Is it considered cheating the client to do a food shop but not eat the food or take a tiny bite only?

Also just a quick comment about intentionality:

I did not mean to suggest anyone who only takes a bite to write an evaluation is necessarily intentionally/knowingly doing something they believe to be shady. People can make honest mistakes and not realize they're doing something that's either wrong (morally or procedural-wise).

So, there was no intentionality implied when I said "cheating" guys. I'm sorry if it came off that way!! sad smiley

I meant to ask it more as a theoretical question and also something that we as shoppers ought to think about for the sake of our work. I did not mean to imply that people were knowingly and actively trying to cheat in the traditional sense (although, that's certainly possible - it's just not my personal implication), but rather in a non-introspective way (like they haven't considered the ramifications of just taking a single bite).

So, again, no intentionality implied at all!! Please don't think I was thinking that!

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So just shoppers are amoral and not bright enough to figure it out? Questioning ethics, morality, etc. has actually become an ongoing theme to your posts. When you start a new job, are you the one walking in who knows more than everyone who has been there for years?

Your personal knowledge of this business is infinitesimal compared to the combined decades of experience of many forum members. While this doesn't translate directly to Internet communication, there is an old adage which could apply. We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak.

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 old school. I wouldn't want to be in a situation where I ordered food and then threw most of it away. If the food is taken home to be eaten later or given to someone else that is different .

My upbringing was not to waste food. There is already a massive mountain of food waste in this country.
But, you are NOT the client or boss and calling out other shoppers because you assume that 1/4 is a minimum has no basis in fact. Everyone is weary and ticked off at your assumptions about how other shoppers and not fair or dishonest and the many topics that you start and perpetuate with such baked in crazy ideas. You hear from lots of shoppers with (cumulative) experience of reading thousands of food shop guidelines who tell you one thing, but you prefer to "assume" that the client wants YOUR standard and we are all being dishonest. The word TROLL comes to mind more and more frequently. It is time that Jacob and the mods begin to see the pattern here as classic TROLL behavior. There are even learned papers being published on the subject, and guess whose posts fit one of the most common patters?

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.
@shoptastic wrote:

I did not mean to suggest anyone who only takes a bite to write an evaluation is necessarily intentionally/knowingly doing something they believe to be shady. People can make honest mistakes and not realize they're doing something that's either wrong (morally or procedural-wise).

So now you are saying that people who only take a bite in order to write an evaluation are doing something wrong, they just aren't doing it intentionally?

You are not helping yourself.

As long as you can evaluate the food it doesn't matter how little you eat. If you have a different opinion then eat the whole f***** thing. I don't care. But don't dare sit here and tell successful shoppers that they are doing something shady and just don't know it.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/30/2017 07:30PM by bgriffin.
I guess we are dishonest and morally bankrupt when we take a car we have no intention of buying for a test drive. Seriously. That could be the next topic.

I enjoy awkward questions and uncomfortable silences. This gas station pavement is $%^@*#& hot.
Coming soon to a thread near you.

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.
@LisaSTL wrote:

So just shoppers are amoral and not bright enough to figure it out? Questioning ethics, morality, etc. has actually become an ongoing theme to your posts. When you start a new job, are you the one walking in who knows more than everyone who has been there for years?

Your personal knowledge of this business is infinitesimal compared to the combined decades of experience of many forum members. While this doesn't translate directly to Internet communication, there is an old adage which could apply. We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak.

I agree with the listening part, LisaSTL. It's something I need to do more of. And I will make a greater effort to do so. I respect the admonition and appreciate the reminder.

I'm not sure if your first sentence was meant to suggest that I was implying that shoppers aren't intelligent enough to figure out ethics issues. If so, I certainly never said or intended that. I'm not sure where that came from. I was simply asking about a practice that seemed potentially wrong from the perspective of adequately fulfilling client expectations. And we certainly saw quite a few differing opinions.

I don't believe experience in something necessarily equates to better ethics/morality. Example: Donald Trump! He's experienced, relatively older, and yet his morality is about as bad as it gets!

It just depends on the person. Morality is a personal choice.

But, also, I think sometimes certain situations aren't always reflected upon as deeply or maybe they are complicated. And maybe this is one of them. I can totally see and understand someone thinking: "Wow, I can route six of these burger shops and make some extra money today. Great!! These shops are easy to do and quick!" They may not be intentionally thinking it was wrong or against the spirit of the clients' expectations to take only a bite or two of their food to do it (and I'm not saying it is or isn't - it probably depends on the client - rather I'm just raising the question). But, it could be something that's not acceptable to the client and they don't realize it. That's why I added above that I wasn't implying "intentionality" to my use of the term "cheating." I just meant that we should think about whether we're cheating the client in some way that may not be obvious.

For the record, I've actually done it too with a burger drive-thru shop. And it occurred to me shortly afterwards that maybe it wasn't right. I changed my approach afterwards. It was about three months ago where I had an easy along the way shop I could do and bought a drive-thru meal at a burger place for a shop. I only tried one or two french fries and gave the entire burger to my dad (along with the drink for him to have).

I used HIS review of the burger (just saying it tasted good and nothing was wrong with it) and drink for my shop report and my own review of the fries. I was full that day and didn't want to eat the meal, but wanted the profit from the burger shop that was along the way of my travels. A few days later, it hit me when driving that this could be wrong in some way (whether morally or just procedural/project specification-wise). I didn't do it again. Although, I HAVE taken just a small sample of my meals since when I'm doing routes and don't feel like eating the whole thing. But they've always been decent sized samples to get a sense of the food. And then I would give the rest to my family members and/or save them for the next day(s) as leftovers. With soda drinks, I sometimes throw them out completely after sampling them, b/c no one in my family likes soda that much.

I thought my new approach was acceptable, because I had tasted enough of everything to write a review based on my own demographic background (sometimes clients WANT to know how each demographic views their food, so I thought using my dad's review/opinion in that earlier burger shop could have been wrong and misleading for what the client wanted) and own voice/tastes. But that means there's a subjective line as to how much sampling of a food item is adequate to get a good review?

That's why I asked the question. I've seen people write about doing 10+ food shops a day and taking just a few bites. I've been in a situation that's similar. As I said, I never even sampled a burger once (maybe even twice - I can't remember if I had done it previously with that same client where I gave my dad the burger) and since reflecting on it and feeling it was wrong, I've made a choice to sample a decent chunk of my meals (every item) before doing my reports. Even with that in mind, I think I don't do a good enough job sometimes. I remember I did a food shop this week where I ate probably just 1/10th of the sandwich and gave the rest to my mom.

So, I'm not even saying that I'm right/innocent! I could be wrong too. But I ask just wanting to see if this is okay and what a good rule of thumb would be.

Even in writing in this thread, I've grown a greater conviction that I should maybe take more care to make sure that I get a good enough sample in future assignments!

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/01/2017 07:45AM by shoptastic.
Okay. I have HAD it. Not only am I going to toggle, but I advise (IMPLORE) everyone who has replied to this thread to toggle the OP. We are just feeding a TROLL here.

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 think that if I am doing a food shop of any kind, including convenience stores, it is my responsibility to report accurately about every single detail.

We are there to evaluate food conditions that affect the consumer. In my opinion, even considering not reporting anything off should be enough to kick a mystery shopper to the curb.
moosehoose, I agree, and if backup was needed, I have a little dog at home who would love anything.

Gosh, how infuriating....

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/30/2017 10:06PM by Melody7.
@walesmaven wrote:

Okay. I have HAD it. Not only am I going to toggle, but I advise (IMPLORE) everyone who has replied to this thread to toggle the OP. We are just feeding a TROLL here.

I agree with not feeding trolls. In addition to toggling, it would also be a good idea to report shoptastic to the moderator and to send a PM to Jacob. Her posts and threads are designed to cause drama and get the forum in an uproar. I implore everyone to stop answering and to report the posts.
@roflwofl wrote:

@walesmaven wrote:

Okay. I have HAD it. Not only am I going to toggle, but I advise (IMPLORE) everyone who has replied to this thread to toggle the OP. We are just feeding a TROLL here.

I agree with not feeding trolls. In addition to toggling, it would also be a good idea to report shoptastic to the moderator and to send a PM to Jacob. Her posts and threads are designed to cause drama and get the forum in an uproar. I implore everyone to stop answering and to report the posts.
I wrote Jacob.....please everyone that reports this nonsense, post and take back your control.

Live consciously....
@bgriffin wrote:

@shoptastic wrote:

I did not mean to suggest anyone who only takes a bite to write an evaluation is necessarily intentionally/knowingly doing something they believe to be shady. People can make honest mistakes and not realize they're doing something that's either wrong (morally or procedural-wise).

So now you are saying that people who only take a bite in order to write an evaluation are doing something wrong, they just aren't doing it intentionally?

You are not helping yourself.

As long as you can evaluate the food it doesn't matter how little you eat. If you have a different opinion then eat the whole f***** thing. I don't care. But don't dare sit here and tell successful shoppers that they are doing something shady and just don't know it.

I think there's maybe some confusion over what I intended and am talking about in this thread, bg. I'll try to clarify here (for everyone).

First, I did not intend to imply that shoppers were "cheating" the client in a knowing and intentional way. I think my wording and typing "off the cuff" may have given that impression to some. Rather, what I was asking was whether or not sampling (or completely not sampling at all) food in very small portions was in essence cheating the client out of an adequate or thorough review.

I explained the reasoning in earlier posts, where there might be something "off" with the food order that isn't detected with only a tiny bite. And so in essence, the client may be "cheated" out of a thorough/adequate review.

I didn't mean that shoppers were intentionally trying to cheat the client (although, it's possible that some are), but that the effect of what they're doing may essentially be cheating the client out of that thorough/adequate review. My personal feeling/suspicion is that shoppers in many of those cases are probably just trying to pick up extra and easy shops to make their routes more profitable and aren't actively thinking of ways to "cheat" the system. If a person isn't hungry and/or does not like the food offered in shop, then why buy it? If you do buy the food for a food shop evaluation that requires evaluating the taste, temperature, and quality of the food, then it seems reasonable to think that a thorough/adequate evaluation would require a decent sized sampling of it (that goes beyond one or two bites for entrees, at least).

I mentioned in a post to LisaSTL that I've unintentionally reviewed a burger (or two) before, where I hadn't eaten it (gave it to my dad, who gave me his opinion that I used) or had eaten only a small bite (and gave the rest to my mom), that could be thought of as unfair or cheating the client out of a thorough review. I took some time to think about it and felt I needed to sample the food more in order to give a fair report. But I wasn't intentionally trying to give a non-thorough or unfair report when I made those errors earlier. I thought in my mind it was perfectly fine to give a review based on my dad's opinion and/or a single bite.

That's what I mean by not intentionally and/or knowingly trying to do anything nefarious here. Sometimes people may not realize that their actions are inadequate and the effect is that the client may not get what they wanted. I think the word "cheat" may have made people think I was inferring intentionality, when I wasn't.

As for the subjective issue of how much of a meal a person needs to taste in order to give a fair and thorough food evaluation, that can be up for debate. I see no need to fight/insult others (although, I never see the need to do that when discussing things as an adult) over a legitimate question.

I'd be happy to hear people's views on this. I've given some off-the-top-of-my-head thoughts and I'm open to learning/changing my opinion. And I also think a lot depends on the particular food item in question. If it's a large item with complicated ingredients, textures, and tastes, then more than one bite would seem necessary. If the food item is a very simple and uniformly created dish (spaghetti?), then maybe less bites?

Edit: I think putting oneself in the shoes of a restaurant owner client could be helpful. Ask what you'd want your mystery shoppers to do.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/30/2017 10:54PM by shoptastic.
I was trying to offer some support, but I'm feeling like Saint Jude (look it up for those of you not Catholic). I tried.

proudly shopping in the D.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/01/2017 01:19AM by PaulinMI.
Shoptastic, your posts wildly veer from the realities of mystery shopping and adhering to guidelines. Putting myself in the client's shoes? Have you found that in any guideline or shop requirement? You have been a member of the forum for several months. I don't know how long you have been a mystery shopper, but after several months, you should be able to answer numerous of your questions, and grasp the concept of what we do.

I posted on a recent thread started by you, regarding SeeLevel and CSRs, asking you to respect forum members' generosity of time and contributions. The thread was deleted after you left it in shambles.

Wales, rofl and Irene - agreed.
~~Mystery Shopper Instructional Video for How to Evaluate Food~~
[www.youtube.com]

I thought this was a fantastic tutorial on how to evaluate food for mystery shops by viral sensation and top international foodie expert (featured in the Wall Street Journal), Xiaoman.

[www.youtube.com]

another example - she's everywhere these days

Lots everyone can learn!

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 07/01/2017 02:15AM by shoptastic.
I'm not interested in youtube ms tutorials and am not going to click on links. youtube does not prevail. You should not suggest otherwise. Adhering to MSC guidelines gets the job done right, and gets the shopper paid.
YouTube can be great.
My favorite is the NPR series Tiny Desk Concerts where indie bands come play an acoustical set behind the desk of the produce of All Songs Considered. It's pretty fantastic.

Who else has favorite YouTube pages?

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
@shoptastic wrote:

Also just a quick comment about.......

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

OMG I'M CRYING!


QUICK!


ROLFMAO

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH
AHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH
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AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/01/2017 02:56AM by bgriffin.
OMG. I tried to protect you earlier when you got picked on by Ninja and now I'm regeretting it. I have been so busy with shops since then (two of which were food shops where I barely ate any of it) that I didn't see how bad this has gotten . Shoptastic, do yourself a favor and delete your crazy, longwinded and irrational posts, apologize to everyone, and go away for awhile.
@shoptastic wrote:

~~Mystery Shopper Instructional Video for How to Evaluate Food~~
[www.youtube.com]

I thought this was a fantastic tutorial on how to evaluate food for mystery shops by viral sensation and top international foodie expert (featured in the Wall Street Journal), Xiaoman.

[www.youtube.com]

another example - she's everywhere these days

Lots everyone can learn!
sad smiley

I guess this was a failed attempt at humor?

Xiaoman is great, nonetheless. I love her videos! Although, she's growing up so fast and is already 3 years old now.

@Mert wrote:

I'm not interested in youtube ms tutorials and am not going to click on links. youtube does not prevail. You should not suggest otherwise. Adhering to MSC guidelines gets the job done right, and gets the shopper paid.
I agree that one should always go by the client's shop guidelines, Mert.

If you clicked the links, you'd have realized those weren't mystery shopping tutorials. But they do have to do with food and internet star, Xiaoman. If you or anyone's seen her viral videos, you'd know what the joke was.

That's on me for a failed attempt at humor! grinning smiley

[Feel free to still watch Xiaoman, though. She's an adorable baby girl!!!|

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/01/2017 06:42AM by shoptastic.
@JASFLALMT wrote:

OMG. I tried to protect you earlier when you got picked on by Ninja and now I'm regeretting it. I have been so busy with shops since then (two of which were food shops where I barely ate any of it) that I didn't see how bad this has gotten . Shoptastic, do yourself a favor and delete your crazy, longwinded and irrational posts, apologize to everyone, and go away for awhile.
I didn't read MSNinja's earlier comments, JASFLALMT. A moderator had deleted them by the time that I had entered. If they involved insults rather than civil discussion/debate, then I support that type of speech and interaction being deleted.

I appreciate it if you took the time to rebuke MSNInja. And I don't want to "pick on" MSNinja in that regard, because I think it's a forum problem at times - insults, I mean - and not exclusive to MSNInja. I have had a little running joke with MSNinja about "food blogs" or "food posts" and think he or she has a good sense of humor at times. But, I also think MSNinja goes too far at other times and makes remarks that can be hurtful. I'm going to say something about this general topic of insults over substance in a different thread, so I don't want to get too in depth into it here. (Currently, I mostly just ignore - just quickly skip by a poster's comments - that I know has had a history of insulting me in the past and don't read them in threads.) But, I do appreciate you sticking up for and standing against these abuses and there's no reason to regret doing that earlier even if you may disagree with my views here.

I do feel a little disappointed in your response to me above.

I think the main thing is that I'm disappointed at the personalized nature of things and the insults that have abounded when I think what's at issue is just a simple intellectual point of discussion/debate. I don't see this thread's discussion as too much different from a substantive debate over whether removing a pepperoncini from a Papa John's pizza order and replacing it with one's own (to evade possible mystery shopper detection) constituted "cheating" (exact words of a poster in that thread) or fraud in terms of people having good faith intellectual differences, which got a little out of hand.

Link to said Papa John's thread below:
[www.mysteryshopforum.com]

Like the Paja John's thread over possible "cheating" or rule-breaking of sorts, I think it's a legitimate topic that reasonable people can disagree on and I'm just disappointed (and hurt) by the need for some to use insult (which affects others' mental well-being) over debate (even impassioned debate!).

I'll say that after some further thought and reflection, I do think you all might be right in saying it's okay to just take a few bites. When I was searching around for Xiaoman videos earlier, I remembered from one of my family's favorite shows, Masterchef Junior w/ Gordon Ramsay, that even world-famous, superstar chefs judge cooking competitions with just a few bites of the food prepared for them. So, if they can do that, then why can't a mystery shopper get a good sense of a dish with just a few bites?

That only crossed my mind just an hour ago.

I do think there are some important differences in how they do it though. Gordon and the other judges will often cut open an entire chicken [insert any meat/seafood/poultry], for example, to make sure the center is cooked all the way through. And they'll often sift through, poke at, cut into, and toss various parts of the dish to get a good look at all of its parts. I personally get the feeling they only take a few bites, b/c they are forced to do that to avoid being too full (with so many contestants and dishes to judge, they can't eat that many huge dishes!). But, still, they are able to walk away with an evaluation of the food with just a few bites and label one person the winner over another.

They probably assume uniformity of taste, texture, etc. in the dish for parts of it they didn't taste (although, sometimes a judge - there are three total - will say they had a portion that was very/too salty and another will say their's was fine, so that shows you can obviously miss something too when you don't sample enough) or they try to make reasonable inferences based on how the dish looked when they sifted through the food with their utensils to get a good look at it. It's that sifting that I think is the difference and a good idea to do if a person just wants to eat a few bites of a meal.

So, in conclusion, I think I may have changed my mind on this topic and gone from "it's cheating the client" to it's okay to take just a few bites (IF you check the dish out sort of like how they do on MasterChef). I said earlier that was open to different view points and changing my mind and I was sincere about that. I have no problem saying that I was wrong or have changed my mind if the logic leads there. And I think this is a case where I would feel okay with doing a mystery food shop that required a taste evaluation and taking just a few bites (given my provisions above).

smiling smiley

Edited 9 time(s). Last edit at 07/01/2017 11:09AM by shoptastic.
@walesmaven wrote:

Okay. I have HAD it. Not only am I going to toggle, but I advise (IMPLORE) everyone who has replied to this thread to toggle the OP. We are just feeding a TROLL here.

Welcome to the Club. Better late than never. I've been busy lately and haven't kept up on the threads here, so if YOU toggled somebody, they must be bad.
SoCal,
Trust me; it's THAT bad.

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.
YOu guys are better at this than I am...I could not schedule 12 to 15 total of any kind of shops a day much less that many restaurant. Kudos to those that can do it...I think I am just too old smiling smiley
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