I mystery shopped 10 yrs ago mainly for Shop N' Chek shopper. There were no long narratives then. I'm back in the game as it was a fun hobby way back when. What an unpleasant surprise now! It took me 2 hrs to complete a bank report & maybe an hour to do a thrift store report. I'm definitely adjusting to the objective style reporting & "telling every detail of the story" narrative. But come on, I'm highly educated and write assessments on a daily, am a bibliophile, but can't justify spending so long writing a MS report for $20. Should I throw in the towel already? I don't want to, but it's not so fun right now...
Thank you for the suggestions! My "long" reports were for A Closer Look and KSS. I figured I didn't know about MSCs w/long narratives a decade ago. I think my max writing limit per report is 6-10 sentences. Beyond that, I may burn out.
LOL. Yup, ACL was around then and the narratives were just as long. Now they added photos to many of the shops, too. KSS is actually a scheduling service for other MSCs like Intellishop (long narratives at times). They schedule for Maritz, too, which does not have long narratives.
Oooh, good to know about KSS as a scheduling service. Again, I had no idea! I will add Maritz to my list of do-able companies. So far I only enjoyed a phone shop that lasted 5 min., $8 and took 15 min. to enter the data. I will "resign" from Coyle & Albatross. Any thoughts on See Level or Sinclair? Are you saying to avoid fast food from Intellishop? Haha.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/12/2018 06:55PM by Nchan.
I don't know, we don't have (that fast food restaurant) here, but a few others have complained of tummy troubles. No idea what the reports are like, but you can't link the client and the MSC (violation of ICA with the MSC and also against forum rules) so take out the name of that fast food restaurant from your post
SeeLevel is okay, still longer than you want to write I think, and with Sinclair it depends. If you are being scheduled by the actual MSC, fine, but don't use any outside schedulers with them (like Cari Coyle).
I don't mind long narratives. I do a mix of long and short shops. There is link to a list at the bottom of the page to 100s of companies. But if you want to do short and sweet, the ones I mentioned are a good start. I am sure other forum members will chime in about other MSCs.
Try Bare international, Trendsource, HS Brands, and Jancyn. Both bare and HS brands have a variety of shops with no narrative to short narratives for many shops and a few that are more detailed with longer narratives. Jancyn are all quick reports with a few sentences of narrative at most. As a side note almost all mscs have a mix of shops ranging from no narratives to long detailed narratives. MSC to avoid that have long narratives for almost all are A Closer Look, Coyle, and True Guest. I am sure others will chime in.
Shopping Western NY, Northeast and Central PA, and parts of Ohio and West Virginia. Have car will travel anywhere if the monies right.
Thank you very much! I'm feeling much better about continuing to MS now that I know that there are MSCs right up my alley. I'll definitely look into the ones you suggested. I cannot see myself writing 1/2+ pg of narrative at this point in my life. Gotta save some brain power to write psychological assessments! When I retirement in 30 yrs, I can do the more complex MSC reports. ***Is there a good rule of thumb how to detect shorter/non-narrative requirements in a shop?*** I assumed a thrift store shop would be nothing but I was totally wrong. Of course, it was ACL too though.
You're a good writer and it takes you 2 hours to do write a $20 bank shop report?
I would guess you are putting wayyyyyyy to much into it. They don't need a novel and it doesn't have to be fine literature quality writing.
This happened. This happened. Then this happened. They said this when it did. Boom you're done.
There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
I know, it's lame that I wasted 2 hours writing a bank shop. I couldn't believe it myself. At least I cut that time in half with the thrift shop report the following day. I agree, I need to practice the objective, robotic writing style. I guess I'm grappling with telling a story vs. just stating the facts. I'll continue to study the report examples that a lot of the MSCs provide, though I'm afraid those are considered "above & beyond" reports. I'm happy with being a mediocre MS writer.
Writing narratives is good, generally and theoretically. If writing is thinking, then we who write narratives are using our little grey cells well. Or, this was a viable hypothesis pre-AI.
AI is useful for screening during data entry and has streamlined many work processes in many industries. However, there may be one glitch. In mystery shopping, the AI can detect potential 'plagiarism'. (AI cannot prove or disprove anything, mind you, but please bear with me.) My recent example is of being chided for duplication of my own work. All that really happened was that I presented the information for two of three reports in the order that the events occurred. For third instance of the same shop, I presented the information according to concept: service, cleanliness, or whatever was mentioned in the survey. I did nothing wrong, but I was chided for formatting information similarly more than one time during one round of shops. Thanks to AI, logical and chronological formatting may go by the wayside while we waste time with a different format for each shop of a round of shops. The work involved is good for us, but it might cost us in time. Time, for many mystery shoppers, is money. AI cannot reconcile these concepts with potential plagiarism.
Reading other types of writing may be beneficial, so I am spending more time with well written non-shop materials. This is good for me, too.
The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it. - Terry Pratchett
I think we all establish writing patterns. I mean, how many times can you write something, "When I entered the location, I noticed that the glass door and windows were shiny and free of smudges," or, "The restroom was clean and properly stocked with toiletry supplies," without duplicating yourself?
I've done many of the thrift stores that are the donation/go in and shop combo. The reports don't take me any longer than 15 minutes....tops! bgrif is right....don't overdo, especially for the fees! The thrift store MSC that I do also has a "donation only" at drop offs (no retail store on site...just drop off). They pay less, but the report is a snap, and if you're in the area or live nearby, it's easy money.
You're right. I shouldn't overthink when I write the reports nor spend too much time on them. I'm in the adjustment period phase & hope to get more efficient over time. Going from no narratives a decade ago to several paragraphs was a culture shock for me.
AI and editors? Ugghhh. We're doing this work for practically free & the MSCs are behaving like drill sergeants. Thanks for the heads up. I was going to copy/paste some stuff into a new report but will be careful not to overdo it.
My bet is that right now, increasingly sensitive monitoring/surveillance technology is being developed that will continue to eliminate the need for shoppers. Eventually, the only thing left will be an interest in subjective opinions, much like the long-standing practice of market research and focus groups/sampling. etc.