Editing is a thankless job - ask me anything

Most of the time I use Microsoft Word to correct my spelling and grammar. I'll type a section of the report, cut and paste it on to a blank Word document to make corrections.

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@Catregen

I do not believe you are being foolish, especially if you were going to stop there anyway. You were going to go there and eat anyway, now your food is covered.

My friend who got me into shopping was doing MSing in the 1980's I think. At least in the 1990's, when we were in college. She used it for spending money and "out" money while in college.

She told me to never go someplace "Just for one shop," but to bundle shops and that if I was already going somewhere, to pick up shops....

I've kept that in mind. I won't drive somewhere too far or out of town for one shop. But if I'm going anyway, I will pick up shops
@Clamchatter wrote:

One of my bugaboos in life is poor grammar, spelling and punctuation. I aced all my English classes in college. For those of us who take great pride in our ability to read and write correctly I take exception to the comment that most people do not know how to read or write properly. I am sure there are many on this forum that also know how to read and write correctly. Granted, I see poor examples of incorrect grammar, spelling and punctuation all over Facebook. And it drives me crazy. This is my thing so I hope all that read this will not jump all over me. Thank you.

Yes, you're right. I was exaggerating when I said nobody can write properly. However, when I started this job I thought that pretty much everyone in America could at the very least type out a complete sentence if they had to. I was shocked when I realized how many people actually can't do this. This is in no way a dig on them - there could be a lot of reasons why that person never got the proper education. Or maybe they did and they're just being lazy, typing on a tiny phone screen, or trying to fill out a report while distracted by other things.

I don't think my job has made me a better writer but it has made me a faster editor. In college I dropped out of a news writing class because I got so stressed out by being forced to write something in under 15 minutes. Now I could probably bang that out and not worry about it because if this job has taught me anything, it's that perfection is not the goal.

It's a lot different than what I imagine book editors do, which sounds way cooler to me and a lot harder. I just clean up mistakes and make it look fairly presentable. Literary editors actually have to care about complex grammar rules and the way something sounds.

All that said, I do appreciate those of you who take pride in your writing and may even write better than I do. You make my job easier!
@CureMS wrote:

Hi anoryzae - Such a "well" written article! Question, can you share more of your funny instances?

I'm afraid of getting too specific, but I think I can get away with a few instances:

- A shopper who wore a wig and sunglasses to evaluate someone they'd already spoken to. It actually worked
- A shopper who commented on how handsome the person they spoke to was
- Many weird conversations overheard in grocery stores including who is hooking up with whom
- The misspellings of crockpot without the "r"
- One guy who asked an employee about the sexual use of a vegetable
- When shoppers are a little too accurate and describe the conversation/topic as incredibly boring (I agree, but probably our client does not!)
- A hilarious description written in all caps of an employee who started dancing around and doing pelvic thrusts
- People who eat part of their food before they photograph it (protip: no matter how good it looks, don't bite into it first!)
- And of course, all of the angry shoppers who have to give us a piece of their mind including telling us we are idiots, telling us to take our money and shove it where the sun doesn't shine, or that we'll be hearing from their lawyers if we don't pay them for the project they didn't do properly

And just to say - there are of course many dedicating, competent, great shoppers who go out of their way to do a good job but their work tends to be less funny smiling smiley

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 02/10/2019 09:11PM by anoryzae.
@Catregen wrote:

**this in response to MFJohnson's reference to $5 shops....

I'm still learning. I'd appreciate your insight. A local burger chain in my area does $5 shops with a $12 reimbursement. I've done these shops when I was already planning to stop for food. Am I being foolish? Am I compromising other shoppers?

Just my view. But if its the place with peanuts, once you've got a few under your belt, hold off on accepting until they raise the pay or call and offer you a bonus. (Assuming in your area they aren't all snapped up quickly).
I did them for the base pay for a while then realized I could get $25 by waiting. I even got $49 for one location! (But that's rare)
@Catregen wrote:

**this in response to MFJohnson's reference to $5 shops....

I'm still learning. I'd appreciate your insight. A local burger chain in my area does $5 shops with a $12 reimbursement. I've done these shops when I was already planning to stop for food. Am I being foolish? Am I compromising other shoppers?

If this was a place I liked and even wanted to eat at this would be a $17 shop, not a $5 shop. If it is the place I am thinking of the report is not a difficult one. So for me if it is in the neighborhood where I already expect to be, I eat there on my own dime sometimes or would if I did not mystery shop, I do not count the time to eat and get there in what I am earning. So $17 (+ more for the taxes I would have to pay on those earnings) less I have to earn elsewhere sounds okay to me.
I am a big fan of the Oxford comma.

@MFJohnston wrote:

You missed a couple of commas.

@Clamchatter wrote:

One of my bugaboos in life is poor grammar, spelling and punctuation. I aced all my English classes in college. For those of us who take great pride in our ability to read and write correctly I take exception to the comment that most people do not know how to read or write properly. I am sure there are many on this forum that also know how to read and write correctly. Granted, I see poor examples of incorrect grammar, spelling and punctuation all over Facebook. And it drives me crazy. This is my thing so I hope all that read this will not jump all over me. Thank you.
anoryzae, I am glad you posted and have become a member of this forum. We need more editors posting. You guys are our backbone and support. I try my best to write perfectly when I fill out reports but, I know I make mistakes. Without you guys cleaning up my work sometimes, I would be embarrassed turning in work with mistakes to the client.

In your title you state that editing is a thankless job. There are a few here that thank you for doing the job that you do. There are a few here that accepts positive criticism about our work and learn from it. I do not know what company you are with and if you ever have edited one of my reports but, I want to thank you for doing what you do. Without you (and editors across the world), we couldn't do what we do. It eases my mind knowing someone has my back when I make mistakes prior to reports being submitted to the client.

Shopping Arkansas, Louisiana, & Mississippi.
Once, I got an email from an editor thanking me for a great report I submitted. It was for a fine dining shop. Because it needed so little editing I was given a $5 bonus. Totally made my day.

Kim
I've gotten some thanks too, from editors. Makes me feel great that I tried really hard to make their job easier.
@anoryzae wrote:

@CureMS wrote:

Hi anoryzae - Such a "well" written article! Question, can you share more of your funny instances?

I'm afraid of getting too specific, but I think I can get away with a few instances:

- A shopper who wore a wig and sunglasses to evaluate someone they'd already spoken to. It actually worked
- A shopper who comment on how handsome the person they spoke to was
- Many weird conversations overheard in grocery stores including who is hooking up with whom
- The misspellings of crockpot without the "r"
- One guy who asked an employee about the sexual use of a vegetable
- When shoppers are a little too accurate and describe the conversation/topic as incredibly boring (I agree, but probably our client does not!)
- A hilarious description written in all caps of an employee who started dancing around and doing pelvic thrusts
- People who eat part of their food before they photograph it (protip: no matter how good it looks, don't bite into it first!)
- And of course, all of the angry shoppers who have to give us a piece of their mind including telling us we are idiots, telling us to take our money and shove it where the sun doesn't shine, or that we'll be hearing from their lawyers if we don't pay them for the project they didn't do properly

And just to say - there are of course many dedicating, competent, great shoppers who go out of their way to do a good job but their work tends to be less funny smiling smiley


smiling smiley smiling smiley smiling smiley smiling smiley smiling smiley You made my day!

GETTING IN SHAPE IN 2019
I was planning to go to the gym today. But I got a better offer from the ice cream in the Freezer!
I was planning to exercise. I am. Still planning.
I was planning to eat right. Right after this hamburger, fries, and shake.
@anoryzae wrote:

@Clamchatter wrote:

Edited by Sandy to only select (out of context) the statements below:

However, when I started this job I thought that pretty much everyone in America could at the very least type out a complete sentence if they had to. I was shocked when I realized how many people actually can't do this.

From Sandy...when my daughter was a Senior in High School, the student sitting next to her in one class asked her to help her as she had to write a book report and chose one of the Harry Potter books. She did not understand it at all. I believe those books were written at a 4th grade level. She was amazed the girl chose a 4th grade book but also it was not unusual in our High School for a Junior or Senior to not be able to read. My kids were in honors and AP classes but at times they had to take a required course with the entire school and it was a rude awakening for them and for me as well.
@Capurato wrote:

I would wager that probably 50% or more just gather employee descriptions and write up a good report. I know if I got paid $5 to do a shop I would do just that.

I would never do just that.

Why would anyone apply for a $5 shop then falsify the report?
@KathySueLM wrote:

@Capurato wrote:

I would wager that probably 50% or more just gather employee descriptions and write up a good report. I know if I got paid $5 to do a shop I would do just that.

I would never do just that.

Why would anyone apply for a $5 shop then falsify the report?

I'm sure some people do this, because there's no audio recording in the stores or restaurants. They can see a video, but they don't know what is being said. By law, companies cannot make audio recording, just videos. At least in California.
I have many college educated friends and acquaintances.

Some are published authors.

Not one can write a simple declarative sentence that makes sense.

Including the ones with PhD degrees.

In fact, they seem to be the worst.
I had an editor contact me this past week to thank me for the great and clear photos I uploaded into my report. I was thrilled! I wrote back and thanked them!! It was nice to be thanked that way.
I disagree with shop/fee shaming. There's an MSC infamously known for no fee. Whether the reimbursement is $12 or $500, no fee is no fee. Shoppers taking $0, $2 or $5 fees do not hurt the industry. Not all clients are willing, or can afford, higher fees. It's up to all of us to show the value of what we do.

I agree 100% that dishonest shoppers hurt the industry.

@MFJohnston wrote:

If I agree to do a shop, I do it properly. I sure hope you don’t take any $5 shops. Shoppers who cut corners hurt all of us.

@Capurato wrote:

I would wager that probably 50% or more just gather employee descriptions and write up a good report. I know if I got paid $5 to do a shop I would do just that.
@Clamchatter wrote:

One of my bugaboos in life is poor grammar, spelling and punctuation. I aced all my English classes in college. For those of us who take great pride in our ability to read and write correctly I take exception to the comment that most people do not know how to read or write properly. I am sure there are many on this forum that also know how to read and write correctly.

I thought this as well, and then I saw the reports that were submitted. My first thought was, "I can't believe that these people passed the written part of the driving test." Within a few days, I realized why I was getting all of the great, complicated shopping assignments. I edited mostly quick casual restaurant reports (similar to Applebee's or El Torito). People talk a great game on the forums, but when you see some of the reports, they are shocking.
This is a great thread. I have some questions, Editor:

How many companies do you edit for? Are you the person who rejects shops or is that another role?

What happens when a shopper responds in a hostile manner? Is this an acceptable situation?

Evaluating and mailing packages since 1994
I stand with Mert, and many others who disagree with shop/fee shaming. Everyone has needs and a comfort zone, and many have significant restrictions on hours available or physical restraints. Be proud of what YOU accomplish but do not judge everyone by that standard. Of course, shoppers need to go by the guidelines, be on time, write reasonably well; but those virtues can all be demonstrated on $5 shops.

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.
The popular movie shops that are now gone paid only $5. Yet the reimbursement and the time I spent with my mom was well worth it.

Kim
I have completed the same type of $5 shop for five, seven, forty, and sixty dollars. The shop never changed. I was a few days older for each successive shop, but otherwise I had not changed. Only the distance to the shop locations changed. The farther away the shop was from home, the more money I need to cover travel costs associated with the shop.

It makes no sense ethically for me to request a bonus for a local shop that costs me nothing. It is a sound business practice for me to receive bonus money that completely or partially offsets travel costs. Sometimes, I can put together busy shops days with sufficent pay to cover travel costs. At other times, that is impossible and a higher amount of bonus money is necessary.

We may pass violets looking for roses. We may pass contentment looking for victory. - Bernard Williams


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/09/2019 03:50PM by Shop-et-al.
@kimmiemae wrote:

The popular movie shops that are now gone paid only $5. Yet the reimbursement and the time I spent with my mom was well worth it.

I agree with this 100%. I sometimes take reimbursement only shops and treat different family members to a nice meal out. I enjoy the company. I could not afford to pay for all these nice meals, but being retired allows me to trade time (writing reports) for memories. One day when mom and my Godmother are gone, I will look back at the memories and not the reports. As for shop-shaming the $5 shops, you would have to put me in the category of being "shamed". When I started MSing, I took many $5 shops to learn the trade. Thanks to these "$5" shops and editors like anoryzae, I do everything from airlines, to 5-star hotels and dining establishments. I now am almost exclusive to an MSC that allows me to work from home except for a few PO trips each month. They pay me well because I write well. I'm soooooo thankful for that, because "Baby, it's cold outside" smiling smiley

GETTING IN SHAPE IN 2019
I was planning to go to the gym today. But I got a better offer from the ice cream in the Freezer!
I was planning to exercise. I am. Still planning.
I was planning to eat right. Right after this hamburger, fries, and shake.
I hear Keyboard Cat has a new gig. Writing shop reports! Now you can picture Keyboard Cat every time you see one of THOSE reports and have a laugh.

sestrahelena
There is not a set answer to this. You have to ask yourself: "Do I feel okay doing this job for that fee?" Every person on this board is going to have a different answer to that - which will vary based on what you can make doing other jobs, what your personal standard of living is, what the cost of living in your area is and whether or not you like the food.

If you like the food and needed a meal anyhow, it might be a pretty good deal for you, if the report is not onerous. My doctor says I should avoid burger joints, so I'd be either tossing the food or doing something unhealthy. That $5 suddenly seems completely inadequate.

That said.... I decided to do a personal analysis on Jack in the Box shops recently. They are everywhere and I can do them without getting out of my car. So, they caught my attention. I asked the question, would they make good filler shops on a route? I timed them. I did the math. I decided that there is a price point at which I will do them if I am already in the same parking lot for another shop. I have another price point for when I am driving right past. I have another for when I see a freeway sign pointing to them. Etc. I determined that, under certain conditions, they are well worth my while. For instance, en route to a post office the other day, I was in heavy traffic and drove right past one at $14. I had the MSC's page on my phone open already and picked up the shop. I went through the drive through, placed my order took my pictures and went back onto the street - losing about five car lengths. Traffic was slow enough that I was able to complete my report while driving. I added less than three minutes to my trip and netted $8.74.As this amounts to close to $200/hr, I'll do that all day.

@Catregen wrote:

**this in response to MFJohnson's reference to $5 shops....

I'm still learning. I'd appreciate your insight. A local burger chain in my area does $5 shops with a $12 reimbursement. I've done these shops when I was already planning to stop for food. Am I being foolish? Am I compromising other shoppers?

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
@Shop-et-al wrote:

It makes no sense ethically for me to request a bonus for a local shop that costs me nothing.

I completely disagree with this. If a scheduler asks me to do a local shop and the offer does not fit my earning expectations, I'll counter with a bonus request - even if the shop is next door to me or next to a different shop I am doing. I determine what my time is worth. I don't leave it to the MSC to do that.


@Shop-et-al wrote:

It is a sound business practice for me to receive bonus money that completely or partially offsets travel costs. Sometimes, I can put together busy shops days with sufficent pay to cover travel costs. At other times, that is impossible and a higher amount of bonus money is necessary.

It is a sound business practice to receive bonus money that completely (NOT partially) offsets travel costs - including gas, an extra meal out, a latte and my time. If you don't think on these terms, you will lose money by making that long trip to help a scheduler. Most of us are here to help our own bottom lines. We can only have a professional and ethical relationship with schedulers and MSC's if we are honest about our financial needs to do a shop and ask for whatever compensation is appropriate for us, as individuals.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
I mostly agree with you. However, if a shopper is leaving home and spending an hour (transportation plus time) for a $5 shop, the shopper's needs are not likely being met. ($5/hr minus gas money is not a way to make ends meet.) "Shaming" the shopper would not be appropriate. However, "coaching" the shopper on how to find more lucrative work and/or being more efficient with his/her time would be appropriate.

Clients who cannot afford a $5 fee (unless there is a decent reimbursement), likely cannot afford a mystery shopping program.

@Mert wrote:

I disagree with shop/fee shaming. There's an MSC infamously known for no fee. Whether the reimbursement is $12 or $500, no fee is no fee. Shoppers taking $0, $2 or $5 fees do not hurt the industry. Not all clients are willing, or can afford, higher fees. It's up to all of us to show the value of what we do.

I agree 100% that dishonest shoppers hurt the industry.

@MFJohnston wrote:

If I agree to do a shop, I do it properly. I sure hope you don’t take any $5 shops. Shoppers who cut corners hurt all of us.

@Capurato wrote:

I would wager that probably 50% or more just gather employee descriptions and write up a good report. I know if I got paid $5 to do a shop I would do just that.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
I am happy with my ms earnings. They fund bank accounts. Anything more than that would be an embarrassment of riches. However, I wonder about something. I realize that we want to be helpful. But why does anyone think that it is our business to know what another shopper's needs are? Stated differently, when did we start thinking that anyone else's life had become our business? *goes away to ponder the concept of minding my own business*

We may pass violets looking for roses. We may pass contentment looking for victory. - Bernard Williams
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