What are your thoughts about compliance shops?

I am curious to know your opinions on compliance shops where you must validate if retailers are asking for ID when attempting to purchase tobacco or alcohol products?

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I'm waiting for my kid to be 18 so he can clean up with these. 6 more months.

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Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.
It's ever so much better for the employee to be caught by us (and, hopefully, retrained) than to be led out of the store in handcuffs when they get caught in a police sting.
On of my nephews literally earned his way through college on a combination of those shops and a scholarship that covered only tuition and books.

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.
These are super easy and can be lucrative. I enjoy them but am about to age out in my late 30s. Don't think I have paid full price for beer/wine in over 10 years!
My kids aren't old enough for the compliance shops for cigarettes and alcohol, and I'm too old for them. But I agree with what @ceasesmith said.

On the other hand, I do many compliance shops with my kids for the rated R movies and for the rated M games. I think it's fine. The employees are learning. I think they would get re trained versus fired for a first offense.

However, there has NEVER been a time that they have sold a rated R ticket to one of my kids or that they have sold a rated M game to one of my kids, so that's good smiling smiley
I do appreciate age compliance shops even though neither I nor any family members do/have done them due to age. I recognize that the corporation is doing the shops because it is a lot cheaper to hire a shopper than to pay the fines for an employee caught breaking the law. But the laws are there because society mostly feels that alcohol, cigarettes and movies or games with excessive violence or sex need to be limited to those with the maturity to handle them responsibly. Age is an arbitrary indicator of maturity but probably the best we've got that is quick and clean.

There are, of course, other types of compliance shops, and indeed every shop we do is about compliance. If an employee is trained that they are to greet incoming customers and they don't, they are not in compliance. If they are trained to explain the return policy and they don't, they are not in compliance. If they are not to have more than 3 visible piercings and they have 8, they are not in compliance. If the public restroom is to be monitored to keep it well supplied and there are no paper towels or tissue, they are not in compliance. etc.

If we were not checking for compliance we would not be doing shops at all.
I won’t do those junky ten dollar reveal ones, but I’ll clean the board of everything else. This is one shop that can really rake in the dough so don’t undervalue your worth.
If they fail on a mystery shop, they're usually retrained (or so my kidlet was told). If they fail when the state does it, they get fired and the store gets a hefty fine.

Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.

(Yes, I stole Hoju's tagline.)
When I was that age I was testing them for real. Usually they refused and you had to hang around outside the store until you found a sympathetic adult who would contribute to your delinquency by buying that Mad Dog for you.
Which MSCs should I be looking to for these? May as well plan ahead for the kid.

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Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.
I LOVE them. I cleaned up nicely with a gas station compliance shop route last month. I would say one fifth of my shops every month are compliance shops.
Intouch Insight offers a lot of compliance shops all over North America and will have a lot more come January. We operate on ISecretShop so do check us out.
@Bellaprime I don't see anything in the northeast at all.

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Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.
Compliance Audits with Intouch Insight are what got me into MS two years ago. Might be because I'm in Ottawa, where Intouch Insight is based, but at certain times of year I've been able to do every single location of a particular store within 30km of me. (Probably about 30-40 locations)

I also learned that as a university student, having a lot of free alcohol to share with your friends makes you pretty popular with them grinning smiley
@Bellaprime, are they all going to be alcohol compliance shops or will they include the rated R movies and rated M games?
My son did the cigarette shops for a while. He enjoyed the money and thought the work was easy until the first time someone sold to him. He did a handful after that but won't touch them or any other compliance shop now. For him, being part to traping someone with the consequence of their possibly being fired made him not feel good about himself. I don't think he realized how strongly he felt about it until actually doing the jobs.
@wwin That's interesting. Your son is very empathetic. Not a bad trait. Mine is too. I wonder if he will be the same way.

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Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.
It's too bad the empathy didn't extend to all the other people who will suffer if the cashier sells alcohol or cigarettes to an undercover cop. Hefty fines and loss of licenses could cause innocent employees to lose their jobs.

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 agree with Lisa. And will add that a parent should probably talk about that with the teen ahead of time. That might have save at least one teen from so much angst.

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.
When it's a compliance shop for the teen to buy cigs, is it really the parent doing the shop?

18 to buy cigs...could be a shopper in your own right at that point. And to they just do the shop to make sure that the establishment asks for ID?
For alcohol and tobacco compliance shops my understanding is the shopper must be of legal age. I could be wrong.

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:

For alcohol and tobacco compliance shops my understanding is the shopper must be of legal age. I could be wrong.

I know there are some tobacco shops here in Canada that require a team of 2 shoppers, with one being 16-17 and the other being over 18. The minor attempts to buy cigarettes and the adult evaluates the store.
I LOVE these shops. Some of them get super bonused (think 10x or more the base pay and the reports take 5 mins or less to do) at the end of the quarter and I grab the ones near me then. But I'm sad I will be out of the age range allowed in just over a year from now. I'll miss them!
@FloydPepper wrote:

I LOVE these shops. Some of them get super bonused (think 10x or more the base pay and the reports take 5 mins or less to do) at the end of the quarter and I grab the ones near me then. But I'm sad I will be out of the age range allowed in just over a year from now. I'll miss them!

I always ask especially for the hard-to-fill ones. It's amazing how many I'm still getting at 37 smiling smiley and when they're desperate at that point, I usually get a nice bonus on top of it.
@LisaSTL wrote:

For alcohol and tobacco compliance shops my understanding is the shopper must be of legal age. I could be wrong.

This is how we handle it: the client gives us their store policy. For example, "We train our clerks/cashiers to ID anyone who looks under 40 for alcohol purchases." We take that age range and usually undercut it by a few years to give the employee a bit of grace. So for this example, we would look for shoppers between 21 and 35. This way, even if the shopper is no ID'd and the purchase is made, nothing ILLEGAL took place, just store procedure was not followed. Further training is usually provided.

Administrative Manager for Shoppers' View
p: 616-608-1594 | e: christinew@shoppersview.com | w: www.shoppersview.com
I can't wait until my daughter is old enough to do these shops! She is so antsy about getting a job; she wants to make her own money and this would be perfect for her. Unfortunately, she only 11 1/2 years old LOL
lol @Fidobaxter, I know what you mean! Two of my kids really want to shop, too! I'm starting to show them some things and tell them some tips. One is 16 and the other is 13, but they've "helped" me on shops, etc. It will be a great way for them to make their own money!
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