Has Competition Been More Fierce Since Recession Began?

I agree that most shoppers fall in the 50+ range. I'm over 50 but in good health so I have not been overly concerned with performing shops. I stopped shopping for some time due to low fees, but came back at the beginning of COVID to do Gas Audits to make extra money. Now I have decided to do it full time. I, too, try and encourage younger people to do shops, but I have found planning and organization isn't their strong suit and if you can't do those things you probably won't make $ as a shopper. In Texas we have pretty much opened up so we seem to have a good deal of shops and shoppers, but I still see many Fast Food shops on the boards at bonus.

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I've been getting many (MANY! ) e-mails from schedulers asking me if I will drive out of my area for very nice bonuses. They state "There are no shoppers active in this area, will you drive to Kansas (or Colorado, or Wyoming, or South Dakota) for $125 bonus?"

Then I use that as my anchor shop, and build a route (which also now includes merchandising, which is also in bonus territory now -- maybe a lot of merchandisers are over 50, as well? ).

I can use a $150 anchor shop to build a lucrative route almost anywhere within one day's drive, using C-store and gas station shops to fill in.
There seems to be a much greater demand for shoppers now than pre-Covid. I suspect that is because the smart shoppers who can afford to are staying home to avoid catching the virus. The number of new infections daily in the USA is at an all-time high right now.
@AZwolfman wrote:

There seems to be a much greater demand for shoppers now than pre-Covid. I suspect that is because the smart shoppers who can afford to are staying home to avoid catching the virus. The number of new infections daily in the USA is at an all-time high right now.
Yeah. This is probably abnormal I'm guessing? Most recessions lead to more desperate people.

But, THIS pandemic recession also means lots of older workers don't want to go out for shops. That serves as a counterbalancing force in the supply and demand equation.
@shoptastic wrote:

@AZwolfman wrote:

There seems to be a much greater demand for shoppers now than pre-Covid. I suspect that is because the smart shoppers who can afford to are staying home to avoid catching the virus. The number of new infections daily in the USA is at an all-time high right now.
Yeah. This is probably abnormal I'm guessing? Most recessions lead to more desperate people.

But, THIS pandemic recession also means lots of older workers don't want to go out for shops. That serves as a counterbalancing force in the supply and demand equation.

Correct. As mentioned earlier, more than half (closer to 70%) of experienced shoppers are not shopping right now.
I would do that, too... if I could control the start/stop time of the early job, could assure a given span of time, and did not need sleep.


You rock!

@ceasesmith wrote:

I've been getting many (MANY! ) e-mails from schedulers asking me if I will drive out of my area for very nice bonuses. They state "There are no shoppers active in this area, will you drive to Kansas (or Colorado, or Wyoming, or South Dakota) for $125 bonus?"

Then I use that as my anchor shop, and build a route (which also now includes merchandising, which is also in bonus territory now -- maybe a lot of merchandisers are over 50, as well? ).

I can use a $150 anchor shop to build a lucrative route almost anywhere within one day's drive, using C-store and gas station shops to fill in.

Things are not to be judged good or bad merely because the public think so. - Tacitus
My usual shopping areas have consistently had the highest Covid numbers in LA/OC since the outbreak. These neighborhoods tended to get bonuses due to their less than optimal locations but let's be real this is So Cal the bonuses were pretty small. Being over 50 it's not worth the risk. I have been watching the boards and emails and haven't seen any real bonuses.
Count me as one of those "experienced shoppers 50+" who are currently staying at home. My last shop was done on March 10th. I have not been shopping since and have no plans to go out again until after I have received a vaccine. It's just not worth it to me to risk serious illness or death for the modest amount of money I would have earned had I continued.
Strange...for me, competition seems to be much higher. None of the shops are getting very high bonuses before being snatched up. Many of them seem to be taken at base pay. I don't know, maybe there are just a couple of really active shoppers in my area who are taking all the shops early?
@sstsau wrote:

Strange...for me, competition seems to be much higher. None of the shops are getting very high bonuses before being snatched up. Many of them seem to be taken at base pay. I don't know, maybe there are just a couple of really active shoppers in my area who are taking all the shops early?
Local economics maybe, sstsau.

Perhaps on the larger scale, things are imbalanced in favor shoppers, but then locally there are pockets of imbalances going towards MSCs.

I just know that here in Virginia, we have one of the better unemployment rates (likely due to so many government and military jobs that are recession proof) compared with other states, so there may be less "desperation" among shoppers. Check your state/city's unemployment figures and how they rank nationwide.

I haven't seen more shops (definitely less), but not that much less. I'm guessing 10% of shops are gone, but that means lots of shops still exist. Gone are lots of restaurant shops that paid a nice fee on top of reimbursement. But, surprisingly, there is one that is going very strong. Very good bonus/fee ($20-40) on top of the meal. Whenever I've driven by the place, it's always got plenty of cars in front of it.

Coming out of the recession, there could be some big winners amongst the surviving restaurants as weaker competitors and/or those not getting PPP aid could have gone under. It'll be interesting to hear stories of how people's shops and local economies are doing.
I'm super, SUPER busy since August.
I am staying safe by keeping my interactions as short as possible, wearing glasses for my eyes, double-masking (a 3M N95 under cloth cover) and using hand sanitizer before and after each time I get out of the car. Showering immediately after returning home, too.
Also - turning down any video work that entails anything longer than a quick interaction with a salesperson. That means no apartments, no dine-in restaurants, and definitely no new homes or new car video shops. Just not worth it, because even the "regular" shops are getting heavily bonused in my area. No routes, although daggone there are some areas with $$$$$ out there and I miss traveling SOOOO much!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/18/2020 05:55PM by ColoKate63.
I'm with sstsau, not much bonusing going on on my 200 mile radius. Even on remote locations. I remember an Ipsos rep saying that by acquiring other msc's, they could enlarge their database of shopper competition and pay less. Something to that effect. It looks like they're getting their wish, as far as I can see.

sestrahelena
With a few companies, I have been picking up assignments in my preferred cities. Finally! In a perfect world, I would work this little triangle a few times per year and have perfectly balanced work days. On the possible down side, I wonder if the person/-s who used to do these gigs dropped out due to fear, caution, illness, or some other sad condition. I only want gigs that are available due to general attrition; I cannot control what happens with other people and hope for the best.

Things are not to be judged good or bad merely because the public think so. - Tacitus
@Shop-et-al wrote:

On the possible down side, I wonder if the person/-s who used to do these gigs dropped out due to fear, caution, illness, or some other sad condition. I only want gigs that are available due to general attrition; I cannot control what happens with other people and hope for the best.
I think one can simultaneously feel bad for someone who may have left their shops for medical reasons, while still happily embracing the new opportunities left open. I've wondered these things as well.

Ultimately, I think you can honor those who've left (for whatever reason) by doing a great job. It's funny that shoppers from all over share a weird "bond" of sorts. There are quirks about the job - the good, the bad, and the funny - that only another shopper can relate to. For those who've left, they'll always be a part of us in our shared, unique, and quirky memories and experiences.

So, I say keep on keeping on. Keep hunting those elusive big bonus shops. Keep sharing your shopper jokes and stories. Keep griping about low-ball/10-foot pole gigs. Do the things we've always done and do them well in honor of those who can no longer shop.
Even though there's still plenty of work out there, I called it a halt today - 90 deaths yesterday in my state, we went to Code Red, and the positive rate is edging up to 15%. Three of yesterday's evaluation locations were closed unexpectedly due to COVID outbreaks.

I actually teared up a little, writing to my schedulers and asking them to pull my remaining shops.

Hopefully we can all get back to business in 6-8 months. Stay safe, everyone.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/20/2020 11:06PM by ColoKate63.
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