Editing is a thankless job - ask me anything

ShopperFun99!
Thank you for sharing!! I forgot to say. Your story helped me because it's happened to me too. I totally appreciate your honesty. Because I think that it's important for shoppers to see all sides of this type of work. It's odd that many of them don't like to communicate and explain how they want the paperwork filled out and many times you give them TONS of info and extra questions but they act like that's not enough. So I hear your complaint and it's as if you can feel stuck. It's great to talk about it and get it out of our systems. Also it helps us to learn more about the things they will do to try to get out of paying the full amount.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/30/2019 10:32PM by scorpionshar777.

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What do you mean bad report? What do you mean Bad Shoppers? Anyone can be a bad shopper or good shopper it's all relative and it's all opinions. However, if you can explain in more details then we will know more what you're talking about and looking for. Afterall, there is no real way to prove you are a real editor, shopper, or someone in here just trying to figure it all out and report back to someone. However, if you can elaborate then we as mystery shoppers can understand how to improve our shop game and also save time. Time is money and most of us are not doing this for fun or to pass the time. We're doing it to pay off some student loans, pay bills, buy gas, car insurance, take vacations, LIP, Botox, or just to buy some AVON who knows whatever is important to people in here. Help us to understand how to improve. It's easy to cut shoppers down but when you diss one you diss us all. Nobody is perfect. We're all on a curve and there was no real training if we're too polished nobody will believe we're mystery shoppers. So please What exactly do you mean. What is the criteria to be a so called Bad Shopper? Good Shopper?
@Shop-et-al wrote:

@LisaSTL wrote:

@Shop-et-al wrote:

Because someone on the internet said that I would be silly and unethical if I did not ask for more money.

No, you said it was unethical to ask for more. I don't know about where you live but here professionals are not in the habit of discounting their fees because the client lives in the same zip code. If you want to value yourself at $5 for 2 hours and I want to value myself at $50 an hour it doesn't make you ethical and me greedy.

This is the basic equation: how much does it cost to complete the shop? The monetary value that you place upon yourself is not necessarily what it costs you to do the shop. It is only what you have decided that you should get for doing the shop. How difficult or time-consuming a shop is depends upon how a shopper configures their schedule and their experience or natural ability to do things. What is easy and therefore might as well be considered as negligible for one shopper might be very difficult for another shopper. This is not an unfavorable comparison of shoppers; it is only an example of how each shopper is unique. The price that a shopper puts upon their own head is just an ego talking unless and until the shopper can back up the numbers with something substantive such as mileage, wear and tear for vehicle or self, un-reimbursed hotel stays, some number and cost of un-reimbursed meals, fuel, and other costs that are unique to a shopper. This is a murky area of mystery shopping that has not been well expressed by me or even by the more talented writers on the forum.

If I were a mercenary soul, I would be compelled to charge a ridiculous sum for "me" based upon experiences, skills, education, etc. That would be absurd because the money would not be commensurate with my experienced difficulty of the shops that I can access and have time to complete. As long as I receive enough money to cover the costs of my mystery shopping endeavors and have a little somethin' somethin' for myself, I have enough. YMMV.

Do you not realize that on the other end of this business the MSC's are doing everything they can to pay you less? I've been in this business only a couple years and in that short time I've seen shop fees fall lower and lower. That's not even considering inflation accounting for ~2.1% pay cut every year.

The MSC's are not your friends they are in business for themselves, as is everyone else. The entire business model relies on MSC's "middle-manning" shoppers. The less they pay you the more they pocket for themselves. The less the client pays you the more they can dole out in bonuses to managers and value for shareholders. The MSC's and clients are not behaving unethically; it's just the nature of business. Nobody here is running a charity.

You might consider me unethical but, with all due respect, I view your statements as naive and foolish (I'm sorry if I sound harsh I sincerely don't mean any offense). I'm a full time student who depends on this job for my livelihood. I'm going to squeeze every dollar out of this I possibly can. The $300 bonuses for the shops "down the street" hardly make up for the insecurity, headache, and sometimes dangerous situations that come with this job.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/31/2019 06:09AM by Jbrz123.
I fail to understand one thing, for peanut money, the companies want excellent report and queen's English. Stop nit picking on the English, not everyone will have a fluent English. If the shopper is good and you got all the required info. Move on... cant believe the perfect English fuss these companies do. The pay is peanuts and they want audits to be done like real auditors?
@Jbrz123: Let's get real here. I am a pretty good shopper, have a few stellar moments in the mystery shopping (and a few learning experiences), and have oodles of education and experience which sometimes give me a little something ineffable and good for mystery shopping. If I were paid according to years of cumulative life learning and experience, education, degrees, totality of work experience, relevance of selected work experience, working while injured and exhausted, etc., no one could afford to pay me what those factors have been worth in the marketplace (when people have used to justify pay increases). Then where would I be?

I derive most of my revenue from other streams. I get enough from the little mystery shopping that I perform. People who rely upon mystery shopping revenue must earn more than I do in order to satisfy their income needs. They must interact differently with MSCs than I do. If they did not, they would not survive.

I am not them. They are not me.

MSCs can do what they want. Other shoppers perform substantially more work for them than I do. Those shoppers can work out their own deals according to their situations. I won't interfere with them.

Some of the days in November carry the whole memory of summer as a fire opal carries the color of moon rise. - Gladys Taber


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/31/2019 10:36PM by Shop-et-al.
I see 15 to 25 bonus max. But I just started the last week of April 2019. But I learned a lot in month.
Who's saying ACL gives out great bonuses? I started asking for bonuses, but the best they ever did was $5, even at the end of the month, today. Those who get more than that, what states or region are you in?
Question:
When a shopper uploads several photos of the same thing from different angles, do all the photos get sent to the client?
I saw the $15 to 20 bonus on Ellis. This week they seem to be sharing bonus $$ I think the person edited the $300 out of the original post but you can still see it when someone replied. I don't think they will inform us of the $300 bonus money.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/02/2019 10:09PM by scorpionshar777.
@scorpionshar777 wrote:

I saw the $15 to 20 bonus on Ellis. This week they seem to be sharing bonus $$ I think the person edited the $300 out of the original post but you can still see it when someone replied. I don't think they will inform us of the $300 bonus money.

I was called by a scheduler about three years ago asking me to visit a station down the street from me. I could tell by the tone in their voice they were desperate to get the shop filled. Scheduler told me the shop needed to be done weeks ago and asked me how much I wanted for it. To be honest, I made up a story saying I was on vacation four hours away and wanted $450 to complete it. I didn't expect the scheduler to actually accept $450 but I wanted to see how high they would go. Scheduler told me they would write up my offer and get back to me. Fifteen minutes later the scheduler calls telling me the most they could do is $300 if I could complete it the same day. I waited four hours and then completed the shop.

I've had other similar stories with routes of shops. Basically, if you agree to complete all of a particular shop in a given area (NYC for example) you can request large amounts of money. Some MSC's are happy to get them off their plate. I've been able to get large bonuses by telling the scheduler I'd take almost every one of their clients shops in say NJ, CT, NYC, Long Island, Philadelphia, etc and have them finished by the end of the week.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/03/2019 03:46AM by Jbrz123.
@Jbrz123 wrote:

To be honest, I made up a story saying I was on vacation four hours away and wanted $450 to complete it.
oxymoron

Why not simply say that it was not in your plans, but you could do it for $450? They don't care about the reason and you sold your integrity cheaply.

Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.

(Yes, I stole Hoju's tagline.)
I’m an editor and only get paid $4 or less per edited report.

At first, I felt that I had a learning curve and the money was certainly not worth it. I got better, it became worth it, then it seemed like I just continued to get reports that needed a lot of help (random-assigned).

Sometimes, I have to send a report back twice because though my instructions were explicit in what was missing, the request was ignored. Some shops I have spent well over 40 minutes on if you count the initial edit, my record-keeping to follow up, the follow up, the note to my higher up, and the list goes on. The frustration is real. I’ll be quitting soon.

The end clients are unreasonable to think that they can get editors to put absolutely every sentence in a full sentence format, check for all the duplicitous questions to make sure everything agrees (how many times do shoppers write, “Again, I said ...”, and be willing to stick with it getting paid less than peanuts. I imagine burnout is real and turnover is frequent.

There may be too many middle men in the picture and I’m at the bottom rung, but things even get missed on our end b/c we are trying to do them fast enough to make it worth our while to do them at all. It’s been interesting, though seeing how things are from this side and I think, has made me a better shopper.

If an editor has to read and re-read and double check receipts while editing, that is a huge time sucker. I am convinced that about 25% or more of the shoppers never re-read their report after typing it. Whatever gets keyed in at first is what gets submitted.
I'm a professional copy writer/editor/proofreader, and I'd never be an editor for mystery shopping! I've looked into it a couple of times when I've seen ads from MSCs looking for editors, and I think the position is underpaid and overly stressful. To those of you who have been doing it for a long time, kudos to you for sticking with it; I don't know how you do it. I respect those of you who know what you're doing, are thoughtful in your corrections and feedback, and will re-visit a disagreement if warranted.

The other side of that, though, is that some editors just aren't competent. I had an editor, for example, change a correct plural possessive to a singular possessive, even though the question was clear as to multiple competitors. I've had editors mark me down for not capitalizing nouns that aren't supposed to be capitalized. Everybody seems to think that anything they deem important and every job title should be capitalized. I've finally had to grit my teeth and capitalize "salesperson" and "representative" for some MSCs, even though it's incorrect. Whoever is writing the guidelines doesn't know proper capitalization, or the MSCs and/or their clients don't know.

I had an editor claim I didn't answer some questions in a report, but I had. I had to re-send sections of the report, as originally written, to prove I'd answered them. Other shoppers here have commented on that same issue.

I'm positive that many of the frustrations encountered by shoppers and editors alike are directly traceable to poorly written instructions and surveys. We (editors and shoppers) get caught in the middle. I'm sure, too, that editors are usually facing nearly impossible deadlines.

Although I'm appalled at the poor grammar, incorrect spelling and punctuation, and vague and contradictory guidelines often given to us, I think shoppers are obligated to make sure their reports are as free of such mistakes as possible. I'm aghast at the attitude toward correct writing and the expectation of some shoppers that they should be given a pass on that as long as the report contains the required information. "Well, you know what I mean" may be good enough for Facebook, texts to friends, and other informal communication, but it's not professional to have that mindset when writing a report. Nobody expects perfection, but why should an editor have to correct basic things you should have either written correctly to begin with or should have picked up as you were proofreading your work? And, yes, you still do have to proofread; spell-check, auto-correct, and auto-fill are often wrong and can't replace manual proofreading.

Accuracy matters. End of rant.

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 experience, the editor has no choice in the matter regarding what they ding/don’t ding and what is acceptable/not acceptable. I always just correct what I can and do not send back and forth for capitalization or minor grammar. I did send back a whole report that was done in all caps because I would have had to retype the whole thing. I send back if I can’t tell from the receipt what time someone arrived/departed and I send back for incomplete information very confusing narrative or when the narrative doesn’t match the radio buttons more than a couple of times.

The problems lie with the fact that the client has the end say (they are the ones paying for it) and if they think that reading reams of paragraphs instead of bulleted answers is easier, well, I guess that’s their prerogative. Sometimes, there is a different company editing and a different company scheduling. Templates are formed for surveys and cannot often be changed mid month. Or, they require client approval and it isn’t “worth” going back for.

So, one of our surveys has Manager as capitalized within a question and the question itself is not a full sentence. Yet, the client expects the shopper to not mimic that but to write out full sentences for every little question. To top off, they answer in the radio buttons and then have to include all of that over again in the text box.

These little things bug me and take up more time on a report than you would think. It all adds up and there is a high level of frustration. I want to do a good job and want to give my shoppers good feedback as a training tool so that eventually, it will all be a breeze.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/30/2019 11:34PM by wanderer.
I should add that, as a general rule, I doubt any of us are paid what we're truly worth in the open market. But when we choose to do this, either full time or as a side gig, I don't think we should do a sloppy job on purpose because we don't think the job fee warrants a good job. I'm not going to go "above and beyond" requirements on a job that doesn't pay as well as some others, but I'm going to write a good report, as free of errors as I can make it, and be thorough. I've stopped taking low-fee jobs for exactly that reason. I can't make myself do a barely adequate job, so I don't take jobs that I feel don't compensate fairly. That's just me, of course, but I'd like to think MSCs would eventually pay more if they got more. Maybe not overall, but they'd pay more to their better shoppers.

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.
But don't you ever ask for more? If there's a job that you want to do but the fee is less than you feel it's worth, you can always ask for more. You may get that bonus before it's advertised. I've asked for bonuses on jobs I know are worth more than base fee. Sometimes I get them and do the job. Sometimes I don't, and I don't do the job.

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.
When I was an editor (with two separate MSCs), if the shop report had all of the necessary information, it was not sent back for further clarification. I edited what I needed to do and moved on, although I did make a vague and generalized comment about grammar/spelling...I certainly never harped on it. Those companies paid a pretty nice reimbursement/fee, so I wouldn't call it peanuts.

@Kol16 wrote:

I fail to understand one thing, for peanut money, the companies want excellent report and queen's English. Stop nit picking on the English, not everyone will have a fluent English. If the shopper is good and you got all the required info. Move on... cant believe the perfect English fuss these companies do. The pay is peanuts and they want audits to be done like real auditors?
@JASFLALMT wrote:

When I was an editor (with two separate MSCs), if the shop report had all of the necessary information, it was not sent back for further clarification. I edited what I needed to do and moved on, although I did make a vague and generalized comment about grammar/spelling...I certainly never harped on it.

You would be the kind of editor I would enjoy having edit my work! smiling smiley And if I'd made some grammar or spelling errors, I'd want to be told, as long as I wasn't being "scolded" as if I were a kid and/or didn't know better. We all make mistakes.

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

But if a shopper performs at higher than a $10/shop level, said shopper should, in my opinion, either ask for a bonus or turn down the job.

Not realistic. If shoppers turn down jobs because they think they deserve to be paid more based on experience and ability, they might end up with no income at the end of the month.
@JASFLALMT wrote:

I edited what I needed to do and moved on, although I did make a vague and generalized comment about grammar/spelling...I certainly never harped on it. ]

This is part of the problem. ‘Vague and generalized’ comments are no good to man nor beast. In most jobs there is some kind of ongoing training. Ideally, editors should be giving feedback to shoppers on how to improve their reports so they don’t continually turn in the same old garbage report after report. Editor’s slapdash attitudes to feedback is part of the problem in the field of MS.
Most shoppers (like BirdyC) I would just have thanked and honestly, I doubt I would have to change a word.

At $5 a report, after already spending an hour rewriting a report, I don't have another 30 minutes explaining the 25 errors that were in their report, especially when I know that they probably aren't going to learn from it. I don't feel like writing a book. Most editors are not paid by the hour, they are paid by the report. It sucks, but don't blame the editors for crappy payment from MSCs and not being able to "train" shoppers who write crappy reports.

@Book wrote:

@JASFLALMT wrote:

I edited what I needed to do and moved on, although I did make a vague and generalized comment about grammar/spelling...I certainly never harped on it. ]

This is part of the problem. ‘Vague and generalized’ comments are no good to man nor beast. In most jobs there is some kind of ongoing training. Ideally, editors should be giving feedback to shoppers on how to improve their reports so they don’t continually turn in the same old garbage report after report. Editor’s slapdash attitudes to feedback is part of the problem in the field of MS.
I think (some) shoppers enter this field to beat or (cheat) the system. They may have heard it was "easy" to shop and their unscrupulous friends showed them how to fake a shop.

That is why you have wonderful honest shoppers who are dedicated to this profession and you have weak shoppers, who turn in sloppy reports, no receipts, names wrong, descriptions wrong, time's wrong and expect to be paid.

Then you have the low bottom of the barrel shoppers who never do the shops at all, fabricate their reports and have gotten away with it to some degree. Those bottom barrel shoppers are reported to other schedulers and the "notice" is out that they are cheaters.

I would like schedulers and editors to focus mainly on the good honest shoppers. They have your back. The bad apples will fall off the tree and rot away.... The good shoppers will always produce for you and shape the industry smiling smiley
@JASFLALMT wrote:

Most shoppers (like BirdyC) I would just have thanked and honestly, I doubt I would have to change a word.

At $5 a report, after already spending an hour rewriting a report, I don't have another 30 minutes explaining the 25 errors that were in their report, especially when I know that they probably aren't going to learn from it. I don't feel like writing a book. Most editors are not paid by the hour, they are paid by the report. It sucks, but don't blame the editors for crappy payment from MSCs and not being able to "train" shoppers who write crappy

OK. The MS firms need to change their payment system for editors then. It seems like editing reports is almost like a conveyer belt in a factory.
@SunnyDays2 wrote:

I think (some) shoppers enter this field to beat or (cheat) the system. They may have heard it was "easy" to shop and their unscrupulous friends showed them how to fake a shop.

That is why you have wonderful honest shoppers who are dedicated to this profession and you have weak shoppers, who turn in sloppy reports, no receipts, names wrong, descriptions wrong, time's wrong and expect to be paid.

Then you have the low bottom of the barrel shoppers who never do the shops at all, fabricate their reports and have gotten away with it to some degree. Those bottom barrel shoppers are reported to other schedulers and the "notice" is out that they are

It is quite shocking what you wrote. Do you have any evidence to support your claims?

I guess the bad eggs will eventually trip themselves up but they devalue the work of the honest shoppers. The good guys might be put under suspicion because of the bad eggs. Yeah! Quite shocking all round!
Hence the title of this thread, "editing is a thankless job"..I'll never do it again. And MSCs won't change. They will always find someone else to do them. There is a high turnover in that position, for sure. The best candidates are those who are stay-at-hone moms with young children, people with no cars or other means of transportation, those with physical limitations, etc. Now there ar some MSCs who have in-house editors. They are the lucky ones.
@Book wrote:

@BirdyC wrote:

But if a shopper performs at higher than a $10/shop level, said shopper should, in my opinion, either ask for a bonus or turn down the job.

Not realistic. If shoppers turn down jobs because they think they deserve to be paid more based on experience and ability, they might end up with no income at the end of the month.

What's not realistic about asking for a bonus? Never any harm in asking. If you're turned down, then the decision is one of what best meets the shopper's needs or wants. Generally, my opinion is that a good shopper should turn down the job if he or she feels the job is worth more in and of itself or worth more because of his/her skills. But if the shopper needs the base fee, regardless of the "worth" question, then the shopper should take the job. But regardless of fee, do the best job he/she can and not complain about the fee, unless it ends up being far more complex and time consuming than represented by the MSC. I'm sure we've all that that happen! That "fun, easy shop" with "almost no narrative" becomes hell once you've accepted it (those vague and contradictory guidelines, narrative boxes that pop up unexpectedly, etc.). Definitely complain-worthy.

I think most shoppers here are really great about taking shops that meet their needs and realize that we all accept shops voluntarily.

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 08/31/2019 05:07PM by BirdyC.
Exactly. I have a set of “canned” responses based on the typical mistakes I run across and change them up as needed. If the client wants all sentences to begin with A, An, The, or whatever, I specify that. My goal/hope is that other editors do that as well and eventually, the shoppers begin to do this on their own. Also, I have to nearly always put in ending punctuation. If I have to do that, I mention it. I’m just trying to make my life easier in the long run. That is, until I quit doing this ...
When I first started editing, I really did try to gently educate shoppers by explaining what their mistakes were, even though I was not getting paid any extra for doing that. You know what? About 10% of them thanked me and used my guidance constructively. Then there were the 30% who got angry and defensive, even though I was nice as I could possibly be about it. There are many people who hate being wrong and get very argumentative. I had some of them write the schedulers who contacted the managing editor, who is the one that told me to stop being specific. Then of course there were others who probably didn't even read my emails, and some of them still kept turning in crappy reports.
@BirdyC wrote:

What's not realistic about asking for a bonus? Never any harm in asking. If you're turned down, then the decision is one of what best meets the shopper's needs or wants. Generally, my opinion is that a good shopper should turn down the job if he or she feels the job is worth more in and of itself or worth more because of his/her skills.

As recently indicated by a scheduler in another thread, many assignments get 5 or 6 people applying for them. Do you expect them to give the assignment to someone asking for a $10 bonus or one of the other 5 guys?

Asking for bonuses is feasible in only a small percentage of assignments. If you live in a market with few rival shoppers you have more bonus opportunities. Or if you don’t mind doing unpopular assignments which nobody else wants to do.

Some people don’t have the luxury of turning down work. They have a choice - do the shop at the advertised rate or not at all. I guess you are a part time shopper so you can easily refuse work. The reality is that full time shoppers have less scope for rejecting work even if they believe that the assignment warrants a higher fee.
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