What Would You Do?

So tonight I went out on my favorite steakhouse shop where I can order 1 drink and 1 appetizer or entre and must sit at the bar. While sitting at the bar, the lady next to me started chatting and we talked throughout the meal. After she left I asked for my bill and was told that the "nice lady" had paid for my dinner and drink. So I'm thinking, now what? I asked for a copy of the receipt and after looking at it, verified with the bartender, what the woman's first name was and told the bartender the woman had told me where she worked. It was another restaurant and I said I'd go by one day for lunch, ask for her and thank her. Now the problem is the report. She ordered 1 mixed drink and a couple glasses of wine. I had 1 drink so our drinks are over the instruction limit. I emailed my scheduler to ask if when I do my report, I explain what happened, would it be accepted?

What would you do?

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I'd re-schedule the shop. This scenario has come up on this forum before, and the experienced shoppers have reported that they re-schedule and not try to complete a shop when someone else has paid for the meal. Apparently it happens more than one would guess.

I've never had it happen to me, but it seems that situation creates enough of a problem right off the bat that it would be better to abandon the shop and re-do it. It was wise to e-mail your scheduler instead of just trying to muddle through the report without checking first.

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/05/2018 04:21AM by BirdyC.
Generally, I tell the scheduler what happened. If you can't reshop it, perhaps somebody else will? You got a free meal and no report. Bonus.
I would reschedule the shop also. This happened to another shopper, different restaurant and MSC. Her shop was rejected because someone else paid for her bill.

The internet doesn't make you smart. It makes you good at regurgitation.
I would not do the report until I got a reply from the scheduler but in my opinion a reputable company would accept the report with no problem and reimburse your portion of the meal.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
I would explain everything. Let them decide whether to reject, cover the meal cost, or reschedule. Give them an opportunity to determine what is possible for them.

Nothing can be more abhorrent to democracy than to imprison a person or keep him in prison because he is unpopular. This is really the test of civilization. - Winston Churchill


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/05/2018 05:44PM by Shop-et-al.
I agree with Shop-et-al. I would ask first before doing the report. I find the MSC is easy to work with.
I had a bartender credit my beer, as he saw i didn't like it. I emailed the scheduler, and since i had to have two drinks and an appetizer, they asked the client if it could go through and they said, this one time only. The receipt showed this and I was reimbursed minus the beer.

Create a life that feels good on the inside, not one that just looks good on the outside.....
Dr. Judith Wright
A person can't get reimbursement if there was no out-of-pocket expense. It would be, if paid (simply because the MSC wants to be a good egg, not because it's owed) "additional compensation" and counted as taxable income, not reimbursement. (This opinion from legal experts, not me).

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.
There was an out of pocket expense.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
I would reschedule, if at all possible.. You will be doing the report for no compensation, if it was for reimbursement only, or for what is probably a very small fee, if one was attached. I would be highly surprised if the MSC reimbursed you for a meal you did not pay for yourself. I would not be expecting them to reimburse either. You had a great meal (I hope) that was free (cost covered by the "nice lady"winking smiley. So I would not give the MSC a report on that meal. I would attempt to reschedule and then do the report on the second meal.

Lady Marius
Canadian Mystery Shopper


Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 03/05/2018 10:05PM by Lady Marius.
@bgriffin wrote:

There was an out of pocket expense.

I'm confused, then! The shopper stated that woman paid for dinner and the drink. It sounded to me as if the shopper didn't have anything out of pocket.

OP, did you have any out of pocket expense? Am I missing something?

If the shopper is told to go ahead and submit the report, and it's accepted, if she/he did pay out of pocket for anything, then that amount (only) should be reimbursed. Yes; I agree in that case. Reimbursement applies only to what the shopper paid.

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/05/2018 10:20PM by BirdyC.
@BirdyC wrote:

@bgriffin wrote:

There was an out of pocket expense.

I'm confused, then! The shopper stated that woman paid for dinner and the drink. It sounded to me as if the shopper didn't have anything out of pocket.

OP, did you have any out of pocket expense? Am I missing something?

If the shopper is told to go ahead and submit the report, and it's accepted, if she/he did pay out of pocket for anything, then that amount (only) should be reimbursed. Yes; I agree in that case. Reimbursement applies only to what the shopper paid.

The payment for the meal came out of someone's pocket, just not the shopper's pocket.
@Misanthrope wrote:

The payment for the meal came out of someone's pocket, just not the shopper's pocket.

Yes, it did. But the shopper would not be owed reimbursement; the person who paid the bill would be. Reimbursement, by definition, is paid to an individual for an expense that individual incurred. If there was no expense incurred by that individual, no reimbursement can be made to that person.

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.
Nope. The shopper is owed the reimbursement because the shopper is the one who wrote the report. The reimbursement is part of the pay. Who paid the bill is irrelevant.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
Here we go again!

Reimbursement is for out of pocket expenses. The OP did not have any out of pocket expenses so they are not entitled to a reimbursement. Period! End of story.

Lady Marius
Canadian Mystery Shopper
Period end of story for you. There are many others (most) who disagree with you.
I mean I can be rude too and say YES IT IS PERIOD END OF STORY!!!!

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
I am not going to argue this all over with you again. I was not meaning to be rude, just state a fact as I see it...and I did not yell at you!

Lady Marius
Canadian Mystery Shopper
But it's not a fact. It's opinion.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
By definition it is a fact, not an opinion. The definition of a reimbursement is not compensation for writing a report, that is the fee, reimbursement is for out of pocket expenses, of which the OP had none. That is fact not fiction. Believing the OP is entitled to reimbursement despite having no out of pocket expenses is an opinion.

Lady Marius
Canadian Mystery Shopper
You stated that it was fact that there was not an out of pocket expense. That is not fact. That is opinion. It is your opinion that out of pocket expenses must be paid directly by the shopper. It is your opinion. It is not a fact. It is my opinion that as long as someone paid the restaurant for the meal then there was an out of pocket expense. Who paid the expense is irrelevant. Unless the restaurant comped the meal, which they did not, then a reimbursement is owed to someone. Since the person paying for the meal wanted to give a gift to the shopper, then the shopper is owed both that gift and the reimbursement for the work.

You apparently think for some unknown reason that the restaurant should get paid twice for the meal instead of the shopper, when the person purchasing the meal for the OP obviously meant for the shopper to get that.

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


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/06/2018 12:11AM by bgriffin.
No. I told the OP to reshedule. They had not written a report, or had not at the time of the OP. Because they are most likely not going to be reimbursed for a meal for which they did not pay.

Lady Marius
Canadian Mystery Shopper


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/05/2018 11:57PM by Lady Marius.
It depends on the MSC. A reputable one would pay.

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

It depends on the MSC. A reputable one would pay.

If a restaurant comps a meal, the shopper is not reimbursed. Though not apples and oranges, this is more like lemons and limes.

The problem with this, if reimbursed when simeine else pays our tab, is that shoppers would take advantage of such a "loophole." They would have a friend pay their bill, then use the second reimbursement to cover the friends dinner.

Before reading the responses, my opinion was the shopper just got their free meal. Their best option was to reschedule and get a reimbursed (reported) meal as planned.

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@isaiah58 wrote:

@bgriffin wrote:

It depends on the MSC. A reputable one would pay.

If a restaurant comps a meal, the shopper is not reimbursed. Though not apples and oranges, this is more like lemons and limes.

The problem with this, if reimbursed when simeine else pays our tab, is that shoppers would take advantage of such a "loophole." They would have a friend pay their bill, then use the second reimbursement to cover the friends dinner.

Before reading the responses, my opinion was the shopper just got their free meal. Their best option was to reschedule and get a reimbursed (reported) meal as planned.

Absolutely if a restaurant comps a meal the shopper is not reimbursed. The restaurant is "paying" for the meal one way or the other. It's actually no different. However, when someone else picks up the tab the restaurant is getting paid for the meal so they should be reimbursing it.

Your "loophole" makes no logical sense. You are attempting to manufacture money that is not there.

The shopper does not get a "Free" meal in mystery shopping. That's the attitude that non-reputable MSCs use to take advantage. The shopper works (evaluates an experience and writes a report) and in return they are paid the cost of the meal and possibly a fee.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
According to U.S. Legal, the legal definition of reimbursement is: "Reimbursement is the act of paying someone for expenses they have paid....

"Reimbursement may be partial or full payment of expenses incurred. Reimbursement payments may be taxable depending on applicable laws."

Attorneys I know who are experts in contract law agree with this, and I will, either today or tomorrow, post a further explanation of their opinions on this specific subject -- is a shopper due a "reimbursement" when said shopper has not incurred any expenses? Which I meant to do some time ago, but got so busy with my other jobs I never got back to it.

The definition of "reimbursement" isn't subject to opinion. But whether a shopper is owed a "payment" (NOT a reimbursement) under these circumstances is subject to the wording of the contract between shopper and MSC; i.e., the shop instructions; whether there is any ambiguity in the contract; and, in some cases, customary practice in the industry.

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/06/2018 12:57AM by BirdyC.
P.S. If a true reimbursement is to be paid under these circumstances, it would be to the person who actually paid the bill, because that's the purpose of a reimbursement.

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.
In my early days as a shopper, my husband was averse to me picking up the tab on restaurant shops. (Didn't take long for him to decide it was not a problem!) More than one MSC questioned me about the name on the credit card receipt being different from mine. Hubs and I have different last names. I explained and was always reimbursed. However, it begged the question as to whether I would have been reimbursed had it not been my husband who was the payer.

I would not expect to be reimbursed if someone else picked up the tab. I would contact the scheduler as did plmccut, wait for a reply, and take it from there.
@BirdyC wrote:

The definition of "reimbursement" isn't subject to opinion.

The definition is not subject to opinion but the interpretation of the instance absolutely is. In my opinion the unrelated party has given the shopper a gift equal in value to the meal which was used to pay for that meal. In that way the shopper absolutely has an expense and should be reimbursed for it. Additionally, the third party is unrelated to the agreement between the shopper, MSC, and client. Was the client paid for the meal? Absolutely, and therefor the client is due to reimburse that meal.

What I fail to understand, even if there wasn't a logical argument for it, why ANY shopper would think that the end client should get paid twice for providing a meal.

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

@isaiah58 wrote:

@bgriffin wrote:

It depends on the MSC. A reputable one would pay.

If a restaurant comps a meal, the shopper is not reimbursed. Though not apples and oranges, this is more like lemons and limes.

The problem with this, if reimbursed when simeine else pays our tab, is that shoppers would take advantage of such a "loophole." They would have a friend pay their bill, then use the second reimbursement to cover the friends dinner.

Before reading the responses, my opinion was the shopper just got their free meal. Their best option was to reschedule and get a reimbursed (reported) meal as planned.

Absolutely if a restaurant comps a meal the shopper is not reimbursed. The restaurant is "paying" for the meal one way or the other. It's actually no different. However, when someone else picks up the tab the restaurant is getting paid for the meal so they should be reimbursing it.

Your "loophole" makes no logical sense. You are attempting to manufacture money that is not there.

The shopper does not get a "Free" meal in mystery shopping. That's the attitude that non-reputable MSCs use to take advantage. The shopper works (evaluates an experience and writes a report) and in return they are paid the cost of the meal and possibly a fee.

Attitude, or luck? Assume that the other person performed a random or planned act of kindness, not knowing that the OP was in the middle of a mystery shop. This is fortuitous in that the cost of the meal was received by the restaurant and the cost of the meal never left the OP's coffers. Unexpectedly, the OP did not have to pay for a meal or submit a receipt or expense statement for the cost of the meal. Was this good luck, bad luck, dumb luck, or something else?

In the out-there world, we might wonder if the MSC or the client sent someone along to create this condition, hoping that the issue would be brought to the forum again. Have we covered it completely, or are there more aspects that we might find?

Nothing can be more abhorrent to democracy than to imprison a person or keep him in prison because he is unpopular. This is really the test of civilization. - Winston Churchill
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