"Double dipping" on a shop?

So while preparing my month I noticed two separate MSCs are shopping the same bowling alley company, with the same locations, on the same dates, with the same timeframe, and almost-identical shop criteria. Since I'm already doing one... why not do the other at the same time? Is it wrong to get double your reimbursement plus pay on a shop? I could net close to a hundred dollars for a free game of bowling, some drinks and snacks with my friends if I do.

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I think it would be wisest to double-check with the MSC ~ maybe even both. I mean, I would be tempted too (who wouldn't?) but the thing is, if the client thinks they're getting two different shops, they may complain to one (or both) of the MSCs when they see the two reports are from the same day/time and is from the same person (based on receipts). The MSCs (one, the other, or both) may then terminate you... for whatever reason they may come up with. There might be something in their contracts about such things. As an IC it seems it would be within your rights... but as an IC it's also within the MSC's right to terminate. Some contracts say they may be terminated even without cause. So if you like working for/with the MSC... you might want to check with them.

Happiness is merely life's way of keeping you off-balance.
One of the good things is that I'm being forced to pay in cash for one of the mystery shops, so thankfully my name wouldn't be on the receipts. Theoretically someone could've ordered the same drinks and games at the same time...
Cash could help, but they still might check video, if they have it. Or just recognize too much of what happened, depending on how soon they actually get the report.

There's actually been a lot of discussion on the forum over the pros and cons of this, and I can't remember them all ~ just that there were more considerations than I would have thought of on my own. Have you tried searching for past advice on the subject? It might provide some food for thought before you leap. smiling smiley

I mean, it *seems* it should be your prerogative, if the shops are listed on totally separate MSCs and all. I just don't want you getting in trouble if you don't have to, and it seems I recall from past discussions that there are more ways than you might think that an MSC could use to can you. :/

Happiness is merely life's way of keeping you off-balance.
My first response is absolutely! Go ahead and do both! But then Stormcloud brings up a very good point. The client may want reports from two different people. Probably a good idea to check.
The key is whether both reports are for the client. If they are, the client is paying twice for the exact same thing while if one is a competitor shop it should be fair game. You won't know unless you ask the MSCs involved.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
I had this opportunity once. I found out that the client was shopping around and wanted to see what results they got from each MS company. I didn't think it would be fair for them to get the exact same results from both MS companies, so I bowed out about from one. If you do both, you need to make 2 separate purchases with 2 different receipts. If they see the same receipt, you probably won't get paid for either. But you should definitely ask.

I am kind of surprised that these clients don't realize that the same people work for all of these different MS companies. So if they change companies, the same people will be doing their shops anyway. We just usually get paid less.

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I could agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.
After seeing the mangled pizza shop go with a half dozen MSCs, often concurrently, it crossed my mind the client probably thinks they are getting an entirely different shopper pool. Clients often don't understand we are ICs and how it actually works.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
They also don't realize that a lot of times the MSC uses outside scheduling companies such as Summit, Kern, etc. So not only is the shopper pool the same, but the scheduler pool (and possibly editors) could be the same too.

Shopping across Indiana but mostly around Indianapolis.
Um.. Don't the reports go to the client. Its the client that will read the same report from the same person, tell the MC and then you could be potentially in poor standing with 2 companies out of greed. It is very bad business practice, unprofessional and dishonest. Is it really worth your reputation. Take the higher amount and ask the other MC.

Life is a Giggle - Embrace every moment
Both reports may or may not go to one client. Mystery shops could also be for a competitor or even a vendor. Bowling alleys are not my area of expertise, but I know gas stations and certain retail stores are shopped by numerous clients.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
I would ask. It's worth a shot to see if you can do a double as long as you'll be there anyway!

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I'm "Sandi" in the Middle!
I would get the informed consent of both MSCs. And BTW, be sure you do not reveal to either the name of the other MSC.

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.
I wouldn't do it unless I could make separate transactions and observations and have permission of both MSPs.
Sometime messages are hard to understand. For example; My wife left a note on the fridge that read, " It's not working. I can't take it anymore. I'm leaving." However, when I opened the door the light worked, the beer was cold...I don't know what the Hell she was talking about.

My idea of an agreeable person is a person who agrees with me.
Benjamin Disraeli
I, too, thought it sounded like a good idea until I read Storm's post.

When in doubt, I suggest applying "The Bell, The Book and the Candle" practice. I won't bore those of you who are familiar with it by explaining it here, and those who have never heard of it can probably Google it.

If you have to think, "Hmmm, I wonder if they have video..." or "If I pay in cash no one will know...." then, NO, you shouldn't do it.

There are two types of people in this world: Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.
Okay, so I tried Googling it, and couldn't find the meaning to which I was referring when I said to use "The Bell, the Book and the Candle". So here goes my condensed version:

When making a decision of ethical nature, apply the bell: Do little bells go off in your head telling you that something isn't quite right?

Next apply the book: Is it in the books? Is it written somewhere - a law, rule, agreement that you should or should not act in this way?

Finally, apply the candle: How will your actions be viewed when held up to the light and others see it? If you would not do it in full view of the light of day, then you should not do it. (Throughout this forum I see a lot of comments that cause me to think some of things that are done would fail here. I find that disturbing.)

If it passes all three - carry on.

There are two types of people in this world: Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.
LJ Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I, too, thought it sounded like a good idea until
> I read Storm's post.
>
> When in doubt, I suggest applying "The Bell, The
> Book and the Candle" practice. I won't bore those
> of you who are familiar with it by explaining it
> here, and those who have never heard of it can
> probably Google it.
>
> If you have to think, "Hmmm, I wonder if they have
> video..." or "If I pay in cash no one will
> know...." then, NO, you shouldn't do it.

OK I Googled it and got:

The phrase "bell, book, and candle" refers to a method of excommunication for one who had committed a particularly grievous sin.

Not sure how that applies to this "doubt" situation. I don't think it would be a "sin" to do a double dip but probably not wise in the long run.
I also googled it, too, because the first thing that popped into my head when I read "Bell, Book and Candle" was that old chestnut movie with Kim Novak and James Stewart - you know the one, she's a gorgeous witch from a witch family who gives up being a witch because she's crazy for James Stewart who is not a warlock.

I think what LJ is saying is that if this turns out to be a BAD thing (like: there is video or the client recognizes two very similar reports "coincidentally" reported at exactly the same time and feels ripped off, having paid for two reports from two separate mystery shoppers and having actually gotten reports with duplicate information from one mystery shopper), excommunication from both MSCs might follow.

Thanks for the giggle - I'm remembering how cute Kim Novak was wiggling around and batting her eyelashes at Jimmy Stewart while he said "uh, yes, I I I I I I...uh....."



edited to correct spelling ...... even with spell checker, I can't spell worth a darn. Good thing I'm off duty.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/08/2014 07:38PM by AustinMom.
I would suggest you don't do it. I had shopped for two companies a while ago. Same everything except for a return. One company had a return and the other did not. The same company will know that you did this the shop is for the same client. I was told I couldn't shop for the company any more. I could shop for the Mystery shopping co., but not the retail customer. Remember your dates and time will be the same. I don't believe it is worth the extra money. I did get paid for both.
Hm. Well, I already "double-dipped" on this back in April, and it *seems* like my report was accepted. I'll wait and see if I get my money before doing it again.

EDIT: That actually reminds me of something: when your shop is graded by an MSC, does that mean it's been accepted by the client?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/08/2014 07:57PM by Misanthrope.
Misanthrope Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> EDIT: That actually reminds me of something: when
> your shop is graded by an MSC, does that mean it's
> been accepted by the client?


No. When your shop is graded by an MSC, it means the editor has completed his review and is ready to pass the report on to the client. After the editor (or proofreader) has reviewed the report for grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and general compliance with the guidelines of the shop, the client could still come back with questions or could decline to accept the reports and could decline to pay the MSC.
Misanthrope Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Hm. Well, I already "double-dipped" on this back
> in April, and it *seems* like my report was
> accepted. I'll wait and see if I get my money
> before doing it again.
>

I hope your fate isn't already sealed. Correct me if I'm mistaken, but I think the client doesn't see the reports that fast. I wouldn't assume that just because the MSC's have edited and paid that they have already delivered the data to the client. Don't the MSC's amass several months worth of data before presenting to a client? If I were the client, I'd be kind of PO'd to see four shops from two companies all by the same person in two visits. I surely wouldn't do it again and you might be able to claim ignorance if they get after you about April.

Maybe you could find a shopper buddy or refer a friend for a referral bonus smiling smiley to do the other one and meet up there for MS bowing night! I love bowling, but not sure if the alleys in my town are shopped yet.

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Could I have a receipt please?
InPlainSight Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Misanthrope Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Hm. Well, I already "double-dipped" on this
> back
> > in April, and it *seems* like my report was
> > accepted. I'll wait and see if I get my money
> > before doing it again.
> >
>
> I hope your fate isn't already sealed. Correct me
> if I'm mistaken, but I think the client doesn't
> see the reports that fast. I wouldn't assume that
> just because the MSC's have edited and paid that
> they have already delivered the data to the
> client. Don't the MSC's amass several months worth
> of data before presenting to a client? If I were
> the client, I'd be kind of PO'd to see four shops
> from two companies all by the same person in two
> visits. I surely wouldn't do it again and you
> might be able to claim ignorance if they get after
> you about April.
>
> Maybe you could find a shopper buddy or refer a
> friend for a referral bonus smiling smiley to do the other one
> and meet up there for MS bowing night! I love
> bowling, but not sure if the alleys in my town are
> shopped yet.


How would that be any different than me doing two shops, from a practical perspective? If me and my mystery shop buddy evaluate the same employees at the same time, then it's still useless to the client.
AustinMom and Kenasch - sorry about that. If you'll scroll up to my post that is immediately below the post where I recommend Googling it, you'll see that I corrected myself. I tried to Google it too and came up with the same stuff you did. I was scratching my head and saying, WTH?? So I just typed up a brief explanation of what I meant.

There are two types of people in this world: Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.
I saw 2 companies offering the same bank shops at the end of May and wondered about doing this also. Ended up not doubling up -mostly because of slow response from 1 msc.
Back when Cori had the <gas station> shops, I used to double dip with their <gas station> shop and their gas station loyalty shop at the same station.

However, I did this by first talking to the Ohio girls and getting their permission and instructions: Finish the gs audit and then go back in to purchase another item for proof of the loyalty shop. I could not use the same receipt for both shops.

I found they paid handsomely for the loyalty shops simply because no one wanted to do them at the $5 rate (I think that's what is started at). The reports were quick and simple.



Mod note: Even though it's a past client, let's err on the side of caution here. Besides, adding the brand of gas station adds nothing to the meaning. smiling smiley
Misanthrope Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> How would that be any different than me doing two
> shops, from a practical perspective? If me and my
> mystery shop buddy evaluate the same employees at
> the same time, then it's still useless to the
> client.


Two different people from two different companies/editors may have differing views/reports on the same employee and services at the same time. My wife and I often disagree with the service we get when we are out together. As shoppers, we try to be as objective as we can, but there are always differences between us that affect our perspective. Maybe this is the clients goal of having two companies shop the same location at the same time.

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Could I have a receipt please?
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