Another Post Office Shop Issue

I'm sure you all got the e-mail about the client rejecting shops because of inaccurate shopper counts of customers or groups of customers being waited on or in line. I have to say, sometimes it's hard to tell if people are together or not. I was in the PO last week, not on a shop, and there were two people in line ahead of me that I'd have sworn weren't together. Turns out they were, as they went up to the counter together. Nobody talks to each other anymore 'cuz they're all on their phones....

I've also seen people at the counter I thought were together, but who weren't. E.g., one was waiting for help with something while the clerk at the same window was waiting on another customer. So.... Two people standing next to each other at the same window. Easy to assume they were together, and the only way I knew they weren't was because by the time I got to my window, one of them had left. If they both were still there once I was done, how would I know they weren't a "group" of customers?

While it's usually obvious who's together and who's not, don't you think we should get the benefit of a doubt in cases like this?

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

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The odds that they are going to pull the video for any of these unless something crazy happened are astronomically low. I would not worry about it.

I have done these in at least 10 states. Unless you go on April 15th, they are pretty mindless. If you put 4 and it was 3 because after you left, two people were really one group, I can't imagine it being an issue.
It sounds as if they're scrutinizing the videos pretty carefully these days, but hopefully they're only rejecting blatant miscounts.

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:

It sounds as if they're scrutinizing the videos pretty carefully these days, but hopefully they're only rejecting blatant miscounts.

If you consider how many Post Offices are in the USA and how many times they are shopped, I'm sure that they only check the ones that "failed".
Sometimes I'm not sure either, so I watch them closely and have always been able to tell if they were together or not. Especially when they are called to the counter.

I have trouble with the question itself. It asks how many customers (or groups of customers) were in line when you joined. I count them up and arrive at, say, 4 customers. I also notice a couple of people at an island filling out forms or closing boxes and don't count them. Then, one or more of these customers go back to the front of the line (or counter) ahead of me. Technically, they weren't in line when I joined, but they are now a customer ahead of me?! I have been answering the question literally at 4 customers at the moment I joined the line, but I also add a comment at the bottom explaining what occurred. So far, so good.

"We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl -- year after year..."
Same thing applies when there are 4 customers when you join the line, but 1 or more get pulled from the line by a lobby assistant to retrieve a package or use the ssk. There were 4 customers at the moment I joined the line, but I did not wait behind 4 customers before reaching the counter. Both of these line issues have got to skew the timing data somewhat if they are not treated in the same way.

"We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl -- year after year..."
There are also the customers that are filling out forms /adjusting boxes to the side of the clerk, usually after interacting with a clerk. Often they have unfinished business and go back to the clerk when ready, bypassing the queue, but it's hit or miss if that will be while I'm waiting and I have no way of knowing what they are doing there. Are they considered in line? Another issue is when the line goes out the door and around the corner. In that situation I can't even check my count by watching who approaches the counter. My final struggle with the count is how do you count when there are 20 or 30 people mulling around not really queued up but filling the entire post office, I assume likely waiting to be called for passport processing by the clerks that are also doing regular postal business. I always do my best but it is more an art than science at some locations.
@msimon-2000 wrote:

I have been answering the question literally at 4 customers at the moment I joined the line, but I also add a comment at the bottom explaining what occurred. So far, so good.

Fortunately, this is one of those surveys that lets you add comments at the end. I find myself using that feature a LOT! I wish more MSCs would add that to their forms.

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.
I never got an email about this. Are they only sending emails out to those who have done a shop in 2020? I have not done one yet this year.
I did 11 post office shops last week and did not this email or the one about first half hour/last half hour either.
Don't feel too bad Traveliz, I didn't get any emails either.

"We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl -- year after year..."
@wwin wrote:

There are also the customers that are filling out forms /adjusting boxes to the side of the clerk, usually after interacting with a clerk. Often they have unfinished business and go back to the clerk when ready, bypassing the queue, but it's hit or miss if that will be while I'm waiting and I have no way of knowing what they are doing there. Are they considered in line?

I count these people as being waited on at the counter.
How blessed I am to be shopping out-of-the way, tiny-town POs!!! The longest wait I've ever had was 14 minutes; I was a couple hundred miles from home, and I will never shop that PO again. I'm delighted to be shopping rural POs with nary a customer, never a wait, and they 100% of the time hit every mark!

smiling smiley
Maybe I got one because I have a shop this week?

The emphasis on correctly counting customers stated that the client has failed over 200 shops in the last 60 days due to shoppers not entering correct numbers and that the client verifies shops through video. I'm wondering, then, if *all* shops are reviewed, not just a sampling.

Two-hundred failed shops sounds like a lot, even given how many are being done across the U.S. So, I'm going to be especially cautious today!

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.
I applied for five shops that I have been doing on a regular basis. I got two, the farthest ones away from me; in opposite directions, of course. WTH? Did they get a new scheduler? Email seems the same. I am the shopper who takes the BFE shops for her at the normal rate when I'm in the area, and who drives out of the way to pick up stragglers at the end of the month/quarter. Has always meant that she takes care of me.

Feeling burned right now, and heading to cancel the two. Might as well assign them to the other person (people?) who are going there anyway. Good luck getting the BFE ones scheduled. It won't be me.

“I am convinced that knowledge is power - to overcome the past, to change our own situations, to fight new obstacles, to make better decisions.” ~Ben Carson
I always send an email to the scheduler when applying if I need to have a certain number of shops to make the trip.

sestrahelena
For people who are doing the post office shops now on distance routes but not using your cell phone and app to report and submit the shops: how are you dealing with the new requirement that each shop be submitted before you begin the next shop?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/2020 09:23PM by JASFLALMT.
JAS, I have been doing all of my shops during the day and then reporting later that evening like normal. So far, they have been accepted. I did not see this new requirement in the guidelines? Can you please point me in the right direction to find this requirement?

Thanks...

"We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl -- year after year..."


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/2020 09:30PM by msimon-2000.
It's on the first page under "Planning". It also says to submit within 8 hours, which is also new.
I bring scissors and a clipboard to cut and photograph the receipts, then find WiFi and submit on the tablet. I think it's just a request right now, but that could change any time so might as well get it figured out. That part is actually less hassle than renaming the pics.
I don't have a tablet. I do have a laptop, but I usually only lug the damn thing around when I am out of town overnight. Having to stop somewhere to login to someone's public WiFi to upload photos would be a big hassle and eat into my time, and would make these shops much less appealing to me.

I do have the app and I use it. It's the renaming of the photos part using the app that I haven't figured out.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/2020 09:39PM by JASFLALMT.
I've never cut the receipts, I just photograph the whole receipt, then the top, then the bottom, and upload it to the report. Never had a problem with that method.

msimon-2000, are you also renaming your photos?
Thank you JAS. I read that statement differently. I read it as fill out your survey and click the save button which returns you to your assignment log. Then click the submit button on the first shop before opening and beginning the second report.

After reading the guidelines again, this statement really could mean either one...

If they were to add just one more word after 'next' in that sentence, it would clear it up definitively. "next location" or "next survey"

"We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl -- year after year..."
JAS, I was already naming my files in a similar format to the new request, so no real change for me on that one. The 30 before and after got me on Monday since it was not in the new guidelines when the first shops were released in late December. Nor was it on the surveys initially. I did my shops on Monday and did not see the new requirements until I got home and began entering my reports.

There really has to be a better way to convey the new changes for each quarter. Maybe a section at the very top of the guidelines with a "What's new" for this quarter summarizing the changes in bold.

"We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl -- year after year..."
So your Monday shops got rejected? If so, that stinks, sorry to hear it. I did email for clarification about whether or not we are supposed to be submitting our first shop before beginning the second one...you are right that it can be construed differently, and in fact makes more sense the way you put it since not all shoppers have cell phones, and if they do, not all of them are using the app to do reports.
I just saw the 8 hour submission timing when I was looking through the guidelines again. I will probably be picking up less of these shops because I hate the 8 hour window. I don’t understand what they are talking about regarding renaming photos. Do they mean when you upload the photos to the survey you are supposed to name them? I use my ipad to submit shops not a computer or laptop. I’ve never seen any option to name the pictures unless I’m missing something?
I had to jump through a few hoops on my Samsung S9 to figure it out, but it looks like I will be doing the majority of the report on the app and saving it, taking the receipt photos on my phone (I take the package photo at home), then going into file manager, finding the photos and renaming them, then uploading it to the Mobi Audit app. What a PITA!
Since I don't buy boxes and I reuse old ones, at least I don't have to worry about the photo for the nonexistent receipt for that.
@sestrahelena wrote:

I always send an email to the scheduler when applying if I need to have a certain number of shops to make the trip.
That would be the norm, but I've been doing these same shops for more than a year. Lots of changes in the program; none good that I can see. Splitting up the dates is not good either. Maybe they don't realize (they should) that few shoppers want to do these as standalone $12 shops. Guess they'll be learning the hard way.

“I am convinced that knowledge is power - to overcome the past, to change our own situations, to fight new obstacles, to make better decisions.” ~Ben Carson
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