FIVE GUYS IS BACK!!

??? I have never purchased a gift or other card as part of a mystery shop. Sounds dicey, in the shaky economy that is compounded by covid concerns.

Can you include a redacted copy of the shop guidelines where it specifically states that you are required to purchase [whatever card] for this shop? Is this ok as per you IC agreement?

@sandyf wrote:

Nah, once I finish doing my taxes i will have plenty of time.
I don't suppose we can take our gift cards as a loss since they were purchased to be used on mystery shops.
On my regular taxes it would not amount to much but against my mystery shopping fees it would at least help. But then i have no way to prove they were a cost of this business.

@JustForFun wrote:

Gift card = "unsecured debt" = fat chance in bankruptcy.

Unless you have far more gift card dollars outstanding than most, you'll probably spent a bunch of time filling out forms (or paying a lawyer / paralegal to fill out forms) and get little to nothing for it.

@sandyf wrote:

Souplantation...Evidently they filed for bankruptcy. Does anyone know the process for applying for bankruptcy funds for unused gift cards? There are lots of those out there but I doubt the company keeps track of names and emails of people who purchased them.

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the blue sky, is by no means waste of time. - John Lubbock, "Recreation," The Use of Life, 1894
_____
I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born. - Ronald Reagan
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I did not purchase a gift card as part of a mystery shop. I purchased it to USE on a mystery shop. Many of us do this. But there are in fact mystery shops that require you to purchase a gift card. I have done this in the past and the one i have may very possibly go under as well soon.

@Shop-et-al wrote:

??? I have never purchased a gift or other card as part of a mystery shop. Sounds dicey, in the shaky economy that is compounded by covid concerns.

Can you include a redacted copy of the shop guidelines where it specifically states that you are required to purchase [whatever card] for this shop? Is this ok as per you IC agreement?

@sandyf wrote:

Nah, once I finish doing my taxes i will have plenty of time.
I don't suppose we can take our gift cards as a loss since they were purchased to be used on mystery shops.
On my regular taxes it would not amount to much but against my mystery shopping fees it would at least help. But then i have no way to prove they were a cost of this business.

@JustForFun wrote:

Gift card = "unsecured debt" = fat chance in bankruptcy.

Unless you have far more gift card dollars outstanding than most, you'll probably spent a bunch of time filling out forms (or paying a lawyer / paralegal to fill out forms) and get little to nothing for it.

@sandyf wrote:

Souplantation...Evidently they filed for bankruptcy. Does anyone know the process for applying for bankruptcy funds for unused gift cards? There are lots of those out there but I doubt the company keeps track of names and emails of people who purchased them.
Ah. I understand now. Good luck with that (you and everyone else)! smiling smiley

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the blue sky, is by no means waste of time. - John Lubbock, "Recreation," The Use of Life, 1894
_____
I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born. - Ronald Reagan
_____
I doubt you can write them off as a loss after the fact unless you're using accrual accounting but you can probably directly expense them when purchased regardless. Things that you legitimately buy for business purposes can be expensed. It doesn't matter if ultimately the investment doesn't pan out.

Look at it like this. You buy a notepad so you can take notes at a business meeting. Your business pays the bill for the notepad and you deduct the money from your taxes. You have your meeting and take your notes but there's a lot of the notepad left for future use. Some time later you drop the notepad in a puddle on the way to the car and it's destroyed. It's still fully deductible because you bought it for legitimate business purposes even though the water damage prevented it from being fully consumed as intended. Your gift card which became worthless after you legitimately purchased it for business purposes is no different.

@sandyf wrote:

I don't suppose we can take our gift cards as a loss since they were purchased to be used on mystery shops.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/12/2020 08:44PM by JustForFun.
Hmm, that is an interesting theory. I purchased that gift card at the end of 2019 specifically for mystery shops but it was not a necessity for doing business as I could have just paid with my credit card. But I will be turning in my taxes to my accountant in a few days so I will run it by him.

@JustForFun wrote:

I doubt you can write them off as a loss after the fact unless you're using accrual accounting but you can probably directly expense them when purchased regardless. Things that you legitimately buy for business purposes can be expensed. It doesn't matter if ultimately the investment doesn't pan out.

Look at it like this. You buy a notepad so you can take notes at a business meeting. Your business pays the bill for the notepad and you deduct the money from your taxes. You have your meeting and take your notes but there's a lot of the notepad left for future use. Some time later you drop the notepad in a puddle on the way to the car and it's destroyed. It's still fully deductible because you bought it for legitimate business purposes even though the water damage prevented it from being fully consumed as intended. Your gift card which became worthless after you legitimately purchased it for business purposes is no different.

@sandyf wrote:

I don't suppose we can take our gift cards as a loss since they were purchased to be used on mystery shops.
Necessity isn't the bar. Convenience, best practice, preference, and a thousand other reasons are all valid. It's not like an employer might present it to an employee where they demand only essential expenses. If it makes business sense to you, the business owner, it's probably a fair deduction. You may be called to explain your logic or prove it's not outlandish someday but unless there is no justification whatsoever you're probably fine.

If a reasonable person in similar circumstances might make the same choice, you're fine. Many shoppers use gift cards wherever possible to protect their privacy and anonymity. It can be argued that this practice produces a better, more untraceable shop, That's in your best interest as well as the best interest of your client. Which is probably why you opted to do it in the first place. You provide a superior product because of your gift card use.

People could just write their business notes on the back of their hand rather than buy notepads, too. But there are many good reasons why they don't. The notepad isn't strictly speaking essential, but few would argue that it's an extravagance.

The other factor is the nature of the item purchased. A gift card is not really a financial instrument in the traditional sense. Gift cards can't usually be converted back into cash, at least not at full face value. It is a product, not a form of money. You surrendered cash and gained a promise of future product from a narrow subset of the market, from a specific store. You can't use it for anything but that.

@sandyf wrote:

Hmm, that is an interesting theory. I purchased that gift card at the end of 2019 specifically for mystery shops but it was not a necessity for doing business as I could have just paid with my credit card. But I will be turning in my taxes to my accountant in a few days so I will run it by him.

@JustForFun wrote:

I doubt you can write them off as a loss after the fact unless you're using accrual accounting but you can probably directly expense them when purchased regardless. Things that you legitimately buy for business purposes can be expensed. It doesn't matter if ultimately the investment doesn't pan out.

Look at it like this. You buy a notepad so you can take notes at a business meeting. Your business pays the bill for the notepad and you deduct the money from your taxes. You have your meeting and take your notes but there's a lot of the notepad left for future use. Some time later you drop the notepad in a puddle on the way to the car and it's destroyed. It's still fully deductible because you bought it for legitimate business purposes even though the water damage prevented it from being fully consumed as intended. Your gift card which became worthless after you legitimately purchased it for business purposes is no different.

@sandyf wrote:

I don't suppose we can take our gift cards as a loss since they were purchased to be used on mystery shops.
Just for fun, my gift card purchase was definitely a financial "business decision". Basically I was able during the holiday season, to get a gift card at a discount to the regular price. For many restaurant shops this would make a difference of being able to order a fancier entree than the cheapest one on the menu and still stay within the reimbursement budget.
So tomorrow I drop off my taxes and will take the guidance from my tax guy.
I think any of the buffet places will be toast and change their practices of how they serve food. That won't make me unhappy because I stopped eating at those places. People here would take their little kids and let them do some of their own food gathering - often reaching up with hands to grab things. Kind of turned me off. And the sneeze guards really didn't come down low enough.
Buffets seemed to have been going extinct even pre-COVID, no?

I cannot remember the last time I went to one or had someone ask to go to one. Feels like 10 years. I know people who like Asian buffets, because they're so cheap. But, an American buffet...??? ...I really think it's been 10 years. And I'm not included places that have like the AYCE garden bars with regular made-to-order meals. Jason's Deli is like that and it's always packed. I'm speaking of pure buffets.
By "pure buffets" do you mean places that have nothing but a buffet choice and it is meat oriented? We have lots of buffets in So Cal esp at lunch or weekend brunch. They have been very popular in the past. I just got an email from El Torito (you may not consider that in the category of American food but in my city it is American food) that they will continue to have their buffets on lunch and weekends but it will not be serve yourself. Evidently you will still be able to choose what you want on your plate. My friends and I are partial to choose your own meal places, not only if they are ayce salads but so we can arrange for more of our individual favorites on our own plates vs more of an item we do not really like. Hopefully most places will figure it out so I no longer have to push aside the stuff that came with my dish that i do not like to be thrown out and the items which in most cases for my taste is the cheap stuff I can get more of. Many regular sit down places do not offer substitutions readily. Me, I prefer cheap dried reconstituted beans to the more costly fresh but overcooked veggies like green beans, corn, plain spinach and the like. Why even if i ever moved to another state I would still need to eat here in California...lol

@shoptastic wrote:

Buffets seemed to have been going extinct even pre-COVID, no?

I cannot remember the last time I went to one or had someone ask to go to one. Feels like 10 years. I know people who like Asian buffets, because they're so cheap. But, an American buffet...??? ...I really think it's been 10 years. And I'm not included places that have like the AYCE garden bars with regular made-to-order meals. Jason's Deli is like that and it's always packed. I'm speaking of pure buffets.
@sandyf wrote:

By "pure buffets" do you mean places that have nothing but a buffet choice and it is meat oriented?
Nope, doesn't have to be meat oriented - just that they don't have a made-to-order menu and you have to eat from the buffet.

Golden Corral has died here and seems to have gone down the tubes. I believe two have shut and one remains open (that one has a good location by a mall and has good customer service and food). At the closed one, I saw flies circling and cold/lukewarm food (supposed to be hot). Few customers. No one that I know of has wanted to go to a non-Asian buffet in about 10 years. lol
Are they being shopped by the usual company? I used to do Five Guys for a major company but then they blocked me from the shops.
@susan169 wrote:

Are they being shopped by the usual company? I used to do Five Guys for a major company but then they blocked me from the shops.
If you read thru the posts, you will see that the post title was a poor/childish attempt at humor and the shops aren't actually back yet.
Five guys has ZERO customers here often when I pass them at noon.

@BusyBeeBuzzBuzzBuzz wrote:

Funny! I miss my (yes, mine, mine, mine!) In-N-Out shops!.
I think the fee went down by a dollar but I took one anyway- it's not for another couple of weeks.
@FrugalCat wrote:

I think the fee went down by a dollar but I took one anyway- it's not for another couple of weeks.
FG is genuinely good food!

I loved their shops. $5 is disappointing, but I'm really surprised they have shops back.

They might be one of a handful of shops I'd take at base if convenient. Panda was another. Both had reasonable reports + yummy food!
@shoptastic wrote:

@FrugalCat wrote:

I think the fee went down by a dollar but I took one anyway- it's not for another couple of weeks.
FG is genuinely good food!

I loved their shops. $5 is disappointing, but I'm really surprised they have shops back.

They might be one of a handful of shops I'd take at base if convenient. Panda was another. Both had reasonable reports + yummy food!

I rarely do Five Guys because there isn't one close to me, but I miss the Panda shops.

A little nonsense now and then, is relished by the wisest men.
The location near me is not showing up, so I'm guessing that the fool who took the nearby Big Lots shop without a fee also grabbed at least one of them. The other two in my area are showing up.
For those who have taken a shop are you still required to sit for 10 minutes after you get the food? Depending on how crowded the restaurants are that might be a deal breaker for me if COVID cases rise again in my state.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/27/2020 12:20AM by NinS.
@NinS wrote:

For those who have taken a shop are you still required to sit for 10 minutes after you get the food? Depending on how crowded the restaurants are that might be a deal breaker for me if COVID cases rise again in my state.
I wish they would let you know in advance which shops are the order ahead variety. With those you can pick up the food and leave. As you're saying, in today's climate they would be preferable to many.

And I think it's 15 minutes after you get your meal.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/27/2020 02:51AM by MisterBill.
So happy they are back and still have a fee! So disappointed most of the other food shops from this MSC do not have fees...
My comment on buffets. It looks like the trend although many will go out of business as they were dying pre covid-19 is that the ones will go to either cafeteria style with workers serving you or a all you can eat but you order from a menu as much as you want as many times as you want. Wynn which was the first to open their Buffet in Vegas went to a menu ayce.

Shopping Western NY, Northeast and Central PA, and parts of Ohio and West Virginia. Have car will travel anywhere if the monies right.
I just went to Five Guys on my own dime a few days ago. Mask required when not seated at table, with 50% dinning from what they had Pre Covid-19. There were still plenty of tables empty when I went but alas no self serve peanuts. May be available if you ask in bags. I did not ask. I personally have no problem with dinning in but to each their own. I would say look at the shop and see if dinning in is required.

Shopping Western NY, Northeast and Central PA, and parts of Ohio and West Virginia. Have car will travel anywhere if the monies right.
I see them in my area also. Seems like all the available shops are "all day" timing, rather than specifically lunch or dinner like they usually were before covid-19. The job description "blurb" says: "The purpose of this shop is to evaluate customer service, food quality, and overall cleanliness of the establishment." I think that is what the MSC used to write for the general dine-in shops...the call-ahead or online shops usually stated that in the job blurb from what I remember.

I'd also be interested to hear from those who have accepted these new jobs if the requirements have changed?
The shops are showing in my area - $5 fee - even lower than pre-quarantine. I can't read the guidelines to figure out if anything has changed.
The one I states that if the dining room is closed, make it a take out shop. The one near me has outside seating as well as a dining room.
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