Merchandiser cheaters. A rant

I was spoke to a former coworker yesterday. We were working in the same store for different companies, and ran into each other when we were signing out. We went for a coffee to chat and she spilled her guts about the crap she pulled back when we worked for the same company. (mid 90's) Which is now out of business, unfortunately.
1) Walk in the back door of the store, sign in, walk out the front into the mall. Shop, walk back in and sign out and get the needed signature from the customer service desk.
2) Have identical store stamps made for your regular stores. Stamp the reports, call the store and ask who the manager on duty is that day and forge their name on the report. ( We didn't have to take photos in those days.)
3) Call the store and say you are from such and such a company ( not the one you are really from, the one the audited product is), and are going to be auditing their display on a certain day. Then go a day later and take credit like you did the display.
4) Claim the store lost whatever. Shipper, POP. Do the report, then you go in for the second time, which was really the first time, and do what you were supposed to. Two visits, 2 pay outs, plus mileage and drive time.
This is just the high points. I was so P.O.'d. I had heard various rumors when she left, but, not the nitty gritty of why. Now I know why. How many other people were doing this and more?
I understand why so many companies have such breath taking requirements to prove you really did the job.
Geo tracker, photo of the front of the store, calling from the store phone, photos with paper with store number and date in front of set. Photos of the boxes of product in the back room. Before and after photos, employee holding the POP handout in front of the display, to name a few.
Thanks cheaters.

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Whoa! This post put me in mind of Catch Me if You Can. That is some serious scamming. And yet, she got away with it for years and is still in the same business presumably doing the same things. She had corporate stamps made for herself??? Yikes. This person has no morals and no limits.

@Cindy55
Is there any chance she's pulling your leg? The schemers that I know never admit to their wrongdoing. If she 'fessed up to all these scams, it makes me wonder what she held back.
That's exactly the kind of thing my step-daughter did but with mystery shopping. I was appalled and so glad when she stopped mystery shopping.
No, I believe she was telling the truth. Maybe not everything she pulled, as I'm sure my face gave away my opinion of her actions. The stamps were very easy to duplicate at any stationary store. I also wonder what she didn't talk about. I doubt there's much you can scam anymore with all the photos, geo tracker, name of the person who ok'd the work and times on the photos. She did get caught and fired from the old job. Yes, she is still doing merchandising work, but team work, so she can only scam her co-workers now. I'm so glad she doesn't do work for the companies I do.
That's the kind of person you would never leave alone in your house for two seconds, or in the car with your purse, etc.
To me, the most interesting part is that she was so proud of what she had done that she couldn't resist telling you.
She truly does not think she did anything wrong. Just getting over on "the man." I have both a conscience and a mirror, and have to live with one and look into the other daily, so I can't cheat anyone.
I think her luck will run out eventually, and I will see her on the 6 o'clock news for embezzlement, theft, or something like that.
I think doing the work would be easier than some of the things she did to cheat! And you could sleep at night.

Former mystery shopper, current merchandiser.
I knew a woman that intentionally screwed up every reset she did. The company paid her to go back to fix it. Until they got wise and started sending someone else to clean up her messes.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/06/2016 12:13AM by adlib.
Cindy55, great thread. Thanks for posting this. I think I would have spit in her face. smiling smiley Hey it is her (bad) karma!!!!!!!!
I am still amazed at how some people could talk about the scams they did, so proudly, as if they won a medal at the Olympics

I am reminded of someone boasting to me (long time ago) how they got away with using her family's health cards in medical check ups by visiting family members from the States. That's probably why there are no more permanent health cards without photos and they have to be renewed every few years. And the taxpayers paid for those scams. Disgusting!
And it's now why companies want geo located from your smart phone with date/time stamped photos of the completed work. Sometimes I have to take before and after photos AND get a store signature on the company web app. Sigh.
Me too! I was forgetting to take the before photos so often than I just always take them instead of trying to remember who gets the before and who does not. So instead of 15 photos I have to wade through 30 for the reports.
I have audited demos. One person actually went in, set up the demo cart and disappeared--and I waited for an hour for her/her. A friend of mine actually did demos for people who hired her as a substitute for them. I guess it is a good thing that pictures are now required as a demo company can compare the picture of the actual demonstrator to the one of him/her that they have in the file.
Before and after photos are no problem for me. Using an app that you start when you enter the store and take your photos and report in store is. I would much rather enter my report at home than in a store at the mercy of their wifi or at the expense of my using my own data plan. The way some companies have you enter their reports the photos are often paired Before and After. If they want multiple sets from multiple angles this is difficult or required you to take extras anyway. Entering the report also takes more time in the stores and puts me in a bad mood for the lousy traffic I'll be in the because of extra time spent in the store around customers asking me where stuff in when I'm not an employee.

I have a feeling this will soon become the norm because of bad merchandisers.

~~*~~*~~*~~ kal ~~*~~*~~*~~
Everyone has a photographic memory. Some just forget to load the film.
@anniemaria wrote:

A friend of mine actually did demos for people who hired her as a substitute for them.

I have a friend who's business schedules substitutes. Its very lucrative and she pays nearly double the rate of the demo company. I don't do it often but every now and then I pick up one for up to $100 a day.

~~*~~*~~*~~ kal ~~*~~*~~*~~
Everyone has a photographic memory. Some just forget to load the film.
@kalfini wrote:

Before and after photos are no problem for me. Using an app that you start when you enter the store and take your photos and report in store is. I would much rather enter my report at home than in a store at the mercy of their wifi or at the expense of my using my own data plan. The way some companies have you enter their reports the photos are often paired Before and After. If they want multiple sets from multiple angles this is difficult or required you to take extras anyway. Entering the report also takes more time in the stores and puts me in a bad mood for the lousy traffic I'll be in the because of extra time spent in the store around customers asking me where stuff in when I'm not an employee.

I have a feeling this will soon become the norm because of bad merchandisers.

Before and after is fine. I want them to see what I did. I don't want to be dinged for time stamps because I am good at what I do, though! The jobs pay a flat fee, no raises. My raise is getting it done faster.

And guess what? If the job pays a flat fee for an hour, you lose money if you have to spend an hour on site - admin time, dealing with materials shipped to your house, travel time.

Former mystery shopper, current merchandiser.
Don't get me started on time stamps. Luckily I don't work for a company that requires them or questions the meta data on my photos. I always take my after photos before going to the stock room to see if there is anymore inventory because if I wait until I get back Customers will have already ransacked my fixtures. (sometimes they mess it up while you are just backing up to take the photo!) If I need a few seconds to take a second pic after loading back stock onto my fixture it only takes a second or two.

~~*~~*~~*~~ kal ~~*~~*~~*~~
Everyone has a photographic memory. Some just forget to load the film.
@cm wrote:

And guess what? If the job pays a flat fee for an hour, you lose money if you have to spend an hour on site - admin time, dealing with materials shipped to your house, travel time.

Don't forget printing/reading paperwork, pre calls to set up store visits, signing in (aka waiting in customer service lines to get log book) chasing down managers/lod's finding the correct visuals, extra arms or pegs, etc. the list goes on and on.

~~*~~*~~*~~ kal ~~*~~*~~*~~
Everyone has a photographic memory. Some just forget to load the film.
Waiting to sign in starts the in-store time and that stuff after is part of it. I think they "get" that, but hope we don't start calculating what it takes at home to do your job well. I have been planning my week (routes and looking over instructions) for at least an hour this afternoon - unpaid! But I will be prepared and it will get me in and out of the store faster.

And when I have to check in on an app, believe me, I do as soon as I put my car in park.

Former mystery shopper, current merchandiser.
Standing in line at Customer Service Desk?
I've always just stepped up to the end register and signed the log book. Rarely do I need to ask where it is, because I know where my stores keep them. Plus, I'm not there as a Customer, and i don't need service.
No one has ever looked sideways at me, and I do this in every store i service.
Saves huge on time spent...i too don't like hitting the high traffic hours. :-(

******* ***** ***** *****
To the World You Just Might Be One Person,
But to One Person, You JUST Might Be THE WORLD!
******* ***** ***** *****
Stores here now keep them under the counter. You have to ask for them. Too many sign in / sign out, never did anything in the store merchandisers. They also ask what dept you are going to, and call the lead to let them know you are coming back. I'm currently trying to reestablish trust at a store that the former merchandiser destroyed.
You must live in a small town Cindy. Here in Southern California you are lucky if they even look at you as they hand you the book and vendor sticker. And finding the Dept Mgr is another story. I usually go early in the morning when the login book and stickers are on the counter and the Dept Mgrs are actually on the floor. This helps my productivity a lot as I don't have to track down the Dept mgr and helps me build relationships with them, which also helps. But in general, Walmart, Target etc out here are very aloof about vendors. They get so many they don't care what you are doing. Must be different in your part of the world.
@Wild Bill wrote:

But in general, Walmart, Target etc out here are very aloof about vendors. They get so many they don't care what you are doing.
Boy, you're not kidding, Wild Bill. I've retired now from merchandising, but there were MANY a day I'd go home and tell my hubby how NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE gave a HOOT or asked ANY questions about WHY I was standing ON TOP OF the TV shelf display adjusting monitors, or replacing screws or whatever!! Managers would walk by and just go on their merry way!! This was in Walmart, and would happen with fair regularity over a range of 3-6 years ago. I'd tell my hubby that I could have been ANYONE doing ANYTHING up to no-good! Maybe it's different now.
The retail environment here has had so many budget cuts since last January, the stores are now using the merchandisers to the max. A friend is a Signing and POG lead. She used to work 40 hours. She is now lucky to get 20, hours per week. No one in the 6 stores I service weekly work full time, outside of the managers. When I go in, for a new set audit, the proviso is that if whatever is not set, I have to set it. I am a hourly employee, so I am not taking a hit that way, but I am doing substantially more set ups. Where I would do about 1 per month, at my problem store only, (huge turn over) I am now doing 4 and 5 per week. I hit the stores at 6 am to avoid the customers.
I don't need signatures, just lots of photos.
I agree Walmart is a nightmare. I saw 5 new dept leads in Stationary over 3 months last fall. I no longer do any Walmart work. (I work all suburban stores.)
@AuburnHarleyMama wrote:

Standing in line at Customer Service Desk?
I've always just stepped up to the end register and signed the log book. Rarely do I need to ask where it is, because I know where my stores keep them. Plus, I'm not there as a Customer, and i don't need service.
No one has ever looked sideways at me, and I do this in every store i service.
Saves huge on time spent...i too don't like hitting the high traffic hours. :-(

Most Targets keep it sitting out, but not all. All my Walmarts used to, but something changed and it is now a big production. Yes, you can skip the line but then you risk being ignored until they figure out you are a vendor (badge and all) so I take the least risk and wait my turn plus no customers get offended. None of the office stores ever keep theirs out, or even in the same place for that matter.

I don't wait if I can see it and get to it, but that is no longer the case around here.

Former mystery shopper, current merchandiser.
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