Is anyone seeing shops taken "early" or before they regularly post to boards in your area?

I'm not sure if this is a trend yet, but for a few MSCs that I liked to do shops for, ALL the shops are gone and taken. You can see they're taken already for these MSC boards. Not sure if I'm getting scooped by the "early bird" or if people are contacting the schedulers to lock them up pre-board posting.....

I know when shops usually post and have a print-out of release dates (which I check), so if they're scooping me, then they are definitely SUPER disciplined and major early birds hawking the boards. smiling smiley I'd like to think I was an early bird in the past, but recently it's weird. I'm not just getting scooped it feels on some jobs, but like nearly all the ones I want (I've squeaked out a few thankfully...but only about 15% of what I'd normally do/get, I think).

I feel like in the past, you'd have a few days, at least, in my area to add shops. Not the past few months. They're all gone that same day it feels like.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/06/2019 07:03PM by shoptastic.

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If they're already gone how can we see them?

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
Like shoptastic mentioned some of the msc have filled shops posted and give you a chance to be a back up shopper on them. And the msc that do not post the filled shops you can often tell your location is gone because you see other locations still listed as open on a shop you know is always done monthly at the location you like.
I do know of at least a few msc that I deal with that will fill some shops before they are posted and I have seen a few route posters on the forum who have said they sometimes get a route set up for them way in advance. It all depends on the company and the relationship you have with a scheduler. I have only once or twice requested a shop in advance myself but when I have it was because it was a shop I really liked to do once a year or so but it got scooped up too early for me every month.
@bgriffin wrote:

If they're already gone how can we see them?

Trend Source, Jancyn, Quest for Best, etc. all show the shops are taken by others.
@sandyf wrote:

Like shoptastic mentioned some of the msc have filled shops posted and give you a chance to be a back up shopper on them. And the msc that do not post the filled shops you can often tell your location is gone because you see other locations still listed as open on a shop you know is always done monthly at the location you like.
I do know of at least a few msc that I deal with that will fill some shops before they are posted and I have seen a few route posters on the forum who have said they sometimes get a route set up for them way in advance. It all depends on the company and the relationship you have with a scheduler. I have only once or twice requested a shop in advance myself but when I have it was because it was a shop I really liked to do once a year or so but it got scooped up too early for me every month.

QUESTION: Is advanced scheduling unethical?

I rarely ask for advanced scheduling unless the scheduler encourages it or it's a rare/unique situation (and I've felt guilt afterwards). I don't want to step on other shoppers' shoes unfairly. It's like why should I be allowed to get all these nice routes for myself before others even have a chance at it? But, then, if others are doing it, it leaves only the disjointed crappy shops left.

Does that mean everyone should try to advanced schedule?

I can't build routes anymore. People are taking everything the same day they usually release. I don't even know if they are released. It just sometimes seems someone hooked up with a scheduler and secured all the shops. sad smiley

In that case, how decides who gets the awesome routes/shops? The scheduler picks a favorite person and/or best bid? It's first-come, first-serve for the scheduler doing advanced scheduling? Some combination of these and/or other factors?

If there IS some sort of scheduler favoritism, then is it possible that no one ever gets the good shops other than the favored shopper all the time? How can someone "build a relationship" with a scheduler and get good shops if there is someone else who's been doing that for years?

We need a forum discussion on advanced scheduling ethics. smiling smiley I remember someone saying previously that MSCs don't say YOU CAN'T ask for advanced scheduling. So, there's nothing wrong with it presumably in that case.

My feeling is MSCs don't care much about who does what, as long as it gets done (preferably at the lowest rate) and done right. Is that the way it works?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/06/2019 09:29PM by shoptastic.
What happens if you have:

Super Shopper 1 who wants Route ABC
vs.
Super Shopper 2 who wants Route ABC too. grinning smiley

Both ask for advanced scheduling. Who gets it? Does the scheduler rotate to keep both parties happy as best as possible, so as to not have one drop out of ms-ing and not have a back-up in future shops if one of the Super Shoppers is sick or no longer working?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/06/2019 09:34PM by shoptastic.
It's business. It's not stepping on toes at all. If someone more experienced gets more shops than I do, no big deal to me, that's the way it is.

I do a lot of advanced scheduling. There are no other super shoppers in my area, apparently. Other shoppers do know that the shops I complete regularly do exist because when I go on vacation they get to do them. I have been with my MSCs for nearly 2 decades. One day I will either retire or not want do these shops for some other reason, and if those other shoppers are still around, they will get to do them. The unfortunate reality is that when I have gone out of town and been unable to complete my normal route, other shoppers don't do them on time, screw them up, flake completely, etc. A lot of time I come home from a nice relaxing vacation and have to go into emergency cleanup to fix all of that for my MSCs. My schedulers are soooooo happy when I come back home!!!!
Yes. Especially the "done right" part.

@shoptastic wrote:

My feeling is MSCs don't care much about who does what, as long as it gets done (preferably at the lowest rate) and done right. Is that the way it works?
Apparently I forgot to use the sarcastafont.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
Also it appears someone bought a new keyboard today

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

I haven't done anything for any of those MSCs in the longest time.

Person to Person had some good phone shops for $10 or so.

They also use the Prophet software or whatever it's called that shows when shops are taken by others. All the MSCs on Prophet show and a handful of over MSCs too.
My response is from someone who does not do routes. And the few times I requested a shop in advance it very well could have been, and was, a shop I happen to like but as evidenced on this forum, not very many others liked. I might have asked because I wanted to do a specific location or date. This business is just like many others...sometimes the early bird gets the worm and sometimes the worm goes to the highest bidder and that might be due to high professionalism, friendliness, high reliability and high responsibility or any number of things including just outright asking. There are no ethics about whether one can contact a scheduler and ask.
I am not sure what and why you are proposing "ethics". Is it ethical in the brick and mortar world of jobs to study up on a business before going to an interview or is it ethical to send a nice thank you note to the interviewer? Sometimes those that do these things have a better chance of getting the job. I would just consider them well prepared, smart about job interviewing and maybe take some clues from them for the future. You have to strike a balance in your aggressiveness or assertiveness and back off when you feel it is necessary. It is up to you.
@sandyf wrote:

There are no ethics about whether one can contact a scheduler and ask.
I am not sure what and why you are proposing "ethics". Is it ethical in the brick and mortar world of jobs to study up on a business before going to an interview or is it ethical to send a nice thank you note to the interviewer? Sometimes those that do these things have a better chance of getting the job. I would just consider them well prepared, smart about job interviewing and maybe take some clues from them for the future. You have to strike a balance in your aggressiveness or assertiveness and back off when you feel it is necessary. It is up to you.

I think my concern was that if everyone is waiting for jobs to post on the boards to apply for them on a first-come, first-serve basis, then it'd feel like jumping in line of others to ask for a shop in advance. That's all. I personally find this to be a naturally occurring ethical (or maybe etiquette) question related to ms-ing.

(Btw, my "QUESTION" was not directed at you specifically, sandyf. Just was convenient to post it then, as it came to mind...but not intended to imply anything about you or even be directed towards you. It was a general question to the entire thread!)

There was a conversation like this in another thread years back. Someone, as I said, did mention that MSCs don't prohibit you from asking. That's true. I hadn't thought of that before that poster said it. I think I assumed others would just wait for release dates like I did too and try to compete for jobs then. I figure, sure, if I or others do good work, then perhaps a scheduler might try to contact one of us to do more specialized jobs or offer bonuses, etc. But the baseline process, I thought, for getting ms work was waiting for the shops to be released and adding them then.

There was just no indication from MSCs that we could contact them to schedule shops in advance and that this was encouraged. I only found out about that when reading the forum here.
I have shops scheduled months in advance. If there is something that I want, I just call, text or email.

To say that is unethical is laughable.
@shoptastic wrote:

@sandyf wrote:


(Btw, my "QUESTION" was not directed at you specifically, sandyf. Just was convenient to post it then, as it came to mind...but not intended to imply anything about you or even be directed towards you. It was a general question to the entire thread!)

No I did not think you were directing it at me. No apology necessary but thanks anyway. Just thought I would put in my 25 cents worth on the topic since you asked. As a late riser and living in California where late is even later for jobs that post at 4 am east coast time I do miss many a good job by not waking early each day! I have only asked, as I said, occasionally and not for routine jobs but for one which disappeared quickly and I really wanted that particular job. And also had a past history with the scheduler.
I feel no guilt. If I have a relationship with a scheduler and we negotiate a rate to fit their needs, I will take the work. I don't get how that is unfair. Unscheduled jobs go on the board. If you want in early, make an offer on the projects you want.

That said, I don't underbid. I will take some out-of-the-way spots that might usually get bonused in order to secure the entire route at a rate that suits me. If I am given the full project term to complete the shops, I can still get bonuses from other companies who need shops done in that area. Or I will lose a little money at the end to fulfill my part of the agreement.

Maybe I shouldn't share this strategy? But I think it is pretty rare for anyone to commit in such a big way. If you feel inspired to compete with me, I will be sure to adapt.
There's nothing sneaky, sketchy, or greedy about asking for a shop. The scheduler can always say, "no", or tell you what you have to do to be granted the shop. I want to see unavailable shops, so I know what to strive for and it also gives me a sense of other shoppers in the area. Not that I'm a shop warrior, or anything.
I just read your post where you said you'd turned off your e-mail notifications from MSCs.

Those shoppers who "scoop" the shops are receiving those e-mails and acting on them.

Much Ado About Nothing.
@Monk-N-Nut wrote:

There's nothing sneaky, sketchy, or greedy about asking for a shop. The scheduler can always say, "no", or tell you what you have to do to be granted the shop. I want to see unavailable shops, so I know what to strive for and it also gives me a sense of other shoppers in the area. Not that I'm a shop warrior, or anything.

I've said this before, but I wish MSCs would state this openly for shoppers (that we can advance schedule). I think a lot of people may not know.

Also, it would probably save some people time too. For example, if a new shopper joins and thinks that MSCs offer shops only on certain release dates on the board to be take at first-come, first-serve, then he or she may end up wasting a lot of time waiting for what may never come (taken by others already). That's lost time.

I, too, like the ability to see other taken shops. Although, I could maybe see how an MSC may not want that info. out there as well. *shrug*

ETA: I noticed MFI having a sticky note/update thing now that says we can bid on shops via the Help Desk if we don't like the board price. That's very helpful!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/08/2019 02:50PM by shoptastic.
@ceasesmith wrote:

I just read your post where you said you'd turned off your e-mail notifications from MSCs.

Those shoppers who "scoop" the shops are receiving those e-mails and acting on them.

Much Ado About Nothing.

I do have those MSCs on "yes."

It's true, that 130 of the 140 companies I'm registered with are off email notification. But, as I said in that post, 10 or so are "on." The ones I like or want to know about, I have as on. Trend Source being one of them.

I'll monitor this going forward. I'm too lazy right now to double-check all previous emails to make sure I didn't miss one that DID list those shops! grinning smiley Too tedious to check, but I'm good with monitoring more closely going forward.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/08/2019 02:58PM by shoptastic.
You are unbelievable. Either step up your game and get and delete the emails like those of us who are playing for real, or stop the whining. How do you think we get these shops? The early bird gets the worm, buddy. No one owes you any notice or hand wringing about "fair".
No matter what Bernie says no one gets anything handed to them in life.

I enjoy awkward questions and uncomfortable silences. This gas station pavement is $%^@*#& hot.
Hey there @Shoptastic - I don't know if you've ever noticed, some of the emails from schedulers say something to the effect, "If you don't see a particular location.....". Well, in the course of asking, a scheduler might say something like, "The shop is filled for this month, shall I schedule you for September". Or they might tell me what day of the month shops are released. It comes out organically. I've been scheduled ahead of time for a number of shops and it's usually because I was proactive in some way. Other than that, I'm just a regular shopper - not a road warrior, not a mega shopster...
Nothing wrong. Those shoppers took the initiative to ask and likely have built a good relationship with the scheduler/MSC. Some schedulers send lists of shops to a smaller group of shoppers before the jobs get posted to the job board. CSE reserves their airport shop routes for me months in advance. Other schedulers automatically assign shops each month for the shopper. A scheduler at Ipsos automatically assigns the phone shops to a small group of shoppers.
@azncollege wrote:

Nothing wrong. Those shoppers took the initiative to ask and likely have built a good relationship with the scheduler/MSC. Some schedulers send lists of shops to a smaller group of shoppers before the jobs get posted to the job board. CSE reserves their airport shop routes for me months in advance. Other schedulers automatically assign shops each month for the shopper. A scheduler at Ipsos automatically assigns the phone shops to a small group of shoppers.

I've had a scheduler offer me shops in advance.

I guess I sort of saw that as different. They have the authority to do that and I was just responding, I thought. For me, it think it felt weird and different to be the initiator. I worried I'd be jumping other shoppers unfairly and wondered why should I be able to just ask for shops earlier than everyone else?

Yeah, I'm not saying it's wrong. Just how I thought at the time.

I guess it would feel more "right" if MSCs just made it plain that this is fine and everyone knew about it. I could also imagine someone thinking to ask, but not doing so for fear of jumping others in line. In that case, it wouldn't be about initiative or knowing, but more about whether the person thought it was okay to do.
How far do you think this might be encouraged?

Would asking for two...three months advanced scheduling be okay? Would asking for ALL the shops be okay, lol? grinning smiley
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