Who is doing the cell phone shops for $6.00? It has to stop........

Intelli-shop deactivated my account because I cancelled a shop last minute. Up til then I had done 24 (!) overnight hotel shops quite successfully for them. Go figure.

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PAD is an acronym for "Pre-Authorized Distance" and is used by a single MSC. In my own thinking, PAD is the inducement required to make me want to perform the assignment. For me, it is based upon distance, driving time, time on-site, and time to report.
@big_sky_thunder wrote:

What is PAD pay?

Shopping Southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware above the canal, and southwestern NJ since 2008
@Navydoc wrote:

If you are doing $4 and $6 shops, you are actually losing money just on gas alone!

Maybe not on gas, but on full "mileage" (which you may have meant).

The IRS has an annual business mileage deduction that takes an "average" car in the U.S. and calculates how much it costs to drive it per mile, which includes:

auto insurance
maintenance and repairs
vehicle depreciation
gasoline

When you factor all of that in, it's been about $.50 a mile ($1 round-trip) for the past few years. I think last year was $.58/mile.

I didn't know this the first 6 months of ms-ing and lost a lot of money. Although, I can also view it was getting my feet wet, learning the ropes, and sort of doing an unpaid internship I guess.......Thankfully, I wised up to "mileage" after about 5-ish months or so.

It's why pizza delivery drivers have that delivery fee that is NOT the tip yet. You have to pay for their mileage too.

Any MSC offering you $6.00 for an on-site shop is way too low, imho. Trend Source has $6.00 cell phone shops.

Studying the guidelines and trying to schedule/route (constantly have to watch the boards and plan ahead with my time) ALREADY eats up $6.00 of value, not to mention the on-site job and report entry later.

I don't want to be banned per se from an MSC, as some have reported, for complaining about their fees. But, if I were to write a sincere business email to them, it'd really highlight how RIDICULOUSLY INADEQUATE (AND MONEY LOSING) these sorts of job offers are.

Target is hiring at $13.00/hour holiday season near me (I used to work for them). Why wouldn't someone just take that job over trying to cobble together $6.00 Trend Source (insert any other MSC) cell phone shops with unstable/unpredictable work schedule?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/27/2019 10:05PM by shoptastic.
People who walk to the location as a one-off or one of a cluster of shops incur no fuel costs. How do you evaluate the fee for a walker?

Some of the days in November carry the whole memory of summer as a fire opal carries the color of moon rise. - Gladys Taber
@Shop-et-al wrote:

People who walk to the location as a one-off or one of a cluster of shops incur no fuel costs. How do you evaluate the fee for a walker?

One-offs probably aren't what most of us are talking about and what MSCs think of when they price, I'm guessing.

Sure, many people might have ONE shop that is within walking distance. But, I doubt the MSC assumes that every shop will have a person to do like that. Even then, $6.00 is still probably low. sad smiley

I could say to the pizza delivery driver who is delivery for the shop outside of my neighborhood: "Hey, you're close by. If you walk to my house, that could save you mileage." I doubt the person would be okay with that. grinning smiley

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/27/2019 10:58PM by shoptastic.
It takes time (and labor of sorts) to even WALK!

Pretty soon MSCs will be offering $4.00 cell phone shops, saying it's a chance to get some exercise if you walk to the store. And the prep time you spend studying guidelines and in-shop time can just be chalked up to entertain value you get, since everyone gets bored these days (maybe preparation for a future career in acting - you know, parlay those memorization and "acting" skills you do when posing as a customer). The write-up is short and multiple choice (which requires a computing device and internet connection to do - which are business expenditures), so $4.00 is about right.

You pay small business taxes of 15% - oh, well, at least you have SOME income.

You get paid 2 months later, where we can take your cash and buy short-term bonds and earn interest...Well, um, that's just standard business practice to pay a few months later after invoice. etc. etc.

$2.00 shops by 2025!

Edited 6 time(s). Last edit at 10/27/2019 11:11PM by shoptastic.
Just checking.

Where live, it is impossible to build up anything like that. But where I visit, there are places to walk to dozens of shops! If I had time, I would do entire days of shops, walking from one to the next, adding to my daily steps, and hoping that I balanced the fees with the lack of mileage and wear & tear on shoes.

I do few shops now, so it was a surprise to see several streamlined report forms. Now, those reports are completed quickly! If they can figure out how to reduce the time on-site, the lower fees will seem less bad. For now, they should not lower base fees unless and until time on-site, on-phone, and on-report are consistently shortened.

Some of the days in November carry the whole memory of summer as a fire opal carries the color of moon rise. - Gladys Taber
@Shop-et-al wrote:

Just checking.

Maybe a a big city like NYC or SF. Most of us probably live in areas where it's not possible. smiling smiley

This is just my opinion, but I think most shops shop at least approximate minimum wage ($7.25/hour federal). If you're doing work that takes 1 hour of time and the client's own employees (Texas Roadhouse, AT&T, Hilton Hotel, etc.) are paid minimum wage, at least, for that 1 hour of time, then $7.25 seems like a reasonable base fee for most shops.

Certainly reimbursement of food can offset that $7.25 and for the occasional, GENUINELY easy shop, maybe $6.00 is okay. To me, that'd be more like an internet shop with all multiple choice or something. If I have to drive to that location and plan it out in my schedule, then $6.00 would not be enough. I'm carving out TIME in my limited amount of time on this Earth to go somewhere to do something FOR YOU. So, $6.00 is NOT ENOUGH.

Again, that's just my personal view (and also basic math). smiling smiley

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/28/2019 12:06AM by shoptastic.
"It's why pizza delivery drivers have that delivery fee that is NOT the tip yet. You have to pay for their mileage too."

I have delivered pizzas for more than 10 years. I assure you, you're not paying the driver's mileage. At least, not in the way you think. We don't get one single penny of that "delivery fee".
@ceasesmith wrote:

"It's why pizza delivery drivers have that delivery fee that is NOT the tip yet. You have to pay for their mileage too."

I have delivered pizzas for more than 10 years. I assure you, you're not paying the driver's mileage. At least, not in the way you think. We don't get one single penny of that "delivery fee".

I stand corrected! smiling smiley
So, do pizza drivers make minimum wage after factoring in things like mileage?

There was a study (will double-check this) that showed many Uber drivers make $2.50 - $3.00/hour after all costs are counted.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/28/2019 03:17AM by shoptastic.
@panama18 wrote:

When two parties with opposing interests agree on a price, that's what the thing is worth. Far as I'm concerned, I wish I could put a frame around it and hang it on the wall because in a sense, a free-market deal is a work of art.

If you've ever seen a pawn shop transaction, you'd find such a definition of worth is specious at best. The level of power of one party, vs. the level of desperation in the other party, makes that transaction uneven and the price unfair far too often. Free-markets are not actually free unless there are rules requiring all parties to be treated fairly.

It's hard to argue that the time of people who have little choice but to work in sweatshops, is only worth what a sweatshop owner is willing to pay for it.
@shoptastic wrote:

So, do pizza drivers make minimum wage after factoring in things like mileage?

There was a study (will double-check this) that showed many Uber drivers make $2.50 - $3.00/hour after all costs are counted.

Pizza places tend to work within much smaller geographic areas than an Uber or Grubhub driver. If they're only operating within a few miles of the store, drivers are using less gas and are able to do far more deliveries in a night - like 4-5x as many. That's the primary distinction. I work for about a year at a locally run food delivery service, that was over the entire metro area - and I declared a loss for it on my taxes that year. Delivering food an hour from the restaurant only makes you money if the tips are large - and they rarely are.
@ceasesmith wrote:

Actually, I wish hundreds of thousands of shoppers would take jobs right off the job boards at the offered prices.

Leaves more bonus money for the rest of us.

smiling smiley

Not really. The MSC have no reason to offer bonuses if people work for the cheaper pay.
@johnb974 wrote:

I'm at the point now, where I won't do a shop without a PAD.

Have you tried grocery shops, johnb974?

They are practically the ONLY shops I'll do at base (but I do have to route them - often 3 grocery shops and 1 fast food filler or 2 grocery and 2 fast food fillers, such as Panda and Sonic drive-thrus).

I've written about this many times and won't repeat myself, but I do feel grocery shops are (for me, at least) the only ones where I'm probably not losing much mileage and time, as I'd have to shop for them anyways. Plus, one MSC doing them pays bi-weekly.
@johnb974 wrote:

@ceasesmith wrote:

Actually, I wish hundreds of thousands of shoppers would take jobs right off the job boards at the offered prices.

Leaves more bonus money for the rest of us.
smiling smiley

Not really. The MSC have no reason to offer bonuses if people work for the cheaper pay.

I think CS is talking about harder to reach locations. I used to get $30 bonus (on top of reimbursement and fees) for a BWW location no one wanted to do.

But, the reason I think this is ultimately bad when people work for those pittance wages is that over time they will burden society if their finances fall apart. They will need increasing forms of "welfare" that society, as a whole, will have to pay for. Since the rich pay less taxes than the middle-class now (thanks Donald Trump):

[www.cbsnews.com]

That often falls more on us who earn middle incomes.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/28/2019 07:12AM by shoptastic.
@shoptastic wrote:

@johnb974 wrote:

@ceasesmith wrote:

Actually, I wish hundreds of thousands of shoppers would take jobs right off the job boards at the offered prices.

Leaves more bonus money for the rest of us.
smiling smiley

Not really. The MSC have no reason to offer bonuses if people work for the cheaper pay.

I think CS is talking about harder to reach locations. I used to get $30 bonus (on top of reimbursement and fees) for a BWW location no one wanted to do.

But, the reason I think this is ultimately bad when people work for those pittance wages is that over time they will burden society if their finances fall apart. They will need increasing forms of "welfare" that society, as a whole, will have to pay for. Since the rich pay less taxes than the middle-class now (thanks Donald Trump):

[www.cbsnews.com]

That often falls more on us who earn middle incomes.

The rich pay the majority of the taxes in this country. I'm personally paying around 40% with state and federal.

The top 1 percent paid a greater share of individual income taxes (37.3 percent) than the bottom 90 percent combined (30.5 percent).
But the MSCs do not distribute higher pay evenly or rationally-- according to numerous posts and threads in this forum.

And, look at client world. Note well the number of shopped places that are disappearing. Who is left to pay the big bucks to the few shoppers who receive them? [gee. that sounds like a third world arrangement or plain ol' quasi prostitution.]

Consider the number of persons who lose jobs when formerly shopped places close. How many of these people now need whatever money they can get, even if they must rely upon the new and decreased shop fees? For how many of them is it better to receive lower pay and stretch the unemployment income? In many places, it is not feasible to out-earn the unemployment income.

I will not join you in disparaging other people who, for whatever reason, accept shop fees that you do not choose. I am aware of many difficult types of situations and I applaud people for figuring out how to integrate this industry in whatever way they can or need to-- even when this is not a career or anything more than a necessary way to get something in their lives.





@shoptastic wrote:

@johnb974 wrote:

@ceasesmith wrote:

Actually, I wish hundreds of thousands of shoppers would take jobs right off the job boards at the offered prices.

Leaves more bonus money for the rest of us.
smiling smiley

Not really. The MSC have no reason to offer bonuses if people work for the cheaper pay.

I think CS is talking about harder to reach locations. I used to get $30 bonus (on top of reimbursement and fees) for a BWW location no one wanted to do.

But, the reason I think this is ultimately bad when people work for those pittance wages is that over time they will burden society if their finances fall apart. They will need increasing forms of "welfare" that society, as a whole, will have to pay for. Since the rich pay less taxes than the middle-class now (thanks Donald Trump):

[www.cbsnews.com]

That often falls more on us who earn middle incomes.

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

The rich pay the majority of the taxes in this country. I'm personally paying around 40% with state and federal.

The top 1 percent paid a greater share of individual income taxes (37.3 percent) than the bottom 90 percent combined (30.5 percent).

I was referencing the article linked above, Niner.
October 17, 2019 - [www.cbsnews.com]

Quoted below:

@ wrote:

For the first time in a century, America's 400 richest families now pay lower taxes than people in the middle class.

That's according to an analysis of tax data by two prominent economists, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman of the University of California at Berkeley, that is a centerpiece of their new book, "The Triumph of Injustice," to be published on October 15. Saez and Zucman, who have worked with the noted French economist Thomas Piketty to produce seminal research on inequality, also advised Senator Elizabeth Warren on the Democratic presidential candidate's plan to impose a wealth tax on ultra-rich families.

The tipping point came last year when the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was signed into law by President Donald Trump at the end of 2017, took effect. While Mr. Trump vowed that middle-class families would be helped by the tax overhaul, experts say most working-class families saw only a minimal benefit, while the wealthiest citizens got the lion's share of breaks. In fact, Saez and Zucman argue, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act turned the tax system on its head.

Factoring in all federal, state and local taxes, those ultra-wealthy households pay a total rate of about 23% — that compares with 24.2% for the bottom half of households, which includes many in the middle class. The richest families also pay a lower rate than those in the upper middle class and even those in the top 1%, who pay closer to 30% of their income in taxes.

There are lot of areas where the rich benefit at the expense of the poor. One area, for example is in the stock market, capital gains taxes, and U.S. central bank monetary policy since 2009.

Capital gains tax, for example, is 15% on average. With 84% of the entire U.S. stock market owned by 10% of Americans, that's a tremendous amount of wealth taxed at relatively low rates. Poor people usually don't own stocks. But, importantly, after the U.S. bailed out Wall Street in 2008, implemented QE (quantitative easing), and cut interest rates to zero for close to seven years, that inflated the stock market massively and screwed over the poor.

With interest rates at zero and bank savings accounts yielding so little, poor people who had so little money earned next to nothing in banks for the past decade. They likely lost money keeping it in banks, due to 2% inflation. Even now, the 10 year U.S. Treasury bond is less than 2%, meaning you're losing money buying U.S. long-term bonds! You'd have to buy stocks (which are taxed at a lower rate than income) to have made money in investments. U.S. stocks have quadrupled since 2009 (14% gain annual average past 10 years).

Historically, stocks have gained 9-10% annually on average and double every 10 years. They quadrupled since 2009! That's due to low interest rates, money printing, and corporate stock buybacks.

That's one way in which the poor in the U.S. have been screwed and the rich gaining so much. Poor people often cannot buy stocks, due to their meager savings and stock market volatility. They might need their savings at a moment's notice and if the market is down 10-15%, then they'd be losing money taking it out. Putting it into savings accounts (even "high yield" ) is money losing almost certainly, due to 2% inflation every year. Again, even the 10-Year U.S. Treasury is LESS THAN 2% now!

Likewise, companies like Walmart, Amazon, etc. don't pay their workers enough, use flex scheduling (less than 40 hours a week, so they don't have to owe them benefits), and pass on the expenses of a living wage to middle-class tax-payers, who pay for their food stamps and other welfare benefits (which those SAME underpaid Walmart workers use right back at Walmart!!!).

Those are just two things off the top of my head at the moment. smiling smiley

By reversing FDR's social safety net protections over the past 40 years, we've created what economists have called the Second Gilded Age in America in terms of inequality. sad smiley

Edited 10 time(s). Last edit at 10/28/2019 11:44AM by shoptastic.
@ wrote:

The rich pay the majority of the taxes in this country. I'm personally paying around 40% with state and federal.

The top 1 percent paid a greater share of individual income taxes (37.3 percent) than the bottom 90 percent combined (30.5 percent).

The rich make far more money than anyone. It's not how much you're taxed that's most important. What's most important is how much you have left after paying taxes. The rich have millions or even billions left after paying taxes.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/28/2019 01:13PM by johnb974.
I most admit I've done a couple these when out of town on a route, but never at home. My logic is I can't wait on the bonus I would be in town. They must be self assign also.

A Dad shopping the Ark-LA-Tex and beyond.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/05/2019 08:52PM by ShoppingDad.
I just one to make one more comment. When you write what is 'fair' do you know how much they make from the job that they are paying you $4.00 dollars for? I understand that everyone has the right to do these jobs for next to nothing, but you are selling yourself short. I was routinely paid $25.00 in bonuses for those shops up until a few months ago. I have been told that people are accepting them for the $4.00 and $6.00 fees so they no longer need to pay bonuses anymore. They decline everything unless its last minute and even then, its less then half of what it used to be, the going PAD or bonus is now $4.00 and even that, except for the last round of cell phone shops, is rare now. Its just sad because if everyone would or could agree to wait for a decent pay scale, we would all be better compensated. Of course I know that the people who are just starting out need to get whatever they can to get better shops. But this company has no better shops, this is it, there is no working your way up to something better, you are working your way down, to never being paid anything more. There are plenty of regulars, who are fine and happy doing these for the low pay, but its going to get even worse, sadly.
@Niner wrote:



The rich pay the majority of the taxes in this country. I'm personally paying around 40% with state and federal.

The top 1 percent paid a greater share of individual income taxes (37.3 percent) than the bottom 90 percent combined (30.5 percent).


Conversely, a couple of months ago, a ‘full-time professional mystery shopper’ boasted that he didn’t pay any tax as his income was too low.

@Niner well done for your contributions. You help keep things going with your tax payments.
Are 15, 16, etc. year olds allowed to ms? Would they be doing these shops? I couldn't imagine them wanting to do them, frankly, even if they were allowed. Still, I'm curious how young of shoppers we have in the labor pool?
I recently did one of these exact shops and a remote location and was able to get a total pay of $60. They are relatively easy, but $6 is crazy, even if it's next door to my house. I would never imagine doing it for less than 15 or 20. That said, the mystery shopping company does not care if they are paying minimum wage or not. They do not care if the pay is fair. Their goal is to get the evaluation done for the least amount of money possible. So, they put them out there at a ridiculously low amount just to see if somebody will take them. If they can't get somebody to take it, they slowly offer more money until they can find somebody it's supply and demand. A business deal as was described above. The amount that they pay has nothing to do with how far away you are or how much money you will make. It has everything to do with their ability to find do it for a certain amount. As long as people are willing to do it for that amount, they will keep assigning it for that amount.
Of course, they are not in business to give away money.

You have to ASK for bonuses.

At least, I do.

@johnb974 wrote:

@ceasesmith wrote:

Actually, I wish hundreds of thousands of shoppers would take jobs right off the job boards at the offered prices.

Leaves more bonus money for the rest of us.

smiling smiley

Not really. The MSC have no reason to offer bonuses if people work for the cheaper pay.
johnb974 opines--The MSC have no reason to offer bonuses if people work for the cheaper pay.

Bob's thought--So concise and accurate. Whomever establishes pay for an MSC could and should be replaced if said money is excessive and exceeds the dollar established in the marketplace. While companies do have an obligation to treat employees equitably, that does not extend to contractors. If, however, a self-employed person decides they have been mistreated, they have merely to deactivate their account and permanently "burn the bridge." In my 16+ years as a shopper, I have been both the burner and the burned.
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