Mistake on a restaurant shop

I did a restaurant shop for ACL, and I was comped a dessert because it took an extremely long time for the entrees to come out for my guest and me. It didn't occur to me to take a picture of the dessert because ordering a dessert wasn't part of the plan. (This was my first sit down restaurant shop.) The guidelines do say to take a picture of each of the food items, so it is definitely my mistake. I am chalking it up to a learning experience, but...

Will ACL allow me to complete shops in the future after a mistake like this? I really don't want to lose this company because they have some of the "better" shops in my area.
Is there ANY chance I will be reimbursed? I know not getting the picture is a big mistake, so I understand if I am not, I was just wondering if there is any wiggle room?


Thanks!

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/24/2015 11:44PM by Sunshine11.

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They have a questionnaire at the beginning. Answer honestly. Tell them what happened. They will work with you. They do not want surprises. Good luck.
Hopefully you will just get a "warning" this time since it is first offense. Just have to be extra careful to always follow and the guidelines. G'luck ~

J
Wow, I'm with the OP, I wouldn't have taken a photo of the dessert either. It wasn't part of the shop.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
Sunshine - I have done many shops for ACL, so I must admit that I have made a mistake or two. Explain to them the truth. I have always done that and have always been able to shop with them. Of course, that means to improve. Some habits I have developed in this area:

1) Always go to the restroom whether you think it was not specifically asked for. It probably was.
2) Always take a picture of the restroom, especially anything that is out of order. This will help you to remember details, justify "no" answers, and might have been required anyway.
3) I ALWAYS take pictures of every food item. I try to do before eating a bite, but even if we forgot, I still take a picture. This has helped tremendously when I have to describe the food items. Now days everybody takes pictures of their food so it is not a giveaway.
4) I will never remember all the names and descriptions of the people that I interface with. So since I wear a recorder (legal in my state), I try to whisper this information into the recorder. Same thing can be accomplished by sending a text with the info to self.

Just a few things I've learned that help me.

Happy Shopping!

First thing I do every morning is find something to be thankful for. Lately, people have given me a long list of things to be grateful for. So I have to lie back down to say all my gratitudes. Lo and behold, I fall back asleep smiling smiley
I'm betting you will be okay if you have photos of all the required order items. ACL is actually pretty forgiving. Don't worry.
Thanks for the tips! Recording is legal in my state, so that is a really good idea for me. This time I just took notes on my phone, and it seemed to work because it looked like texting.
@CureMS wrote:

Sunshine - I have done many shops for ACL, so I must admit that I have made a mistake or two. Explain to them the truth. I have always done that and have always been able to shop with them. Of course, that means to improve. Some habits I have developed in this area:

1) Always go to the restroom whether you think it was not specifically asked for. It probably was.
2) Always take a picture of the restroom, especially anything that is out of order. This will help you to remember details, justify "no" answers, and might have been required anyway.
3) I ALWAYS take pictures of every food item. I try to do before eating a bite, but even if we forgot, I still take a picture. This has helped tremendously when I have to describe the food items. Now days everybody takes pictures of their food so it is not a giveaway.
4) I will never remember all the names and descriptions of the people that I interface with. So since I wear a recorder (legal in my state), I try to whisper this information into the recorder. Same thing can be accomplished by sending a text with the info to self.

Just a few things I've learned that help me.

Happy Shopping!

#3 yes!
I did a shop in Las Vegas, and two weeks later they asked the color and shape of the plate that my appetizers served on.

I thought to myself (words that will get moderated, I assure you), and then I sent a photo of the plate to the scheduler.
She was relieved. In Las Vegas, I work for the scheduling company, the scheduling company works for the MSP, and the MSP works for the client. If my shop got rejected, three of us wouldn't have been paid.
I have a lot of food photos on my phone.
Everyone is worried about recording in a state that don't allow it.

There are NO states that don't allow video recording, if you don't have the microphone turned on. You can video in ALL STATES.

Then there are states that expressly prohibit recording of voice over a wire.

Then there are states that have had LEA exploit the wiretap laws for the benefit of LEA and illegally and without true statue attempted to prosecute people for video taping them at a safe and non interfering distance.

This is a very gray area, and you can't trust what you read on a website. There are cases that are changing the freedom to record in public spaces and this is not settled or set in stone in many states.

I have had a law professor comb the state case law in my state and think that it is ripe for a challenge the way the code is written. I don't want to be that case, so I won't give video with audio attached to an MSC without a release.

I can strip audio or program my video recorder to not record the audio:
It sounds like you submitted the report and then heard from the editor that you should have submitted a picture of the dessert? If that is what happened, you may be fine. I think the editor would have said if your evaluation wasn't going to be accepted. I find ACL very understanding, and I am sure, either way, that you will be able to shop for them again.
I think you'll be ok. But you said it in your OP, "The guidelines do say to take a picture of each of the food items." As you've probably learned from the comments, too many pictures are better than too few.

.
Have PV-500 & willing to travel.
"Answers are easy. It's asking the right questions which is hard." (The Fourth Doctor, The Face of Evil, 1977)

"Somedays you're the pigeon, somedays you're the statue.” J. Andrew Taylor

"I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him." Galileo Galilei
If the desert is NOT on the receipt, then sounds like the MSC should appreciate your report and give you a proper score. Please let us know if anything different happened.

My posts are solely based on my opinions and for my entertainment, contact a professional if you need real advice.

When you get in debt you become a slave. - Andrew Jackson
Sunshine, ACL is a good company. You should discuss your situation with the mentor at ACL that was assigned to you.
In my area ACL has good, mid-range restaurants but they rarely offer shopper fee. The highest fees offered were $5, and the reimbursement is usually tight. Sometimes, they expect shoppers to put up the difference. There are required number of drinks, appetizer, entrees and sometimes desserts to order, plus 15-18% tip. I talked with a scheduler once, and she said to look at it as having a nice dinner for $20 - $30.
Was this a promo shop? I have never had to take a picture of dessert unless it was a promo shop.
I got an email back from ACL, and my report was forwarded to the client. And there was a note about the guidelines of the shop requiring pictures of all food items. Since my report was forwarded to the client, do I have to wait and see if they find it acceptable? Is this a warning?

Isaiah58, the dessert was not on the receipt because it was a comp, so that is kind of how I felt about the picture.

Roxie, that is exactly what happened, I submitted my report then heard back from the editor.

Thank you so much to each one of you for your input!
The times I have made mistakes for ACL and they forwarded the report to the client, I was paid. That doesn't mean you will be, but I get the impression that if they forward it they feel like it probably will be. I've had much worse than that happen and get paid. I once did 3 or 4 hotel shops in a row by a particular client for the, then followed it up with a shop for a different hotel client, with DRASTICALLY different requirements. Not thinking I did the last one the same way as the ones earlier in the week and it got paid. I was absolutely shocked.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
I guess if there are a lot of shoppers willing to do mid-range restaurants for ACL for no fees, why would they pay a fee at all?
My first restaurant shop for ACL I made a mistake but it was an catch-22 kind of mistake. We had to end the shop by a certain time and ordered desserts fairly close to the deadline and there was a delay so we asked for them to go. They boxed them up and we walked out the door about 15 seconds before the deadline. It took them 20 minutes to get the desserts because they had to thaw the cheesecake.

Of course, this was an error; we are not to order anything to go. I don't think i took pictures of them either.

They appreciated the report and reminded me not to do that again. I have done another shop for them since then and trust me, we did not order anything to go this time.

In retrospect, they probably would have preferred the shop ran over a few minutes than to have one step handled incorrectly but there have been so many stories of shops being tossed for 30 seconds that I was focusing on getting out on time and forgot "do not order anything to go."

Time to build a bigger bridge.
My first restaurant shop for ACL I made a mistake but it was an catch-22 kind of mistake. We had to end the shop by a certain time and ordered desserts fairly close to the deadline and there was a delay so we asked for them to go. They boxed them up and we walked out the door about 15 seconds before the deadline. It took them 20 minutes to get the desserts because they had to thaw the cheesecake.

Of course, this was an error; we are not to order anything to go. I don't think i took pictures of them either.

They appreciated the report and reminded me not to do that again. I have done another shop for them since then and trust me, we did not order anything to go this time.

In retrospect, they probably would have preferred the shop ran over a few minutes than to have one step handled incorrectly but there have been so many stories of shops being tossed for 30 seconds that I was focusing on getting out on time and forgot "do not order anything to go."

Time to build a bigger bridge.
@dspeakes wrote:

In retrospect, they probably would have preferred the shop ran over a few minutes than to have one step handled incorrectly but there have been so many stories of shops being tossed for 30 seconds that I was focusing on getting out on time and forgot "do not order anything to go."

I have done quite a few shops with ACL and I always saw the shopping window as a starting time range have not read anywhere that you had to finish by the end of the window. Obviously, check with your scheduler, but I don't think there is an ending time. It's a window of when to start your shop and then the shop goes as long as required to complete according to the shop instructions.
My area is a NON legal video..... so you are generalizing that all states it is legal. Some local variances do apply like it or not. Just be aware of your local area. If you want to skirt the issue be my guest but my time is more valuable than fighting it thank you very much.




@scanman1 wrote:

Everyone is worried about recording in a state that don't allow it.

There are NO states that don't allow video recording, if you don't have the microphone turned on. You can video in ALL STATES.

Then there are states that expressly prohibit recording of voice over a wire.

Then there are states that have had LEA exploit the wiretap laws for the benefit of LEA and illegally and without true statue attempted to prosecute people for video taping them at a safe and non interfering distance.

This is a very gray area, and you can't trust what you read on a website. There are cases that are changing the freedom to record in public spaces and this is not settled or set in stone in many states.

I have had a law professor comb the state case law in my state and think that it is ripe for a challenge the way the code is written. I don't want to be that case, so I won't give video with audio attached to an MSC without a release.

I can strip audio or program my video recorder to not record the audio:
Actually he is correct about video recording. The laws govern audio, not video which is why so many businesses have video cameras that don't record sound. Video cannot be used anywhere there would be an expectation of privacy such as locker rooms and rest rooms. For video versions of some retail shops with multi stall restrooms we are expressly forbidden from visiting the restrooms even though it is a requirement for the written version of the shop. So if scanman is using his camera on any written shop requiring a restroom evaluation he is breaking the law, even if it is a one party state and he is not recording sound.

For my shopping purposes video without audio would be fairly useless so I just forgo the camera in places it is not allowed. When using my camera for a traditional shop I don't use the restroom with it running unless it's a single person restroom.

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.
Mistakes happen. With that being said, it really depends on the MSC and client on accepting reports with missed guidelines. So, I'm glad to hear that ACL went ahead and proceeded with your report, even with the missed picture.

I've done shops, including hotel shops, where I missed a picture (on accident, of course).

From a past hotel shop: I, too, was afraid of my shop being rejected when I missed two pictures I needed for my report. Fortunately, my report was accepted and forwarded to the client with an encouraging note from the MSC to try my best not to miss any guidelines and take it as a lesson for future shops.

From my experience, ACL is similar with how they treat their shoppers; they're encouraging and willing to work with who they have. As others have stated already, just take it as a learning lesson and move on.

Shopping the Greater Denver Area, Colorado Springs and in-between in Colorado. 30 year old male and willing to travel! Badged for Denver International Airport.
@LisaSTL wrote:

Actually he is correct about video recording. The laws govern audio, not video which is why so many businesses have video cameras that don't record sound. Video cannot be used anywhere there would be an expectation of privacy such as locker rooms and rest rooms. For video versions of some retail shops with multi stall restrooms we are expressly forbidden from visiting the restrooms even though it is a requirement for the written version of the shop. So if scanman is using his camera on any written shop requiring a restroom evaluation he is breaking the law, even if it is a one party state and he is not recording sound.

For my shopping purposes video without audio would be fairly useless so I just forgo the camera in places it is not allowed. When using my camera for a traditional shop I don't use the restroom with it running unless it's a single person restroom.

When I visit the restroom, if it is a restroom that is not single occupancy, I will leave the camera sitting on the table or put it in my pocket when visiting the restroom. I'd not ever want to record in a RR anyhow. Then there are shops that demand a photo of the restroom and its not a single use restroom. I have had to hang out till the coast was clear and snap my photo. Video and audio are unrelated as far as the law is concerned.

Most of my video is for timing based events. When a plate lands on the table, or how long I wait for a refill with an empty glass and what people look like and name tags are all fair game for my little camera. I can click the audio off and only capture video and be in the legal clear.
I forgot you don't use a traditional video camera. For shops our cameras are not easily turned off and on and to guarantee nothing fraudulent is happening they must be recording continuously. It's why most of us make sure to hit the head before getting to the sitewinking smiley

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'm not doing video shops yet, but my key fob camera is quite capable. I have an extended cable and a shirt that allows me to add a small extra battery pack and an extended video camera that is smaller than the defined standard PV-500 that I will eventually try to break into the video shopping with it. I can record in all the required resolutions any shop would desire and can record for 4 hours nonstop for a smaller package than the standard used product.

I can even program it with my Android phone and even power it with the phone. I have not gone any further with this project as I am content to use it for my own benefit and not share the video, and my video is getting better and better.

One day I will submit a video clip to a video shopping company and I bet they will like it. I'll be a video pro before I try to use my non standard gear for a video shop. I am already grabbing name tags that I cant see with my glasses on or off with the camera and getting the name by going frame by frame with the camera at the host stand or at the table.

I love my fine dining shops and this makes them so much easier to get facts I may not recall.
@scanman1 wrote:

I'm not doing video shops yet, but my key fob camera is quite capable. I have an extended cable and a shirt that allows me to add a small extra battery pack and an extended video camera that is smaller than the defined standard PV-500

I love my fine dining shops and this makes them so much easier to get facts I may not recall.

How do you use a key fob camera to capture names? I have a hard time getting them, too.
@Roxie wrote:

How do you use a key fob camera to capture names? I have a hard time getting them, too.

If you have a crappy one like the ones that are all over Ebay that shoot 480p video, the you have a worthless camera.

If you get one from the manufacturer that makes the quality 1080p and 720p models, you can easily read name tags in the video. I use VLC player and you can add a button that is frame by frame to the tool bar. I have recorded a name tag that I could not read with my poor vision and read it from the video several times now.

[www.videolan.org]

There are more crappy knock off key fob cameras than good ones. The knock offs do not record in proper nonstop .avi format either. There are different firmwares available and you want the .avi one. The default firmware is set to record 10 minute files and delete the oldest as it was originally designed as a dash camera. The 808 #16 is easy to leave on your key ring and records at 720p HD resolution at 30 frames per second for over an hour.


Direct factory purchase can be made here on Ebay. Beware as inferior fakes are everywhere.
[m.ebay.com]

Not quite as stealthy, but the 1080P model can be hidden with some creativity:
[m.ebay.com]
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