Irresponsible MSCs during Coronavirus....

I keep getting emails from a msc asking me to hand out samples at Walmart and other grocery stores this weekend...anyone else think this is really ridiculous and irresponsible?

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That's incredibly irresponsible, Phoebe! So many people are offended when they realize the 6' guideline applies to them too. "Wot? Sacrifice doesn't apply to me and my actions, by God!"
Right? And I've gotten multiple emails from this MSC just today. Sorry, not going to risk getting sick and/or infecting others for $10 an hour.
Unfortunately, we all still have to try to fill everything until the client cancels the program.

It could be that these are thousands of locations all in one session, so people in several places that are not really affected right now are getting those emails as well.

Edited to say: I don't schedule these types of shops, but just an idea on why you may be receiving them.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/18/2020 05:39PM by KSSPete.
@KSSPete wrote:

Unfortunately, we all still have to try to fill everything until the client cancels the program.

Pete, you actually don't, though. You (or at least, Lorri in your case) are free to cancel scheduling anything they deem a danger to the public, and inform the client that it's irresponsible. All scheduling companies have this ability. They are simply elect to move forward as long as the client is asking them too....and it's shameful.

And this gets me to my main issue with the MS industry and how it's handling this crisis. The whole world is affected! I wish the MSC's would stop pretending there are "Safe" areas to still be shopped, and doing all they can to squeeze every last dime out of the business before it shuts down.

There should no shopping of any publicly visited location right now. Anywhere. Specifically offering samples at grocery store....
@SteveSoCal wrote:

@KSSPete wrote:

Unfortunately, we all still have to try to fill everything until the client cancels the program.

Pete, you actually don't, though. You (or at least, Lorri in your case) are free to cancel scheduling anything they deem a danger to the public, and inform the client that it's irresponsible.

There should no shopping of any publicly visited location right now. Anywhere. Specifically offering samples at grocery store....

100% on this. Shame on the MSPs and the schedulers who are pushing for shops to be completed.

That is unethical and amoral. I am saving my emails from the MSPs that are ignoring shelter in place orders and forwarding them to the State. Hopefully they will get smacked with some stiff penalties; my state isn’t playing with SARS-CoV-19.
@buteos wrote:

What areas are not affected? Honest question.

Where I am in TN. Bars and restaurants are all still open (dine in still allowed). Banks are open. Really not affecting us much, yet. Many other places are still allowing shops as well.

@SteveSoCal I do understand your point. But right now they almost have to squeeze every dime out that they can. They need to have a business to re-open when things calm down. Many of them are small businesses that are also going to be hurt by this. If the stores are open, and the state hasn't shut them down, then I can completely understand continuing to try to get as much done as possible.
@buteos wrote:

What areas are not affected? Honest question.

Officially, West Virginia WAS the last state with 0 cases. Now, they have some.

Of course, those official numbers are bogus, because we haven't been testing much.

My city just ran out of kits, so it'll be a while bfeore we test again.

Right now, all 50 states have cases. I've been assuming the real case counts are at least 3x higher than whatever the official figures are (possibly even a higher multiple).
Serious question, being genuinely a young'n. When was the last time our market has been hit due to the world LITERALLY stopping? I understand Pete's perspective in that their commitments with their client in terms of work has to go on somehow, even though I do see that being remote and not in the fully quarantined areas such as Colorado, Cali and Washington may not have him and his team not in full perspective on what's going on right now.

Unless the government bails everyone out, the majority of businesses WILL go bankrupt as a result of this crisis. For those not living in an area when the quarantine's not gone in full effect, you'll see how it is. It's pretty spooky out here and many, many business owners are uncertain if their businesses will survive, while many are wondering how their bills will be paid. Many are foregoing disconnect notices and fees, but many are not waiving accrued interest for any loans, mortgages, etc.

Shopping the Greater Denver Area, Colorado Springs and in-between in Colorado. 30 year old male and willing to travel! Badged for Denver International Airport.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/18/2020 06:18PM by Tarantado.
@ColoKate63 wrote:

KSSPete,

A prediction: your comments are going to age like milk. Shame on you. Shame.

I'm not at all saying that there should not be precautions taken. I'm not even saying that shops should happen. But until we are told that it has to stop, then people still need to make money. Not just the companies and their employees, but shoppers too. Sure, I have some savings that I can live off of for a bit, but not everyone does. I'm not holding it against anyone that cancels or does not want to go out. It's completely understandable. Nobody wants to lose their clients, jobs, or financial stability when there are shoppers out there willing to go, and the state hasn't shut them down.

My personal opinion on this particular shop that the OP described, is that it should not be happening. Way too much contact involved. But there are still plenty out there that do not require large crowds, are following the recommendations of health officials (allowing take out instead of dine in), and in more rural places that I would consider pretty safe to do so right now.
@KSSPete wrote:

Where I am in TN. Bars and restaurants are all still open (dine in still allowed). Banks are open. Really not affecting us much, yet.

Pete, there 78 confirmed cases in TN at the moment. It's affecting you. You just don't see it yet because you are 1 week behind the number of cases in CA. Last Wednesday I went shopping at Trader Joe's and the store was fully stocked, with plenty of TP available. Those 7 days will make a world of difference, and this is the social responsibility issue. You personally can make a difference in this crisis by bringing this to attention of your employer.

All of us are small businesses. We are all going to be affected, but in this new world of mass social media, you can no longer afford to be socially irresponsible. That will have a bigger backlash than any revenue you don't collect in the next seven days...
@SteveSoCal wrote:

@KSSPete wrote:

Where I am in TN. Bars and restaurants are all still open (dine in still allowed). Banks are open. Really not affecting us much, yet.

Pete, there 78 confirmed cases in TN at the moment. It's affecting you.

The big thing to understand is that the virus can spread before symptoms show up. This is UNLIKE SARS, which only spread AFTER symptoms showed up. Thus, it was easier to contain.

Right now, thousands could have it in your area and not know. There is a lack of testing and people who have it without symptoms are easily passing it along to others.

Bill Ackman said beaches were recently packed in Florida. Spring Break youth with good immune systems and no symptoms could have been spreading it like crazy. They'll be fine most likely. But, as Ackman said, they could be bringing the virus back to their family, who are physically compromised, and end up killing their own family members.

[www.cnbc.com]

Very emotional plea from Ackman to Trump to shut the nation down for 30 days. We can get rid of this thing mostly if we do that, he says.

eta: It makes sense. The high end of the incubation period is 10-14 days. If symptoms appear after that, they last about a week or two. If we have a 30-DAY TOTAL SHUTDOWN, that could do a ton to stop it.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/18/2020 06:37PM by shoptastic.
All of my five demos have been cancelled this month, and rescheduled tentatively to next month. Kroger was the largest chain to cancel the vendor's planned activities.
With all the problems we all have had getting paid on time by many of these MSC's and with the economy crashing the 800 pound gorilla in the room is will we even get paid in the next couple of days for the work we did in February much less for shops we are doing now. Marketforce has been jacking us all around for months on when they get around to paying. Today is the 18th and nothing but crickets from them. That is why I had no remorse what so ever cancelling out the few shops I had left with them.
Trendsource was still scheduling grocery shops in CA as of yesterday. Total and complete disregard for safety.
I agree with both @SteveSoCal and @KSSPete.

First, I see where this thing is heading: I'm in the middle of the initial major breakout in the United States (Seattle, Washington). The only way to shut this virus off anytime soon is to totally shut down our entire nation for at least two weeks. We cannot cure the virus. Many people who get infected don't get sick - but they sure do spread it. Those that get sick can go from "slightly symptomatic" to "dead" in a matter of days. Our health care system is not prepared to keep up.

However, we have to consider our national economy. I don't say this lightly, so please bear with me. If our economy goes into a deep recession - or a full depression (Steven Mnuchin, in the Trump administration, thinks we could hit 20% unemployment), our infrastructure will be in shambles, folks will lose health care completely, and our government will not have the ability to help those who fall into desperate times. This will kill, too. The Dow closed below 20,000, effectively losing all value gained in the last 3 1/2 years. While only one measure of our economy, it is a very bad sign. If we, as a nation, stop working completely, our economy will suffer more. Mystery shopping is but one small industry with our national economy, but keeping it going is good. There are people on this forum desperate to see it continue. Many MSC's are likely to go under in the next several months - as are clients. Clearly, we want the industry to do everything it can to keep afloat.

Yes, these two interests are diametrically opposed. Our local, state, and national leaders have much more information than we do. They have experts in public health, virology, economics, etc. to guide them. We have little choice but to trust that they are making the best possible decisions for our regions - local and national. As long as our governing bodies think, after balancing the complex array of health and economic factors, that it is in the best interest of us to keep certain business open, I have no problem with them being shopped. I hold nothing against those who choose to do those shops. Nor do I blame anybody who chooses not do to do them. It would be very shameful of any MSC to hold a grunge against a shopper who cancels a shop right now.

I do not envy our elected leaders right now. They have a real problem and no good solutions. None. Were I king, I would likely order the entire nation to shelter in place for two weeks. But, I am not king - I neither wield such power nor have full access to the experts a king would have. If we believe we are being led poorly, we need to 1) write our leaders. 2) Be vocal to our media outlets and, most importantly, 3) vote at every opportunity.

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


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/18/2020 09:42PM by MFJohnston.
And, some MSC's and schedulers really don't watch the news - at all. I just got off the phone with MartizCX/Ipsos. The person who called had no idea that we were having problems in the Seattle area.

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


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/18/2020 09:39PM by MFJohnston.
@MFJohnston...

And I believe you just made my point better than I did. I don't believe at all that people should go against what their local health officials tell them. But, as long as these places remain open, I see no issue with them being shopped. Especially grocery stores. People will still need groceries, and will very likely be able to use even the smallest pay and reimbursement they can get from their visit. Of course, this one with handing out samples is a bit extreme and shouldn't really be allowed in my opinion.

Not a single company that I schedule for is holding anything against anyone that doesn't want to pick up shops, or that cancels shops. Every shop they had that did not comply with bans, or any other government enforced law, have been cancelled. Whatever is left over, complies with what the state and local officials require. The few cases we weren't already informed, the shoppers informed us and the locations were removed from the list. I don't at all find it shameful to be helping to fight the economic collapse, while we can, which is poised to affect way more people than the virus itself.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/18/2020 10:45PM by KSSPete.
@KSSPete
I would add a couple of other observations...
* Restrictions are changing hourly and differently in every state and locality in the U.S. It would be impossible for any MSC or large client to keep the list of shopping opportunities current on a daily basis. As shoppers, we do have to be patient - and simply not try to perform shops that are not possible right now. MSC's will get their lists updated. They will do so more quickly if we inform them, when they call, that the location is closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. No scheduler wants to waste time calling shoppers trying to fill a shop that can no longer exist. They often just don't know.
* I would like to see shops change their surveys to correspond with current needs. For instance: The ever popular Five Guys shops could be turned into carry-out shops. Questions should be added along the lines of: Is the dining room properly closed? Is XXX happening in order to maintain sanitation? Are customers encouraged to leave quickly after receiving their food? Are all food-handling employees clearly wearing gloves? While you were waiting, did you see XXX employee wash his/her hands? Etc. Right now, it is imperative that the industries that are open for business take every possible health precaution. Clients, with the help of MSC's could use shoppers to help make sure that the highest standards are being met.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
I got a list of eat in jobs from my scheduler yesterday. They were at three or four different sit down type restaurants. My scheduler lives in the state of Washington so should be aware of closures. I sent her an email letting her know that all restaurants were closed to all but take out in Los Angeles and she thanked me for letting her know. I think there is the same desperateness on the side of some of the schedulers who need the money as there is for the shoppers willing to take a risk to earn a few bucks before it is too late where they live.
I do think they should be careful but many of us are pretty crazed right now so even tho it seems ridiculous I will give them a pass for not thinking clearly. As long as we and they do not feel pressured to take work or to fill work. I have no idea if some msc's are pressuring their schedulers to fill jobs and they may fear losing their job if they do not at least try.
Agreed 100%. I would like to see those changes as well. It's very useful information at this time (and really all the time).
...and I'm working off the assumption that schedulers/MSC's are just unaware, as others have noted. That was the point of my posting. They need to understand what's going on out there.

I'm also in the "Shelter entire USA in place for two weeks" camp. I have reads stats that say it would be less financial loss overall than allowing business to continue, so I feel like it's short-sighted to move on with business as usual..
You hypocrites! You call MSCs offering work shameful, but you sure don’t mind all the stores, factories, distribution centers, oil field companies, gas stations, trucking companies, delivery services, office people, bankers, etc that are making sure you have what you need continuing to operate. Are those companies (who are also making sure millions of people still have income) shameful too???
All I know is I called this morning before leaving to do today's shops. I called the MSC just to make absolutely, 100% certain the shops are still "go".

Got home at 5 PM, shops done.

MSC sent an e-mail at 2:40 PM cancelling my shops.

I was in a rural area without cell coverage, so didn't receive the e-mail until I was back home.
@roxy1 wrote:

Are those companies (who are also making sure millions of people still have income) shameful too???

How are those two things even related?

One is people knowingly agreeing to put themselves in harms way to make sure we can keep some semblance of a normal lifestyle during this crisis. The other is a company paying people sub-standard wages to put themselves in harms way, with no apparent usable results, and possibly not get paid, presumably because they are just not fully aware of the seriousness of the situation.
@ceasesmith wrote:

All I know is I called this morning before leaving to do today's shops. I called the MSC just to make absolutely, 100% certain the shops are still "go".

Got home at 5 PM, shops done.

MSC sent an e-mail at 2:40 PM cancelling my shops.

I was in a rural area without cell coverage, so didn't receive the e-mail until I was back home.

That's wrong. Unless the client literally closed down/cancelled shops between the time you called and the time the MSC notified you later, then the MSC should have been more "on top of things" and given you correct info. sad smiley

To give you the "go" in the morning, possibly knowing you'd have to drive far out to do a route, and then to reverse course in the afternoon (knowing you'd be part way through it) is horrible. I'd feel like they should compensate for that. Sorry to hear.
Clients cancelled the shops.

I am not a happy camper. But I cannot say that I was totally unaware that this could happen. That's why I called before I left! So I did all that could be done.
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