IMSC: What is it? What purpose does it serve?

RE: Independent Mystery Shoppers Coalition (IMSC)

In light of a different recent thread, I thought it would be helpful to open up a thread that define this entity, described its purpose, etc. The other thread has plenty of opinions, but, I am guessing that most shoppers don't have a good handle on what it is and what purpose it serves (attempts to serve) for shoppers and/or MSC's.

I know this:
* It offers training for mystery shoppers for a fee.
* Shoppers can become members for a $25 annual fee.
* It runs several Facebook sites that hook shoppers up with schedulers, offer advice, etc.
* It offers annual conferences that offer to train shoppers and hook them up with MSC's.
* It has sponsors (such as LegalShield)

A REQUEST: The other thread makes it clear that there is some controversy surrounding the IMSC. It would be great to leave the "controversy" in the other thread and let this one just describe the nature of the entity itself.

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

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It’s an unprofessional organization, run by an unprofessional group of people, and serves little purpose other than to reach into the wallets of naive shoppers.

MF, have you ever attended an IMSC Convention? Been a speaker there? I wonder at the timing of this thread, you are obviously shilling for the IMSC.

Editing to add: The founder of the IMSC is permanently banned from this forum. She frequently enlists members to post here on her behalf. I have text messages from her to me asking me to do so in the past. This is not in the spirit of open and honest discussion, and not at all what Jacob would want to happen.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/23/2020 01:35PM by ColoKate63.
@ColoKate63
Thank you for the blunt and, quite rude, reply. The question was an honest one. I am guessing that most folks on this board don't have a good handle of what the IMSC is (including me) and I was hopeful that folks could manage to share their knowledge without being insulting. I guess not?

But, to answer your questions, and add clarity to them:
* No, I have never been a speaker at an IMSC conference. I have been invited to do so, but declined.
* No, I have never attended an IMSC conference.
* No, I am not a paid member of the IMSC.
* No, I have never paid for any IMSC training.
* No, I have never met the founder, nor have I ever had more than a brief exchange with her (five or six sentences).
* No, I do not have any intention to be a "shill" for the IMSC - nor do I have the purpose of verbally abusing them (or anybody else).
* Yes, I have used their websites to find good-paying mystery shopping work. I used them to build some very profitable out-of-town routes.
* As for the "timing" of this thread... The other thread just exploded onto the forum. I wanted to know what the IMSC was, without all the impassioned insults.

You namedrop Jacob (owner of this forum) and site "honest discussion." I have no relationship with Jacob, but I do know that he expects our discourse to be honest and civil.

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


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/23/2020 01:54PM by MFJohnston.
@MFJohnston wrote:

@ColoKate63
Thank you for the blunt and, quite rude, reply. The question was an honest one. I am guessing that most folks on this board don't have a good handle of what the IMSC is (including me) and I was hopeful that folks could manage to share their knowledge without being insulting. I guess not?

But, to answer your questions, and add clarity to them:
* No, I have never been a speaker at an IMSC conference. I have been invited to do so, but declined.
* No, I have never attended an IMSC conference.
* No, I am not a paid member of the IMSC.
* No, I have never paid for any IMSC training.
* No, I have never met the founder, nor have I ever had more than a brief exchange with her (five or six sentences).
* No, I do not have any intention to be a "shill" for the IMSC - nor do I have the purpose of verbally abusing them (or anybody else).
* Yes, I have used their websites to find good-paying mystery shopping work. I used them to build some very profitable out-of-town routes.

You namedrop Jacob (owner of this forum) and site "honest discussion." I have no relationship with Jacob, but I do know that he expects our discourse to be honest and civil.

MF,

I am a blunt and to-the-point, no-B.S. kind of person. It serves me well in this business.

I also have previous experience with IMSC Pam, and have little doubt that you have been enlisted to post a “positive and uplifting “ thread to get around the permanent ban that IMSC Pam is under on this forum. It is very interesting that you took time out from your day to start a thread here when you have very little firsthand experience with the organization.

Good luck with this. There is a long line of people who can testify that the IMSC burned them, and I expect that they will arrive here shortly.
I'm "blunt" and "to the point," too. However, I try to do so without insulting folks or being rude- there is a difference.... I took the time to start a thread because I didn't have first hand knowledge and wanted information. That's why a lot of threads on this forum are started.


@ColoKate63 wrote:



MF,

I am a blunt and to-the-point, no-B.S. kind of person. It serves me well in this business.

I also have previous experience with IMSC Pam, and have little doubt that you have been enlisted to post a “positive and uplifting “ thread to get around the permanent ban that IMSC Pam is under on this forum. It is very interesting that you took time out from your day to start a thread here when you have very little firsthand experience with the organization.

Good luck with this. There is a long line of people who can testify that the IMSC burned them, and I expect that they will arrive here shortly.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
@MFJohnston wrote:

I'm "blunt" and "to the point," too. However, I try to do so without insulting folks or being rude- there is a difference.... I took the time to start a thread because I didn't have first hand knowledge and wanted information. That's why a lot of threads on this forum are started.

OK, let’s recap.

You have five bullet points on your original post, including some deep-insider information on an IMSC sponsor (LegalShield) - but you “don’t know” anything about the organization?

Gosh, it’s almost like someone spoon-fed you that bullet-pointed information. Hmmmmmm.

Come ON, dude. You are straining credulity.

I feel sorry for you, because I’ve been where you are; used as a sock puppet.

There’s a better and more honest way to live.
@ColoKate63
Before asking the question, I Googled the IMSC website.

You have now made three posts, all of which have been rude and insulting. Yet, you have failed to actually answer the questions.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
A quick search of the forum shows that the IMSC has been mentioned more than 3,000 times over the past 10 years. Information for anyone who is curious is readily available.
I just searched for "IMSC" on the forum. I got 119 hits, almost all of which were in the two recent threads. The others threads mentioned the IMSC in passing, but did not help to define it.

[www.mysteryshopforum.com]

@Mert wrote:

A quick search of the forum shows that the IMSC has been mentioned more than 3,000 times over the past 10 years. Information for anyone who is curious is readily available.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
IMSC was originally conceived on another forum as a way for shoppers to have an excuse to go to Las Vegas and tax deduct the trip as a business expense because the MSPA that year decided NOT to have a shopper Gold Certification session. Originally a number of folks who have migrated to this forum were involved and originally the IMSC was to be a not-for-profit organization. I don't know whether the contentiousness of all of that was removed from the Volition forum or not, but in any event it is no longer available as the Volition forum was taken down.

MFJohnston is correct in the stated purposes of IMSC as far as I know and that is available information to members and non-members. I am not and never have been a member of IMSC, paying or otherwise, nor have I ever visited a convention or visited the Facebook pages.

I do know some shoppers who have been presenters. I do know some shoppers who have paid their $$ to go to the conventions. And I also know some shoppers who have bought certifications from the MSPA and paid their $$ to go to MSPA conventions.

My consistent and ongoing stance is that you need to pay no one a thin dime beyond your equipment to do this business successfully. You do not need to buy books, certifications, referral services, spreadsheets, accounting software, membership fees, conference fees, etc. etc. This forum is free, has always been free, hopefully will always be free and has a lot of folks active in the trenches who have always been willing to advise. They will not and cannot do everything for you--that is your responsibility as an owner of your own small business--but this is not rocket science.
@ColoKate63 On the current threads there was at least one person who had never heard of IMSC. I can see the intent was to simply describe the organization much as someone would if new shoppers/members were unfamiliar with the MSPA. @MFJohnston has stated this was garnered from the mission statement on the IMSC website, nothing more, nothing less. Personally, I find it totally appropriate for shoppers with experience with the organization to use this thread to discuss whether the IMSC is living up to it's own mission statement and offer honest feedback including negative feedback. I don't find it appropriate to attack the OP with unfounded accusations.

When IMSC was founded I saw an opportunity for it to be a positive force. IMO, it has not taken long for the mission statement to be forgotten and buried. It should never have been a for profit entity. Now that the board includes MSC owners I consider it nothing more than MSPA lite.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
Predicated upon Katie's past posting, my opinion was that she had a refreshingly candid approach. This attack upon MFJ, however, is rude and filled with unsubstantiated accusations. She has definitely crossed the line from a style of OP ED to BS, as MFJ has posted advice to others, none of which I recall even bordering on ill conceived or devoid of fact.

The decision to begin this thread was logical, in that the other had deteriorated and no longer served the function of being objective. I do not criticize subjectivity; it, by its name, though, does not project objectivity.
I know for a fact that IMSC Pam has been emailing/texting forum members over the past day, asking them to post pro-IMSC material here in response to Tobiz777’s post from yesterday. I’ve got screenshots.

In the past, I received emails and texts (mostly texts) from her asking me to post pro-IMSC material. Again: I have screenshots.

It’s a sneaky and unethical way to get around being permanently banned from posting here. I have no concrete proof to demonstrate that MFJ recently received communication from IMSC Pam, but I would, based on my firsthand experience with her, bet a significant amount of money that she did.

###
But what about the rest of us? I have not been contacted, and I had no prior information. I had no involvement with the organization's leader at Volition, conferences, or any other place.

I am a newbie to the topic, and I regard the OP's approach in this thread as reasonable.

The most dangerous idea is silencing people. - Naval Ravikant
Kate, is it your perception that this thread is singing the praises of the IMSC? I think you are mistaken and misguided. I, too, am no fan of Pam's or the IMSC and I make no bones about it. It is, however, not unreasonable to convey factoids about something some/many people may not be familiar with without the messenger being shot or held up for ridicule. We all are judged by our behaviors, including yourself and myself.
@Flash wrote:

Kate, is it your perception that this thread is singing the praises of the IMSC? I think you are mistaken and misguided. I, too, am no fan of Pam's or the IMSC and I make no bones about it. It is, however, not unreasonable to convey factoids about something some/many people may not be familiar with without the messenger being shot or held up for ridicule. We all are judged by our behaviors, including yourself and myself.

Yes, based on the bullet-point text that highlighted several specific services/advantages that the IMSC (allegedly) provides its members. And I know that at least two forum members have been contacted to provide positive, pro-IMSC material here.

Only MFJ knows if she/he was recruited as a sock puppet or not. I have not seen her/him confirm or deny anything yet. At this point I kind of don’t care.

I’m going to rake my back yard, clean up deer scat and refresh my bird feeders now. Currently on Day 10 of in-home isolation due to COVID19, and this entire discussion depresses me and I have to move forward, not back, with my day.
@ColoKate63 wrote:


Only MFJ knows if she/he was recruited as a sock puppet or not. I have not seen her/him confirm or deny anything yet. At this point I kind of don’t care.

For Pete's sake! You already quoted MFJ's post that they are/were not affiliated in any way with IMSC except for using the IMSC Facebook site for scheduler contact to set up route work.

From your repost of MFJ:

"But, to answer your questions, and add clarity to them:
* No, I have never been a speaker at an IMSC conference. I have been invited to do so, but declined.
* No, I have never attended an IMSC conference.
* No, I am not a paid member of the IMSC.
* No, I have never paid for any IMSC training.
* No, I have never met the founder, nor have I ever had more than a brief exchange with her (five or six sentences).
* No, I do not have any intention to be a "shill" for the IMSC - nor do I have the purpose of verbally abusing them (or anybody else).
* Yes, I have used their websites to find good-paying mystery shopping work. I used them to build some very profitable out-of-town routes. "

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/23/2020 05:15PM by Flash.
I have had dealings with Pam.

She is definitely a no-nonsense, git 'er done personality.

I tried to do some phone shops for her last year. I was a catastrophic failure; throughout, she was encouraging and positive. I always felt she had my back.

If she were a man, she'd be called aggressive, on the ball, top of the heap; a go-getter, the guy you definitely want on your team.

Those characteristics, when evidenced by a WOMAN, are labeled in less rosy terms. In fact, in downright derogatory terms.

I deeply regret not being able to meet her exacting standards. It was my inability to deal with the tech stuff (screenshots, specifically) that was my downfall. But I wasn't any good at the phone call part, either! In fact, I sucked. I admit it.

And no, she has NOT asked me to post here. I have not heard from her since my failure to adequately perform.

I have nothing but respect for her, based solely on my personal history.

("There's no crying in mystery shopping", she once told me when I was in tears over the phone calls and screenshots. She does not suffer fools.)
This might get juicy like the other thread.... Post those screenshot!!!

This site is HTML based, so [ i m g ] *insert direct jpg links* [/ i m g] is how you post pictures, minus the spaces I added in smiling smiley

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 03/23/2020 08:33PM by Tarantado.
@ceasesmith wrote:

If she were a man, she'd be called aggressive, on the ball, top of the heap; a go-getter, the guy you definitely want on your team.

Those characteristics, when evidenced by a WOMAN, are labeled in less rosy terms. In fact, in downright derogatory terms.

Errr...have you seen what's been going on recently in the corporate world? People who are aggressive, in it only for themselves, and not willing to tolerate differences between themselves an other are no longer welcome #metoo

Statements like, "There's no crying in [name your profession]," can get you fired in 2020.....
@ceasesmith, I have yet to see even the slightest hint of sexism in the complaints lodged. The complaints reference traits which would never be discussed in glowing terms whether it was a man or a woman.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
And for clarity. I'm a friend of Lisa's outside of this forum and feel qualified to make this statement. if anything she is hyper sensitive to sexism.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
@bgriffin wrote:

And for clarity. I'm a friend of Lisa's outside of this forum and feel qualified to make this statement. if anything she is hyper sensitive to sexism.
I am not "hyper sensitive" to sexism. I am just aware after having experienced it for 40 years.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
@LisaSTL wrote:

I am not "hyper sensitive" to sexism. I am just aware after having experienced it for 40 years.

Dear you're older than 40. winking smiley

I realize hyper sensitive was not the correct phrasing.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
Dear, I am referring to my years working. Although, I did experience various sexist policies as far back as grade school. For example, after scoring high in areas of study which would lend themselves well to becoming an engineer or architect it was not suggested I consider pursuing either of those like it was for the male students. Instead they suggested I go into interior decorating. More than once teachers also recommended teaching for the female students because it was a good job for a wife and mother.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
You are WAY off base here. I promise you that MFJ has NO affiliation with IMSC.

@ColoKate63 wrote:

Only MFJ knows if she/he was recruited as a sock puppet or not. I have not seen her/him confirm or deny anything yet. At this point I kind of don’t care.
.
Interesting... There is clearly a very colorful history that predates my mystery shopping years. For the sake of sanity, I'll refrain from asking more questions...

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
we should all be sensitive to sexism. aware..woke. but by adding the word hyper to essentially turbo charge a real issue which impacts everyone, this only serves to divide people and, thus, sexism continues. mission accomplished, at least for a little while longer.

CSmith: < snip >If she were a man, she'd be called aggressive, on the ball, top of the heap; a go-getter, the guy you definitely want on your team. < end snip >

No, I would not want that sort of person, regardless of their gender, on my team. Not now and not ever and here's why: at some point the tail tries to wag the dog. tried real hard. spot this early and save yourself a lot of trouble.
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