole airport” clients use job boards and a lot or shoppers, but may not bother to get the shoppers badged. They might manage to get day passes for each shopper for each visit, which is ridiculously cumbersome for both the shopper and the MSC. Under current “escort” rules, having unbadged shoppers escorted to every concession beyond security is probably not an option that either the client or the MSC wants to pay for. (Like all badged personnel, I had to learn all those rules and pass tests on them.) Those that do get the shoppers badged, do so only on an “as needed” basis, from what I have gathered. The MSC goes through a lot of red tape to get shoppers badged, plus the wait for the shoppers who apply to get their clearances and badges. So for smaller numbers of post assignment shops per month, some MSCs just try to reply on personnel that have other sources of badges, like airline employees, or frequent travelers, or ask the shopper to buy a refundable ticket to gain access to a concourse.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
December 06, 2013 04:22PM
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KateH
Posts:426
"Number of different airports each shopper shops on each occasion: 2 or more (**Do you mean terminal or circuit?)

Number of concessions shopped on each shopper visit 20-25 (This includes both pre- and post-security.) (**So each circuit is 20 shops?)

Number of visits each shopper makes to these airports each round: 2-5 (**So you do 10 average circuits as the average circuit for the major MSC that does airport is 10-12 shops. If that's the company that I am thinking, they do them as 10 shops per circuit in other airports because that's what the client prefers)

Maximum number of concessions that I have shopped each round: 105 (**Wow!!!!!!)"

May be it is a different MSC? Because the one who does the majority of the large metropolitan airports requires 1200 words narration, has really annoying editors, and if you write the write up and the yes/no in 15 minutes, then you are an extremely fast typist as it would be 100+ words per minute. I know they do at least one terminal in your area.


"They might manage to get day passes for each shopper for each visit, which is ridiculously cumbersome for both the shopper and the MSC. Under current “escort” rules, having unbadged shoppers escorted to every concession beyond security is probably not an option that either the client or the MSC wants to pay for."

It is a very easy process and the client just sends one of their employees/terminal section manager along. That's how this same MSC that does the airport circuits shops many major airports that do not allow full badge for mystery shoppers.

"Those that do get the shoppers badged, do so only on an “as needed” basis, from what I have gathered."

Once you are badged for one company, then they can not restrict you for who you can shop, and you can go and shop for others because you are an IC and a badged person can not get an escort pass for a different MSC (gate pass is a different thing and issued by the airline). They just do not want you to shop their competitor as many large airports have different companies manage the different terminal. The badge has the same duration for all badged personnel in that airport and the shopper has to go through the same background check and take the same tests if they are required in that specific airport (yes some airports require an actual FBI check and everybody has to take a test!).
December 07, 2013 06:17AM
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walesmaven
Posts:6,683
Kate,
This not a company that does 10-12 shops per visit.
I mean 2 or more airports....like Dfw and Houston, are 2 different airports.
The report are very short and not anything like what you describe. I have also done those, and do not miss them.
Yes, and average airport visit is 20-25 shops.
I make 3-5 of those, spread across two or more airports, per period, as do the other shoppers.
The method of stopping on each visit to pick up a day pass at these particular airports would waste a lot of time. Trust me, I have done it in the past.
So, we are talking about very, very different approaches to ms at airports.
There are quite a number of airports that will not provide escorts for this volume of shop visits, btw.

I do not disagree with you. We are just talking about totally different approaches to this part of the industry.
Not surprising, since different airport concessions management firms have totally different approaches to both management in general and ms in particular.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/07/2013 07:52AM by walesmaven.
December 07, 2013 07:44AM
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KateH
Posts:426
walesmaven Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The report are very short and not anything like
> what you describe. I have also done those, and do
> not miss them.
> Yes, and average airport visit is 20-25 shops.
> I make 3-5 of those, spread across two or more
> airports, per period, as do the other shoppers.
> The method of stopping on each visit to pick up a
> day pass at these particular airports would waste
> a lot of time. Trust me, I have done it in the
> past.
> So, we are talking about very, very different
> approaches to ms at airports.
> There are quite a number of airports that will not
> provide escorts for this volume of shop visits,
> btw.
>
> I do not disagree with you. We are just talking
> about totally different approaches to this part of
> the industry.
> Not surprising, since different airport
> concessions management firms have totally
> different approaches to both management in general
> and ms in particular.

Lol, yes, if you do not have to do that stupid write up, then the shops are easy. I get a brain fry writing the tedious reports where you have to restate every single answer, and then get the email from certain editors asking you to answer question 2,4,6,7 when you have already did that. I am surrounded by airports done by that MSC and used to do them in the past but I stopped doing them. I have done many escort circuits, in different airports, pretty easy, just email a copy of DL and SS, then they have it ready for me when I meet the escort. But it is a circuit of 10-12 shops, same terminal, and the escort just sits down and observes you from a distance while playing with his phone. Each terminal has 40 shops+. Occasionally, when I have time or need of cash I will do some circuits for this MSC, but I must be very desperate and have a good stash of headache medicine. (The funny thing is that every single client they have lost over the years, went to other MSCs and the reports became straightforward, without asking for that style narration. Even the mall reports have become easy and I now see them snatched even in far away areas without bonus.)
December 07, 2013 08:39AM
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Michael C
Posts:443
So you have met the experts of customer service.

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December 07, 2013 02:03PM
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Kathee70
Posts:342
And we still didn't get an answer to how to get an airport badge... Nice!

O.o o.O

Happily shopping New England and beyond!!!!!
December 07, 2013 05:57PM
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walesmaven
Posts:6,683
Kathee,
You first apply with enough mscs to find one of the few that arranges to get shoppers badged at an airport near you. Then you apply to them to sponsor you for a badge. They then have to arrange for you to make formal application for clearance. Then they tell you where to go to file forms be photographed and fingerprinted and pay the fees. In two to four week you will get a notice that you passed the background checks . Then you have a limited time to go back to the airport to take one or two tests concerning the rules for badge holders. When you have passed with 100percent scores, you get a badge.

At every airport where I have been badged, over several years, the airport authority named the management company at the airport as my "employer" and the rule was that I could only use the badge on that company's business. In other words, I could not then use it to make a visit beyond security solely to conduct any business for an MS company that did not have the contract for which the badge had been issued!!

ymmv

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
December 08, 2013 07:51AM
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Kathee70
Posts:342
Thanks walesmaven,
Seems like a lot of "to do" for shops, especially if you can only do the shops for the company who sponsored you. I think I'll stick with the public areas for now!

Thanks again

o.O

O.o o.O

Happily shopping New England and beyond!!!!!
December 08, 2013 07:51PM
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bgriffin
Posts:2,307
I would love to do these. I talked to both of the companies that I know of that get shoppers badged. Neither of them have airports within driving distance of me and/or weren't interested in badging someone that far away.

I ain't happy, just too stoned to cry
December 08, 2013 08:13PM
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cubbiecat
Posts:1,595
I agree with Whalesmaven. I was not paid for the process of getting badged, which took hours and several trips to the airport. They reimburse parking and badge fee. The test I had to pass is the same test given to all airport employees. I signed a contract that I could not use my badge to shop for another msc. There are other restrictions. It's a two year contract. Day passes are not issued at our airport, you must be traveler, employee or badged.
December 09, 2013 02:15AM
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elcarev68
Posts:909
Wales -
Thanks for the excellent info!
Jacob -
This would make a fascinating "Assignments" article for the Magazine.
December 09, 2013 07:02AM
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