On some shops I'll have to bring the paperwork with me into the shop.

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@johnb974 wrote:

Many times the guidelines tell you to do something that isn't required for the report. The company only cares about what's in the report, that is what they look at.

Wow. I cannot stress how inaccurate this is. The guidelines tell you what is required for the shop and what should be included in the report. Many reports are rejected for guidelines not being followed, even if those guidelines are not directly repeated on the questionnaire. I mean, that would be one long questionnaire...

(Mostly posting this for other thread-readers/newbies)

Happily shopping the Pacific Northwest. Shopping since 2013 and editing since 2018 smiling smiley
@RedRose22 wrote:

@johnb974 wrote:

Many times the guidelines tell you to do something that isn't required for the report. The company only cares about what's in the report, that is what they look at.

Wow. I cannot stress how inaccurate this is. The guidelines tell you what is required for the shop and what should be included in the report. Many reports are rejected for guidelines not being followed, even if those guidelines are not directly repeated on the questionnaire. I mean, that would be one long questionnaire...

(Mostly posting this for other thread-readers/newbies)

Sometimes the guidelines have you doing something that isn't in the report or even asked about in the report. The guidelines tell you not to ask an employee where the restrooms are. The report only ask about the condition of the restroom, NOT if you asked anyone. If I don't know where the restroom is, I'll always ask someone, I will not waste my time looking around. A restaurant guidelines says, not to ask for a doggie bag to take home left overs. There's no question on the report asking did you take home any food. I always take home food I don't eat. There's no reason to waste food, by not taking it home. I always take home leftovers.

By the way, not one company has EVER questioned me on these issues and I've been mystery shopping for over 5 years.

Do what you want, I'll stick to doing shops by what is required to finish the report.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 10/13/2019 10:05PM by johnb974.
I had been doing burger shops for one upscale chain, but could not eat all the food I ordered. I usually threw it in the trash, no big deal--I did not want to tote leftovers all over town.

One day as I was dumping a zillion fries and a half burger and half a drink in the trash, the manager appeared. He saw me, then walked over and asked if there was something wrong with the food, if there was anything he could do to fix it. Of course nothing was wrong (it was a rare perfect score that day), but the expression of pain on his face never left me. I lied and said I had pigged out at a party the night before and my eyes were now bigger than my stomach. That was years ago.

Since then I have carried a couple of small nested plastic container sets in my purse and a few zip bags whenever I go shopping in eateries. If there are substantial leftovers, I take them with me.
The Coyle shop guidelines explicitly tell you not to take the food home. I would not risk $200 for that. John, have you done that with Coyle?!? Or has anyone done that?
They give way too many fries. I can never eat them all. I personally don't find them to reheat very well and have plenty of other more appealing leftovers in my refrigerator to eat, anyway. I do try to finish my burger and usually succeed, as when I do these shops I try to make sure I am hungry (I won't do multiple food shops on the same day). I suppose it might be a good idea to at least take the leftovers with you and discard them in the trash elsewhere, though.
@Niner wrote:

The Coyle shop guidelines explicitly tell you not to take the food home. I would not risk $200 for that. John, have you done that with Coyle?!? Or has anyone done that?

No matter who I shop for I will take left overs home. I will not throw out food I like.
I doubt John does shops for Coyle, unless they are phone shops.

@Niner wrote:

The Coyle shop guidelines explicitly tell you not to take the food home. I would not risk $200 for that. John, have you done that with Coyle?!? Or has anyone done that?
@JASFLALMT wrote:

They give way too many fries. I can never eat them all. I personally don't find them to reheat very well and have plenty of other more appealing leftovers in my refrigerator to eat, anyway. I do try to finish my burger and usually succeed, as when I do these shops I try to make sure I am hungry (I won't do multiple food shops on the same day). I suppose it might be a good idea to at least take the leftovers with you and discard them in the trash elsewhere, though.

That's why you take a cheap plastic container. You can chuck the whole thing in the trash out of view of the staff. Or if you really like the food, you now have the makings of another meal.

BTW, when they use real, unadulterated potatoes for the fries, they make great hash browns when chopped up and cooked with sauteed onions the next day.
I could see how that works for some people, the hashbrowns idea. But I generally eat a yogurt and a piece of fruit for breakfast, if anything. A lot of people have found a way to repurpose the potatoes.

I don't need a reusable container to take stuff I am going to throw away out of the restaurant, though. If it's stuff that came in a paper bag I can put the food back in and take the bag, or if I am at a higher end sit-down restaurant I can get a to-go container and take them, then toss them at the nearest convenience store (which is usually a shop anyway).
@Niner wrote:

The Coyle shop guidelines explicitly tell you not to take the food home. I would not risk $200 for that. John, have you done that with Coyle?!? Or has anyone done that?

The upscale restaurants Coyle works with offer haute cuisines, where a little goes a long way. Rarely do they give one person so much food that you could have fed a small family on it, as many fast casual places still do.

Also Coyle requires two diners. They can (usually) coordinate their food orders so that the hungriest one can can order accordingly.
Agreed. I have never felt the need to take any boxes from a Coyle meal, not to mention, it's against the guidelines.
@Susan L. wrote:

@Niner wrote:

The Coyle shop guidelines explicitly tell you not to take the food home. I would not risk $200 for that. John, have you done that with Coyle?!? Or has anyone done that?

The upscale restaurants Coyle works with offer haute cuisines, where a little goes a long way. Rarely do they give one person so much food that you could have fed a small family on it, as many fast casual places still do.

Also Coyle requires two diners. They can (usually) coordinate their food orders so that the hungriest one can can order accordingly.

We waste so much food on Coyle shops. I have done about 60 of them. I wish we could bring the food home. That's why I like ACL and other MSC shops.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/14/2019 02:47AM by Niner.
@Niner the point of the 'no doggy bag' rule is somewhat left over from when there were no reimbursement limits...but it's about not making the client feel gouged. If they think you are ordering extra food to take home when the client is paying for the meal, it makes the evaluator seem less-than-professional.

While it may be possible to get away with breaking rules for a while, most shoppers who do eventually get caught. There are cameras everywhere these days and it's much easier for a manager to pinpoint the shopper from timings in the report than ever, so I would never risk my status with the MSC to save a little extra food.
@SteveSoCal wrote:

@Niner the point of the 'no doggy bag' rule is somewhat left over from when there were no reimbursement limits...but it's about not making the client feel gouged. If they think you are ordering extra food to take home when the client is paying for the meal, it makes the evaluator seem less-than-professional.

While it may be possible to get away with breaking rules for a while, most shoppers who do eventually get caught. There are cameras everywhere these days and it's much easier for a manager to pinpoint the shopper from timings in the report than ever, so I would never risk my status with the MSC to save a little extra food.

In the 5 years I've been shopping it has never been an issue. Not one MSC has complained.
@johnb974 wrote:

In the 5 years I've been shopping it has never been an issue. Not one MSC has complained.

John, I also broke the speed limit on the freeway yesterday and didn't get a ticket. It doesn't make it legal....
I wouldn't ignore any guidelines.
I was critisized by one MSC because I went through the grocery checkout ahead of my shopping cart. It is easier for me to unload my cart that way, but apparently it is wrong. I don't think it was in the guidelines.

That is the day it hit me that we really do live a lot of our lives being filmed. If I am told not to ask to take food home and I get filmed doing so, I am going to be caught. Not worth it to me.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/14/2019 03:10PM by prince.
@prince wrote:

I wouldn't ignore any guidelines.
I was critisized by one MSC because I went through the grocery checkout ahead of my shopping cart. It is easier for me to unload my cart that way, but apparently it is wrong. I don't think it was in the guidelines.

Now that is just dumb. That was a MSC making up their own rules. I always go in front of my cart, who cares? It has nothing to do with the shop. I would do it again anyways.
@SteveSoCal wrote:

@johnb974 wrote:

In the 5 years I've been shopping it has never been an issue. Not one MSC has complained.

John, I also broke the speed limit on the freeway yesterday and didn't get a ticket. It doesn't make it legal....

What I do on mystery shops is not illegal, big difference. I'm there to get the job done, that satisfies the report.
The MSC doesn't care, the client watched the video, I am assuming, because the cashier didn't notice the item under the cart. I was then told to push the cart ahead of me. Of course, I can do as I wish. They can refuse to pay me or keep me as a shopper.

@johnb974 wrote:

@prince wrote:

I wouldn't ignore any guidelines.
I was critisized by one MSC because I went through the grocery checkout ahead of my shopping cart. It is easier for me to unload my cart that way, but apparently it is wrong. I don't think it was in the guidelines.

Now that is just dumb. That was a MSC making up their own rules. I always go in front of my cart, who cares? It has nothing to do with the shop. I would do it again anyways.
Au contraire. You are there to complete the shop as contracted. If the instructions say do not take the food home, then you are breaking the contract. Breaking a contract is actionable. You could be taken to court. More likely, you will simply just be denied the fee and reimbursement. The fact that so far you have gotten away with taking food home with you when the rules say you should not do so is no guarantee that you won't be caught in the future. Advising others to violate the rules should be accompanied by a suitable disclaimer.
@johnb974 wrote:

@SteveSoCal wrote:

@johnb974 wrote:

In the 5 years I've been shopping it has never been an issue. Not one MSC has complained.

John, I also broke the speed limit on the freeway yesterday and didn't get a ticket. It doesn't make it legal....

What I do on mystery shops is not illegal, big difference. I'm there to get the job done, that satisfies the report.

Shopping Southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware above the canal, and southwestern NJ since 2008
Ignorance can be educated, and crazy can be medicated. You can't fix stupid. Arguing with this person is going to get you nowhere. This has gone on long enough. Stop giving him the attention he so obviously wants. Hopefully, new shoppers will read the entire post and take the advice of seasoned shoppers, however the longer this post gets, the less likely a new shopper is going to read every post and realize that this is not reasonable advice. Let it go so that it gets closed, and let's all move on!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/14/2019 09:18PM by ladymacleod.
@johnb974 wrote:

Well I'm done following this thread. You really need to get a life and stop searching threads that are 4 years old. It gets a little creepy.

I thought you were done following this thread.
@myst4au wrote:

Au contraire. You are there to complete the shop as contracted. If the instructions say do not take the food home, then you are breaking the contract. Breaking a contract is actionable. You could be taken to court. More likely, you will simply just be denied the fee and reimbursement. The fact that so far you have gotten away with taking food home with you when the rules say you should not do so is no guarantee that you won't be caught in the future. Advising others to violate the rules should be accompanied by a suitable disclaimer.

OH PLEASE, taken to court? This is just fear mongering. LOL
@kenasch wrote:

@johnb974 wrote:

Well I'm done following this thread. You really need to get a life and stop searching threads that are 4 years old. It gets a little creepy.

I thought you were done following this thread.

Some of the comments on here are just too funny to ignore. Like being taken to court or being told to stand behind the grocery cart.
@JASFLALMT wrote:

They give way too many fries. I can never eat them all. I personally don't find them to reheat very well and have plenty of other more appealing leftovers in my refrigerator to eat, anyway. I do try to finish my burger and usually succeed, as when I do these shops I try to make sure I am hungry (I won't do multiple food shops on the same day). I suppose it might be a good idea to at least take the leftovers with you and discard them in the trash elsewhere, though.
I used to not take fries home with me because they don't reheat well. However, my brother told me that he feeds his local wildlife with them. The squirrels, in particular, love them!
@ladymacleod wrote:

Ignorance can be educated, and crazy can be medicated. You can't fix stupid. Arguing with this person is going to get you nowhere. This has gone on long enough. Stop giving him the attention he so obviously wants. Hopefully, new shoppers will read the entire post and take the advice of seasoned shoppers, however the longer this post gets, the less likely a new shopper is going to read every post and realize that this is not reasonable advice. Let it go so that it gets closed, and let's all move on!
Interesting that someone is advocating not following the instructions (taking paperwork into the shop despite being expressly told not to) because there is so much to remember. Methinks that there is so much to remember is because some shoppers have taken it upon themselves to do as they see fit, thereby necessitating a lot more instructions most of which seem self-explanatory, in order to prevent things being done that should not be done (and the client does not wish to be done), and that require additional instructions, pictures, questions, etc. I hope no one wonders any longer why some MSCs have a "zero tolerance" policy for errors, missed pictures, etc. Quite an arrogant attitude on their part! Hmmmm....

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/15/2019 12:28AM by KarenMSW.
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