Are the MSC Companies on Drugs? Homicidal?

The MSCs are sending out more emails than ever before including for Senior Centers in Washington. There are states of emergency in 48 states. These Senior Centers have not allowed visitors for several weeks.

All stores in several states are closed.

Do these people have NO conscience? Sending people to stores for $8 in a pandemic? Are they absolutely unaware that these places are closed?

What does it take to asking people to go out, violate Emergency orders, endanger their own lives, endanger the lives of others, when the shopper will find a locked door and not even get the $2/hour they would get after considering time and costs.

The MSC industry has needed disruption for a long time. I only hope no one dies due to this absolute disregard for human lives.

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@sestrahelena wrote:

There was probably no virus stipulation in the client/MSC contract.

It would be interesting to know if a typical MSC contract has a Force Majeure clause that would kick in for this. Standard wording often lists "acts of nature" and "acts of governments prohibiting..." etc. I could see either of those coming into play

If the current one doesnt the next one will.
People do what they have to, or what they want to. It's human nature. They violate quarantines, disregard emergency orders, etc. in order to make a living, or get supplies, or just go out and have a good time. I'm not defending or condoning it, just saying it is what it is.

You are fortunate to be an IC and not an employee.
I’m not surprised.
I’ve personally met around a dozen MSP owners, and as a group they have little regard or respect for the shopper cohort who actually perform the fieldwork.

Each company has huge databases with tens of thousands of shoppers- several claim to have a half million - willing to pick up work for single-digit fees.

They are paying us 20-25%, often less, of the total fees billed to clients, while we do the majority of the driving, the observations, writing, and shoulder the financial burden.
We are disposable.
I'm sure the MSC's and schedulers will justify their actions with the excuse of just trying to stay in business for our benefit, or offering pay for a shopper who just may need $10 to get by...but I also think time has shown us that's not the underlying goal of any MSC.

With few exceptions, those who were having financial trouble with their business have hidden the truth, lied to shoppers, lied to the staff and outside contractors, and we all know countless MSC's that have gone under, leaving many shoppers and schedulers to foot the bill for their failed businesses. Other companies have had issues related to one or more of the staff members stealing, embezzling, and such. None of this really points to the companies being there for the greater good.

I think much of this has to do with them employing a majority of workers that are simply destitute. They have utilized the economic crash to push back on lowering wages, then hand out crumbs and are happy when people flock to pick them up. There's not a lot of respect on either side....
This is one of the few industries where there is absolutely no educational, financial, or background check requirement to start up in business. On either side - IC or company owner.

There are MSC owners in this business with multiple bankruptcies, with felony convictions, and who have 10th grade education levels.

After over a decade doing this work, beginning when I was a full-time science teacher doing the work as a side gig, I’ve seen shady business practices that would not be out of place in pawn shops, paycheck loan firms, or garbage collection.

I just got a dozen emails from six different MSPs and schedulers in the last half hour, asking me to violate my state’s quarantine regulations and go out to evaluate businesses that will be closing at 6 pm today. Obviously a last-minute push to grab that Almighty Dollar.

It’s so slimy. Such a casual disregard for their ICs health and well-being, not to mention communities as a whole.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/20/2020 03:02PM by ColoKate63.
Maybe I'm just being Pollyanna, but I have to believe that most of the emails might be auto generated and the MSCs just haven't as yet changed their systems or turned them off or whatever they need to do. I've been getting tons of emails for retail stores which are all closed here in NJ and NY.

*****************************************************************************
A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.

Zen Shin Talks
@ColoKate63 wrote:

This is one of the few industries where there is absolutely no educational, financial, or background check requirement to start up in business. On either side.

It's definitely very lax. I was surprised by it.

Although, Market Force did make me submit two referrals/recommenders (is that a word?). I really cannot think of another company (maybe The Source?...or maybe that was just my license they asked for - can't remember) that asked for such background checking. I think MFI also does a full background check?

They were literally the first company I signed up with, so I have pretty vivid recollection. After that, most companies felt like it was quick approval.
But MSC's are not giant corporations for the most part. These are businesses that are already being run remotely from home in many cases.

If almost every company in CA can switch to a remote workforce in 48 hours, a MSC cannot bother to shut off auto-generated emails and adjust the scheduling system?

Many of the offers I have received are also specifically written emails, texts and phone calls as well. These companies are trying to stay in business when the socially responsible thing to do would be call off all shops and inform their clients that business will resume when it's safe to do so.

I'm sorry, but your $20 bonus is not going save me when I am out of work for a month...especially when you take 60 days to pay!
I was assuming that the schedulers sending out the emails have to because it's their job and they want to keep it as long as possible. Is that incorrect? That doesn't excuse the MSC however. Trying to send potentially infected shoppers into nursing homes is beyond reprehensible.

I enjoy awkward questions and uncomfortable silences. This gas station pavement is $%^@*#& hot.
@CoffeeQueen wrote:

I was assuming that the schedulers sending out the emails have to because it's their job and they want to keep it as long as possible. Is that incorrect? That doesn't excuse the MSC however. Trying to send potentially infected shoppers into nursing homes is beyond reprehensible.

I eagerly await the day when schedulers go the way of buggy whips, replaced by smartphone apps.
Not sure best thread to post this. I just scheduled a bone in ham shop for April 9th. This is the first time I've been able to get one of these. Three weeks from now so who knows what will happen before then.
I too am upset about all the emails I am getting about jobs I could not even do if I wanted to due to closures. But on the other hand I am bombarded on tv and with emails from retail stores I am signed up with about in store sales. These stores have been closed for over a week already where I live. Can't they pull these ads or at least insert some sort of qualifier about the coronavirus issue, even to the point of empathizing and say something about using the deals online now instead of in store?
...stupid shop of the hour: The “go to Home Depot and bother the Behr paint rep” — for $10 plus a whole $5 bonus...
@JASFLALMT wrote:

Like why in the world would the Behr paint rep even be working, LOL!

I actually just ordered $150 in paint, rollers and drop cloths from Home Depot’s website so I can repaint three rooms in my house that have always annoyed me. Might as well make productive use of my quarantine “down” time... wouldn’t do it as a shop, though.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/20/2020 07:33PM by ColoKate63.
I am getting an offer to be a greeter at some store for $10. I think it was from Bare.
I got irritated by the Behr job that keeps coming in. Ummmm...shelter in place. Stay home. Not going into HD to fake a Behr rep right now. Just not going to....
What about the client? Who, exactly, has requested these assignments? I have not seen any contracts, but I surmise that MSC's are attempting to fulfill terms of a contract. [Are they required to make some designated number of attempts to fulfill each assignment? Something else?] I thought of that based upon a previous job. Unless we received a specific command not to make further attempts, we were required to make a certain number of attempts to contact people. This number was duly coded, and we moved on to something else.

@CoffeeQueen wrote:

I was assuming that the schedulers sending out the emails have to because it's their job and they want to keep it as long as possible. Is that incorrect? That doesn't excuse the MSC however. Trying to send potentially infected shoppers into nursing homes is beyond reprehensible.

A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence. ― Leopold Stokowski
Katie states--There are MSC owners in this business with multiple bankruptcies, with felony convictions, and who have 10th grade education levels.

Bob comments--This certainly may be correct, but I do not have knowledge of such a situation.

Katie further states--After over a decade doing this work, beginning when I was a full-time science teacher doing the work as a side gig, I’ve seen shady business practices that would not be out of place in pawn shops, paycheck loan firms, or garbage collection.

Bob comments- This may also be correct, but after almost two decades shopping, I have, to my knowledge, not experienced said practices. I have had disagreements and terminated 10 MSCs, but that is business.

Katie states--I just got a dozen emails from six different MSPs and schedulers in the last half hour, asking me to violate my state’s quarantine regulations and go out to evaluate businesses that will be closing at 6 pm today. Obviously a last-minute push to grab that Almighty Dollar.

Bob comments-While I have received a few job offers, none have suggested they were attempting to send me anywhere. I do agree it was a last minute attempt to fill shops, but it was my responsibility to weigh the risk:reward ratio, which I did, and I declined the work.

A suggestion to all that are of the opinion that companies offering, as opposed to requiring, work are engaging in criminal and/or reprehensible behavior: Fire them! Some shoppers have indicated they will pursue that option and take a stand for what they consider just. I know if I felt, as some of you folks do, I would not hesitate to "pull the plug" on any MSC I considered to be involved in unacceptable conduct..
Now this is interesting. I can think of three jobs that MSC's may have in-house or outsource. Are you suggesting that writing software, writing technical reports, and editing require no education and no funding whatsoever?

And let me ask you this. When you started your IC mystery shopping business, whom did you hire to investigate you?


@shoptastic wrote:

@ColoKate63 wrote:

This is one of the few industries where there is absolutely no educational, financial, or background check requirement to start up in business. On either side.

It's definitely very lax. I was surprised by it.

Although, Market Force did make me submit two referrals/recommenders (is that a word?). I really cannot think of another company (maybe The Source?...or maybe that was just my license they asked for - can't remember) that asked for such background checking. I think MFI also does a full background check?

They were literally the first company I signed up with, so I have pretty vivid recollection. After that, most companies felt like it was quick approval.

A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence. ― Leopold Stokowski
Shop-et-al,

Did you mean to quote me above?

Regardless, yeah, I am guessing MSCs background check and thoroughly interview their employees. But, on the shopper side, we aren't really interviewed and background checked (that I know of, at least).

Okay, maybe that makes sense, given we're technically our own business owners. I still to this day cannot get that out of my brain. I feel like an employee, despite having IC status.
@Shop-et-al wrote:

Now this is interesting. I can think of three jobs that MSC's may have in-house or outsource. Are you suggesting that writing software, writing technical reports, and editing require no education and no funding whatsoever?

And let me ask you this. When you started your IC mystery shopping business, whom did you hire to investigate you?


@shoptastic wrote:

@ColoKate63 wrote:

This is one of the few industries where there is absolutely no educational, financial, or background check requirement to start up in business. On either side.

It's definitely very lax. I was surprised by it.

Although, Market Force did make me submit two referrals/recommenders (is that a word?). I really cannot think of another company (maybe The Source?...or maybe that was just my license they asked for - can't remember) that asked for such background checking. I think MFI also does a full background check?

They were literally the first company I signed up with, so I have pretty vivid recollection. After that, most companies felt like it was quick approval.

#1-All Nevada shoppers have undergone a background check by the PILB

#2-I was drug tested and interviewed by the company that hired me as a shopper in CA.

#3-No business owner drug tests or does background checks on themselves. No matter how small or large the business. The point of that is making sure you can trust the person you are doing business with.

#4-I was specifically not drug tested, nor given a background check, credit check or had any references checked before becoming an employee of an MSC where I ended up being the director of operations.

#5-I agree with Kate. None of that is required to start and run an MSC, but I do find those who come from a strong educational background appear to be more successful at it.
... would it be a good idea for each potential mystery shopper to look before they leap?

Is each person prepared to be glorified for full-on big MS-ing careers and castigated for anything less? I would warn newbies that success is theirs to do and define. The large MS personalities here are willing and able to share helpful information for any scope of work in this industry. They are not necessarily to be emulated. They should be respected.

For example, one of the most successful mystery shoppers that I know of lives in a different world than I do. They have access to shops that link together in astonishing sets of day and multi-day routes. They seem to have one more college degree than I do, which does not seem to make a difference in this. They are available for interstate travel and they have means to accomplish the work and wait for payment.

(If I lived in the same or a similar place, I would not have my humble day job. I would be free for full days of work near home and far from home. I choose to be here because the lack of assignments is more than offset by the the availability of wide expanses of empty space. This is a personal choice that became clear and beloved over time. I can live better with it than without it. This is not an example of how any mystery shopper "should" be. It should be respected instead of construed as the product of presumed lack of education or other uninformed disparagement.)

If the wildly successful shopper's accomplishments were the only goal or measure of success, then people like me would walk away before taking one assignment. We can appreciate that their careers are an artful blend of their natures, abilities and opportunities. We can be ourselves and have a different proportion of MS-ing in our lives. We should realize and accept that some people will downgrade us simply because we choose a smaller proportion of MS-ing than they do. We can respond to that generously.

Based upon five years of experience with this forum, I suggest that each shopper should be allowed to feel and be free to define their own success, fit their mystery shopping into whatever parameters suit them, and try to be happy for all shoppers. I have tired of the supercilious, haughty, blaring yet tacit demands that the only way to be is to be a busy shopper who rakes in pots and pots of money. I happen to like my wee work because I have other things to do. I know that my amount of effort in various endeavors is sufficient and that what I do is enough. But what other people who might need to hear this supportive sort of message once or a few thousand times? OTOH, many assignments are temporarily gone for everyone and no one knows how many more will be placed on hold or discontinued permanently. The entire matter might have reached a tipping point and be a thing of the past.

A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence. ― Leopold Stokowski
I returned emails today asking for a letter from them citing they were essential services....dont expect any responses
Have you ever wondered why there is a complicated network of platforms and companies that change names and schedulers, and how the same job is somehow available through different companies? When I read the IRS regulations, shoppers should not be 1099 employees. But if anyone were to try to investigate, it would take years just to figure out who is involved. I've gotten emails from people which listed seven different companies. Have you ever seen that anywhere else?
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