Will I be paid - a little late and...?

Well... This is a new one for me.

I was assigned an apartment shop that had to be shopped on a weekday. When I checked the website, it was clear the office was open until 6:00 and it was possible to schedule a tour online as late as 5:30 PM. However, when I called the leasing professional informed me that the last tour had to start by 4:00. I explained that I got off work at 3:30 and that it would be difficult to get there by 4:00. (Without traffic, it mapped out to be a a 26 minute drive). I said that it would be close and asked if they could be flexible by about "five" minutes.

I raced to the community (paying extra to use the toll lanes) and arrived at 4:09. (My GPS had estimated a 4:19 arrival when I left work.) When I walked into the office, the leasing professional informed me that I was late and that she would not give me a tour. She also refused to show me floor plans, etc. in the office.

It was a nicely-bonused audio-recorded shop. The visit lasted 2 minutes, 22 seconds.

What are the chances I get paid? As a potential resident, I'd be mad as heck. As a shopper, I know it's dicey.....

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.

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I dunno. You were more than five minutes late. What does your student handbook say about that? *glares at tardy student* I mean, as a teacher and mystery shopper, you should not be surprised if you need to re-schedule, miss a payment, or miss part of the payment. The deciding factor probably will be desperation. How rigid was the given deadline for the assignment?

To read a poem in January is as lovely as to go for a walk in June. Jean-Paul Sartre
The assignment is already overdue to the client. I picked it up yesterday after one or more previous shoppers failed to complete it.

I totally get that it’s dicey.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
If I were the client, that leasing agent would be in trouble. That's no way to treat a prospective tenant. According to the website, she should have allowed the tour. If the office is open until 6, she had plenty of time to show you around. It doesn't take 1.5 hours to do that.
The dog ate my homework again. I mean, there was a traffic detour that made me later than I meant to be. yes? no?

You are a known shopper. They might give you another chance.

@MFJohnston wrote:

The assignment is already overdue to the client. I picked it up yesterday after one or more previous shoppers failed to complete it.

I totally get that it’s dicey.

To read a poem in January is as lovely as to go for a walk in June. Jean-Paul Sartre
They should have found some valuable information in that 2 minutes and 22 seconds. Might be all they needed. Her behavior goes beyond recording for training purposes.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/2020 03:15AM by JASFLALMT.
Ok, from a MSP's perspective it might be worthless without the tour. But as far as customer service is concerned they suck. If I was a prospective tenant I would not want to rent from them. All Foot Lockers in the Foot Locker family of stores lost my business for over 10 years because of poor customer service.
The refusal to discuss availability and show floor plans, one and a half hours prior to office closing, is something the client should want to know. Were there prospective tenants standing in line, waiting to meet with the LA?

Audio of that refusal should earn you the fee. Maybe in part, but hopefully, in full.
I recall a conversation with a co-worker from many lifetimes ago. They were fuming because daycare had charged them extra and issued a parental infraction. My co-worker was asked to work late. They needed the money.

The kid spent an extra hour at daycare. But the daycare staff needed to end their workday on time, close the place for the night, and go to their personal lives. Parents who left their kids overtime were given consequences regardless of sob stories and emergencies!

***Why should the apartment staff member be expected to stay late? Why does this expectation even exist? It is questionable, and it suggests that the apartment staff member has no right to a set schedule. It fails to consider any unwanted consequences of leaving work late and incurring effects for themselves or others who may rely on this schedule.

Could the shop expectations be adjusted so that it is less difficult for shoppers and staff members to complete work and personal tasks?

To read a poem in January is as lovely as to go for a walk in June. Jean-Paul Sartre


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/2020 03:58AM by Shop-et-al.
@Shop-et-al: I think you are looking into things incorrectly.

* The office closed at 6:00. Touring somebody a few minutes after 4:00 will not make them stay late. The reason tours are cut off early, by policy, sometimes is that the sun sets early in the winter in the north. Touring after dark is considered a safety issue. Today's sunset was at 4:35 PM. I do not know the company's policy. However, "no tours after dark" is normal. Having a specific tour cutoff time is as well. I do have to question why it was possible to schedule a 5:30 tour online.

* What exactly is the company's policy? The office closed at 6:00. Even if touring after 4:00 was not permitted, would a virtual tour in the office be a problem as well? This is a totally different situation. After all, the office was open and signage on the door invited people in. Obviously "safety" would not be a concern here?

* The leasing professional was clear over the phone that there was a deadline. She was also clear that she could allow me to be "five" minutes late. However, I understood the "five minutes" to be a little loose: She expressed in our phone conversation that she understood that I was "at the mercy of traffic." Then, I was a whole four minutes after the "five" minutes would have passed.

* Apartment leasing professionals are salespeople. They are assessed on their salesmanship. The question at hand will be: Was there a strict policy that stated that I could not even be shown a floor plan in the office or should the leasing professionals be willing to work with prospective residents who have legitimate difficulties making limited office hours? This is a question for the client more than anything. My **opinion** is that, had the policy been that strict, I should not have been offered a little grace over the phone. The leasing professional knew exactly how long my drive from work was and that I was really pushing it to make it anywhere close to 4:00. After a 39 minute drive, she should have seen me. Not doing so was simply poor PR.

* Yes, students get into trouble when they show up late to class. However, when they have legitimate reasons for tardiness (previous teacher held them late, in counseling center, seeing the nurse, etc.), they are totally and completely excused - even more so when the potential tardiness is discussed ahead of time.

* All that said, whether or not I should be paid is a totally different question. If she leasing professional was following actual company policy - including not showing some flexibility, I cannot deny that I missed the deadline by 4 minutes. However, after the phone conversation, I truly though that, if I was close, I would be "okay." I was completely shocked that I was not given, at the least, a sit-down conversation in the office.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/2020 04:56AM by MFJohnston.
Ah. what a difference fourteen minutes makes... *stops crooning and focuses*

You were almost three times later than you indicated with the five minutes.

Did you want a full tour, or did you just want a mystery shopping paycheck?

Being a professional can include setting time boundaries. What about this person's experiences with prospective customers? How do most people behave when they really want a tour of the place? Do the shop guidelines allow the mystery shoppers to seem like real potential customers?

From far away and from my experiences with the safety concerns: please, please, please, please, please do not let yourself be rushed into unsafe behaviors. Please do not pressure other people into rushing on snow and ice, in dim light, etc.

For this shop, it might mean insisting or demanding that shoppers arrive within certain time frames. Let shoppers know this before accepting the assignment and do not penalize them for canceling based upon this time restriction.

For me, it meant changing the hubby' s job so that he and I drastically reduced our time on snow and ice in the middle of the winter nights. I did not mind being such a pita and getting my way in this safety issue. YMMV.

To read a poem in January is as lovely as to go for a walk in June. Jean-Paul Sartre
I felt that it really could have gone either way.... As a shopper, I was simply unable to make the time constraints at hand and, therefore, could not get the required tour. I would not have complained if the MSC had needed to decline the shop.

As a prospective resident, I really felt burned. I am guessing that they client wants their leasing professionals to work a little better with prospective residents - who need to schedule visits around jobs.

@walesmaven wrote:

Good for both the client and the MSC to recognize what was truly valuable. And,HURRAH for you !

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
I don't think shop-et-al does apartment shops and may have never done even one, from reading her post Also: SEA you didnt comprehend what you read, as he was 9 minutes late, not 14.

If the website allowed for a tour appointment to be made at 5:30, then there should have been no problem showing up at 4:09 no matter what was discussed on the phone. Apartment shop visits generally take about 30 minutes total. The tour itself is usually 20 minutes or less. There is no way the leasing agent would have had to stay late unless therre were several other people waiting in the ofice for assistance. Additionally, temps are in the 40s in his region right now and the driving conditions should be okay with no safety issues. It's moot now since the MSC and client obviously agreed and he got paid.

Glad you got paid, MFJ!
This is where shopper's integrity is crucial.

As a long-time, reliable, meticulous shopper, poster's integrity and value was recognized by the client and MSC.

We all (should) recognize that the outcome could have been different.

(Yeah, you know who I'm thinking of!)

smiling smiley
Looking back on this, I find your comment fairly rude and it doesn't look like a positive contribution to me.

@Shop-et-al wrote:

Did you want a full tour, or did you just want a mystery shopping paycheck?
I was so shocked at that post that I had to go back up to the top to see if it was posted by a different poster (one known for tirades and criticism). Shocked.

Definitively NOT positive.

@JASFLALMT wrote:

Looking back on this, I find your comment fairly rude and it doesn't look like a positive contribution to me.

@Shop-et-al wrote:

Did you want a full tour, or did you just want a mystery shopping paycheck?
Good for both the client and the MSC to recognize what was truly valuable. And,HURRAH for you !

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
@Shop-et-al
I'm not sure where you get "fourteen" minutes. I arrived at 4:09 for a 4:00 appointment that had a loose five minute grace period.....

There were no safety issues involved. I might have surpassed the speed limit in the express toll lanes by 5-8 mph, but that was driving with traffic. It was still daylight when I arrived at the office.... The leasing professionals had no other visitors in the office when I arrived.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
we all want a "mystery shop paycheck"! I do apartment tours although not recently because they drain me (writing the report). I enjoy looking at "nice" apartments that I "wish" I could afford, even though I won't go back to apartment living If I don't have to. Some have really great amenities that I would wish I could have if I had to live in an apartment. (Daily access to pools and or gyms). I would think that most places would absolutely want working tenants. I am glad that it was accepted and you will be paid, but under the circumstances, I honestly think the leasing agent needs retraining. If I owned an apartment complex and a customer was working till 5:30 every day and asked if there was some way I could stay late one day and meet with them at 6:15, I absolutely would want my leasing agent to have a maintenance man stay late and escort them on their tour. Most complexes have at least two leasing agents. Maybe they could leave early another day to balance it out. It seems to me that I seem to remember someplace that did just that. Like, stay open late till 6 or 7 on Fridays to take rents and sign leases, etc. Then two days a week one would get off a couple of hours early.
But as for me, myself, and I if take a job (MS) I definitely want to get paid. Unfortunately, if I was doing it just "for fun" I wouldn't expect to be paid. But when I assign myself a job, I am counting on myself to be able to earn needed money to pay bills. I would feel short-changed if it's invalidated or I don't get paid, be it my fault or due to no fault of my own. Of course, if it's my fault I swallow up and take it like a big girl. If it's not my fault I get mad huff and puff and still get over it. Because I have a decision to make. Do I want to lose potential income from that MSP over something trivial or is this a headache I don't want to deal with again? Since the majority of my work is with about 5 MSPs, apparently I think they are reputable enough to continue working with them.
I am wondering about this entire shop program and all the iterations with all the shoppers. Do the shoppers seem different to the leasing agents than actual customers do? This is a perspective that might explain part of the shopper's experience with the leasing agent. If some of you consider that seeking to understand via additional perspectives is rude, so be it.

To read a poem in January is as lovely as to go for a walk in June. Jean-Paul Sartre
@Shop-et-al asked:
Do shoppers seem different to the leasing agents than actual customers do?
My answer: Not if the shoppers are doing their job correctly.

@Shop-et-al asked:
Did you want a full tour or did you just want a mystery shopping paycheck?
My answer: I don't care how much of a tour I do or don't get. I want to experience and accurately report what a prospective resident would experience at that particular apartment community. Yes, I want the paycheck. I am convinced that very few folks on this board would be doing any mystery shopping if payment were not involved.

@Shop-et-al wrote:
If some of you consider that seeking to understand via additional perspectives is rude, so be it.
My response: Nobody here objected to gaining a more full understanding of the situation, from different points of view. However, the way you worded the "full tour v. paycheck" question came across as rather cutting. Put into the context of your other comments (which added misconceptions and false equivalencies, especially as you cited my profession) it did come across as downright rude.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
When I listen to my plumber as he tries to tell me how to prepare my Chilean seabass recipe even though I know he has never cooked the dish himself (much less eaten it), then maybe apartment shoppers will listen to someone who is mainly a merchandiser who doesn't do apartment shops giving their perspective on apartment mystery shopping.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/11/2020 04:41PM by JASFLALMT.
@Shop-et-al wrote:

I am wondering about this entire shop program and all the iterations with all the shoppers. Do the shoppers seem different to the leasing agents than actual customers do? This is a perspective that might explain part of the shopper's experience with the leasing agent. If some of you consider that seeking to understand via additional perspectives is rude, so be it.

That's not what you said though. This statement is quite different from basically accusing the shopper of just only wanting a paycheck. You are changing the narrative. You originally stated, "Did you want a full tour, or did you just want a mystery shopping paycheck?" I think some of us would have considered "shoppers seem different to the leasing agents than actual customers do" if anyone on this site had mentioned it. After reading the iterations, I see people offering a variety of "perspectives," including someone suggesting "Did you want just want a mystery shopping paycheck."
if you just want the paycheck, you do not care about an apartment This might shine through to an experienced leasing agent.

Some have castigated the leasing agent and jumped all over me. It's okay, though. I just spent a day with a person who cannot let in additional information. I was relieved when I was free to re-enter the world of knowledge and ideas. I am accustomed to being razzed and dissed for daring to present a scintilla of a possibility of a new idea or an additional bit of information. *shrugs*

To read a poem in January is as lovely as to go for a walk in June. Jean-Paul Sartre
Egads. You remind me of a well-known political figure who often deflects and never accepts responsibility for anything he says or does.
I appreciate the good laugh..... razzed and dissed> You probably feel you do get that a lot... all the time..... with most encounters/interactions.... I have heard it's hard to be the smartest person in the room.....

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/13/2020 03:59AM by 1forum1.
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