Panda-reimbursement too low...

@Notme2021.....you make some valid points like the FICA tax. But some points are not as valid like having a car and phone is something most people already have that are NOT shoppers. So you being a shopper didn't require you to go get a vehicle or a phone. As far as time spent looking for shops, last time I checked both Panda, JITB and others are sent to you, so it involves no search other than to click/accept a location that you want. Yes, not all shops are that spoon-fed like that.

Mystery shopping does not require people to work certain hours. You take the work you want to take and ignore the opportunities you feel are not worth the effort. There are enough shops to do that don't require monetary outlay (apartment shops, storage facilities, phone calls, etc) so those that have capital issues and cannot front money still have opportunities.

I'm always going to WANT the most $ I can get for as little effort as possible on my end. But I don't also think that I'm deserving of some terrific wage for something that most people can do. My teenage daughter could do shops (if an MSC would allow someone under 18 to signup). So let's not pretend this is a highly-skilled position. Just like most of us could walk into a grocery store and do those jobs with very little training, those grocery store workers could do mystery shopping with very little training as well. BTW, I'm not picking on grocery workers, I'm only pointing out that these are not what is considered "skilled labor."

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Some people have cars and some don’t. Working in a grocery store doesn’t require a reliable vehicle.

Do you mean that you get emails saying what shops are available? You still have to find your state in the email, check to see what locations are still available in that state, sign in, self-assign, etc. I’m sure this is all time you don’t consider “work” but it is.

Let’s say that you recalculate and instead of it taking you 10 minutes, it takes you 20 minutes per shop if you include drive time, parking, walking inside back to your car, all the admin time. (Would have to be very close, no traffic, no line). And you try to say, “Oh, but that’s still $24 an hour!” No, because of the expenses like mileage. Also, if you had 24 shops in your area, could you do three shops an hour, and complete 24 in a day? No. That’s why taking the tiny shops and calculating an hourly rate makes no sense whatsoever. There are reasons to do them (I’m doing a bunch of app-based jobs today that pay little but they pay within an hour or two and I need the cash to invest in more lucrative work), but receiving $24-$30 an hour is not one of those reasons because it’s not true.

I was talking about the Panda shop and the $8 reimbursement amount, which was the topic of this thread. It has value. Of course there are always other shops. That’s like telling the cashier to just find another job if they don’t like getting paid so little.

Grocery store cashiers in most states don’t make a living wage. I don’t care what skills someone has or does not have, they should receive a living wage for their 40+ hours.

We’re paid for having experience and common sense that children don’t have. I’m sorry you feel that your time spent has so little value, but it’s really not work for children.

@hbbigdaddy wrote:

@Notme2021.....you make some valid points like the FICA tax. But some points are not as valid like having a car and phone is something most people already have that are NOT shoppers. So you being a shopper didn't require you to go get a vehicle or a phone. As far as time spent looking for shops, last time I checked both Panda, JITB and others are sent to you, so it involves no search other than to click/accept a location that you want. Yes, not all shops are that spoon-fed like that.

Mystery shopping does not require people to work certain hours. You take the work you want to take and ignore the opportunities you feel are not worth the effort. There are enough shops to do that don't require monetary outlay (apartment shops, storage facilities, phone calls, etc) so those that have capital issues and cannot front money still have opportunities.

I'm always going to WANT the most $ I can get for as little effort as possible on my end. But I don't also think that I'm deserving of some terrific wage for something that most people can do. My teenage daughter could do shops (if an MSC would allow someone under 18 to signup). So let's not pretend this is a highly-skilled position. Just like most of us could walk into a grocery store and do those jobs with very little training, those grocery store workers could do mystery shopping with very little training as well. BTW, I'm not picking on grocery workers, I'm only pointing out that these are not what is considered "skilled labor."


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/23/2022 06:00PM by Notme2021.
I don't live my life around shops. I make shops fit into things I'm doing. Yes, some people are trying to make this a full-time job. I am not leaving my house to do any shop. I grab shops because I will already be there (same shopping center) or because I have a time gap to fill between events where I'm already outside of the house. There are plenty of shops I refuse that I feel are not paid worthy of the effort to do the assignment, but Panda is not one of them. It has to be the simplest food shop i am aware of.

I get that people doing this as a FT job need more money. But you still are avoiding the issue of "skills." I'm sorry if your children are incapable of getting a name of an employee at a retail/fast food establishment and documenting the time they entered/exited and what might have been said or if they were upsold something on a meal. There are jobs/professions that require real skills. Mystery shopping is not one of them. "Experience and common sense" are not needed for many of the mystery shops available.

As far as "living" wage, that is debatable. Most people live BEYOND their means regardless of their income. I have a rental house. I see the renters. They sometimes have nicer cars and the latest Iphones. I'm not going to go down the path of "living" wage. If America was so terrible, we wouldn't have so many people fighting to get across our borders for the opportunities some here don't want or want to complain about.

The best part about mystery shopping is that so many different people can do it and do it the way they want and best suits their life. There is nothing preventing a felon, a disabled person, a rich person, a poor person, any skin color or gender identity from completing a mystery shop. This is an opportunity that really does NOT discriminate unless it's a shop looking for specific target (which is a very small percentage of shops).
If you’re just doing shops at locations where you are anyway, then why are you talking about the hourly rate and implying people want to earn outrageous amounts? That’s irrelevant to you, and your calculations are completely inaccurate because they don’t include travel etc. that should be included. It’s just a bonus for you that you happen to be there.

I’ve never done a Panda shop (and most likely won’t because of dietary restrictions), so I don’t know that exact form—I’m just talking about the work generally when I say that it is not for children.

@hbbigdaddy wrote:

I don't live my life around shops. I make shops fit into things I'm doing. Yes, some people are trying to make this a full-time job. I am not leaving my house to do any shop. I grab shops because I will already be there (same shopping center) or because I have a time gap to fill between events where I'm already outside of the house. There are plenty of shops I refuse that I feel are not paid worthy of the effort to do the assignment, but Panda is not one of them. It has to be the simplest food shop i am aware of.

I get that people doing this as a FT job need more money. But you still are avoiding the issue of "skills." I'm sorry if your children are incapable of getting a name of an employee at a retail/fast food establishment and documenting the time they entered/exited and what might have been said or if they were upsold something on a meal. There are jobs/professions that require real skills. Mystery shopping is not one of them. "Experience and common sense" are not needed for many of the mystery shops available.

As far as "living" wage, that is debatable. Most people live BEYOND their means regardless of their income. I have a rental house. I see the renters. They sometimes have nicer cars and the latest Iphones. I'm not going to go down the path of "living" wage. If America was so terrible, we wouldn't have so many people fighting to get across our borders for the opportunities some here don't want or want to complain about.

The best part about mystery shopping is that so many different people can do it and do it the way they want and best suits their life. There is nothing preventing a felon, a disabled person, a rich person, a poor person, any skin color or gender identity from completing a mystery shop. This is an opportunity that really does NOT discriminate unless it's a shop looking for specific target (which is a very small percentage of shops).
I guess an upside to this is if people think low pay on a project I am not interested in is good, then it is a nice distraction for my competition to have while I focus on higher paying work. :-)

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/24/2022 04:32AM by Curious99.
One could order a bowl and stay below the $8 reimbursement in my area. But I like the plate. I consider both fee and reimbursement to be reimbursement on food shops so I get the full amount of the reimbursement and don't have to figure out what to order to stay at or under the reimbursement amount. btw...these shops are now bonused in my area.

Do not read so much, look about you and think of what you see there.
Richard Feynman-- letter to Ashok Arora, 4 January 1967, published in Perfectly Reasonable Deviations from the Beaten Track (2005) p. 230
@hbbigdaddy wrote:

I can see the argument from both sides here. Yes, the reimbursement should be $10. The pay of $8 doesn't bother me. I do online or drive-thru. 2 pics is super easy and the report is a breeze. I don't think I've ever had an experience that lasted more than 4 minutes and that includes placing the order on the app.
The report takes a lot more than 4 minutes, especially since you have to write 2 narratives and include a redundant comment for every negative answer. That said, I leave the Pandas on the board because of the so-called reimbursement which is more like a subsidy than a reimbursement.
I never claimed I could do the report in 4 minutes. I'm talking about the time in person for an online or drive-thru scenario.

It takes me 10 minutes total to do a panda and that includes ordering on the app (less than 1 minute) / picking up (2-3 minutes tops)/ filling out report (7 minutes).
@whosear wrote:

One could order a bowl and stay below the $8 reimbursement in my area. But I like the plate. I consider both fee and reimbursement to be reimbursement on food shops so I get the full amount of the reimbursement and don't have to figure out what to order to stay at or under the reimbursement amount. btw...these shops are now bonused in my area.

Are you sure? I am in NE OK and there was just a price increase and now the reimbursement does not cover a bowl.
When they first took over this account the reimbursement covered the bowl. But as of a couple weeks ago it does not anymore. I have a couple of bonused shops that i have to do tomorrow. I won't be doing them again after that until the reimbursement is fixed.
It comes up to $8.01 with tax in Indy area. And we have an extra 2% tax here for our convention center and sports arenas downtown.

Do not read so much, look about you and think of what you see there.
Richard Feynman-- letter to Ashok Arora, 4 January 1967, published in Perfectly Reasonable Deviations from the Beaten Track (2005) p. 230
A bowl with a regular entree, orange chicken, or kung pao chicken, in my case, currently comes to $8.18 in all of the counties closest to me. There aren't any Pandas in my county, and if there were, it would be crappiest possible version of it, so we are thankful for small favors.

If Panda says you can substitute it for an entree, you can for the shop too. I've learned the hard way, this shop is not about the food, this shop is about the service. They quit asking if we received a full portion, because they aren't selling full portions anymore.
Just a reminder the Panda Express FREE BOWL promotion is ending soon. You buy a $30 GC (and use it on your shops). This will get you a FREE BOWL (must redeem free bowl by 7/31). This is one way of "making" (saving) some extra money for those that are unhappy with the reimbursement. I have a family of 4. So I use the GC to pay for the 2 (or 3) item combo which will feed 2 people. Then I can use the free bowl to feed another person. That makes me come out of pocket for only 1 person (when trying to feed 4). I'm sure most shoppers have at least 2 email addresses (if not more). Just use one to send yourself the GC. The account getting the GC will get the GC and the account paying for the GC will get the FREE BOWL. For those who don't have as many mouths to feed, you could give to a friend or even find a homeless person who would take it.

My point is, if you are spending the $ already on the shops, why not get something EXTRA out of it?

Just don't use the free bowl on the shop or you won't get the $8 it's worth. I shouldn't have to mention this, but someone might do it.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/27/2022 02:45AM by hbbigdaddy.
I had to go back and look at the report because it was so easy, I didn't even remember that there was a narrative, "Please provide comments supporting your observations on the drive thru service, food and the exterior condition of the restaurant during your visit." I am one that hates writing narratives so that is saying a lot that I didn't remember having one. I just quickly talked about the drive thru, the food and exterior cleanliness and got a score of 10/10.

I also had to laugh when I found out, the amount that was not covered was 25 cents. Taxes are 10% where I am. I was thinking the amount not covered was about a $1. I guess after doing this so long watching all the good jobs go away or go to another company for half the pay, it takes a little more to ruffle my feathers.

I worry more about how much effort it takes for the report. If I can do it while watching TV at home or on an app while at the location. There used to be office supply jobs that had different versions. One paid about $8 and took about 5 minutes. The other paid $14 and took 20-30 minutes. I'd much rather do the $8 shop after a long day.

@AZwolfman wrote:

@hbbigdaddy wrote:

I can see the argument from both sides here. Yes, the reimbursement should be $10. The pay of $8 doesn't bother me. I do online or drive-thru. 2 pics is super easy and the report is a breeze. I don't think I've ever had an experience that lasted more than 4 minutes and that includes placing the order on the app.
The report takes a lot more than 4 minutes, especially since you have to write 2 narratives and include a redundant comment for every negative answer. That said, I leave the Pandas on the board because of the so-called reimbursement which is more like a subsidy than a reimbursement.
Yay! The reimbursement has finally been increased. Now if they would just eliminate the 2-month rotation requirement.
I was looking at Puerto Rico and see they are paying more than here!!! I will do some when I'm there in December.
I like Panda Express just fine and have done a couple of their shops. They are among the absolute easiest shops I have ever done mystery shopping. They are just not close enough to my house to make it worth my while on a regular basis. Therefore, unless I have something else to do in the area, I just pass. As other have pointed out, the pay is low. I like it just fine when I can work it in with other I need to get done. I will generally do some form of take-out and get a couple or three meals out of the deal, which to me is time not spent cooking. It would not, however, be worth it to drive across town for a Panda Express shop.
I still see the $8 reimburse on the most recent postings in California. I did not check Arizona (assuming that is what AZ is for).

@AZwolfman wrote:

Yay! The reimbursement has finally been increased. Now if they would just eliminate the 2-month rotation requirement.
A couple or three meals from a one item bowl? Wow. No wonder I cannot lose weight . I always eat the whole thing in one setting.
I am a 6' 1" 225 lb male, 39 years old.

I get vegetables as my side item, and a bowl doesn't come close to filling me up.

@sandyf wrote:

A couple or three meals from a one item bowl? Wow. No wonder I cannot lose weight . I always eat the whole thing in one setting.
@thunderdeacon wrote:

I am a 6' 1" 225 lb male, 39 years old.

I get vegetables as my side item, and a bowl doesn't come close to filling me up.

@sandyf wrote:

A couple or three meals from a one item bowl? Wow. No wonder I cannot lose weight . I always eat the whole thing in one setting.

It could be there are advantages to getting older, one is that you don't eat nearly as much as you used to. I generally get the entree with two sides, and will get at least two and frequently three meals out of that. I have found that, with most (definitely not all) shops involving food, it is generally better on the overall household food budget, much less cooking and dish washing time (if it is allowed), to go just a little over the reimbursement amount and get more than one meal out of any given assignment. That said, there is a limit as to how much over I will go. I definitely study the pay, the reimbursement amounts and the menus. I have found it is worth a couple extra bucks to have Panda Express leftovers. Every household is different though. I would not drive across town to do a Panda Express shop. For me, it is strictly an in the area, take a little food home in the process kind of shop. I skip their dine-ins. We all have to weigh each shop and whether it works for us in any kind of way at all. It just plain may not.
@hbbigdaddy wrote:

I still see the $8 reimburse on the most recent postings in California. I did not check Arizona (assuming that is what AZ is for).

@AZwolfman wrote:

Yay! The reimbursement has finally been increased. Now if they would just eliminate the 2-month rotation requirement.
And that, big daddy, is unfortunately the reason I do not move back to Arizona. After calling Arizona home for 15 years, I followed the money to Las Vegas. Mystery shopping pays better here than in AZ or CA, but I still shop routes in AZ and CA whenever the routes pay enough. I would never do a shop for less than $10, and there are very few I would take for only $10. Mystery shopping is my only job.
Finally took a Panda shop. The ones in my area never get to a bonus so I decided to take one and see how food is. Probably have to go out of pocket a bit with the $8 reimbursement but it is walking distance. However I cannot pass the test even tho I am pretty sure all my answers are correct. The test guidelines say they will tell you which you got wrong. Anyone know how to get to see what you got wrong. I started out getting 90 and after 3 passes now I am getting 80. Its for the online report.
@sandyf wrote:

Finally took a Panda shop. The ones in my area never get to a bonus so I decided to take one and see how food is. Probably have to go out of pocket a bit with the $8 reimbursement but it is walking distance. However I cannot pass the test even tho I am pretty sure all my answers are correct. The test guidelines say they will tell you which you got wrong. Anyone know how to get to see what you got wrong. I started out getting 90 and after 3 passes now I am getting 80. Its for the online report.

I recommend the Mushroom Chicken. I used to love the orange chicken but lately it has been toxic.
Looks like the test has 99 tries. Write down your answers and change one answer at a time to see how it affects your score. I don't remember this test but look for questions that may let you select more than one answer. Those type of questions are usually missed.

@sandyf wrote:

I cannot pass the test even tho I am pretty sure all my answers are correct. The test guidelines say they will tell you which you got wrong. Anyone know how to get to see what you got wrong. I started out getting 90 and after 3 passes now I am getting 80. Its for the online report.
@sandyf wrote:

Finally took a Panda shop. The ones in my area never get to a bonus so I decided to take one and see how food is. Probably have to go out of pocket a bit with the $8 reimbursement but it is walking distance. However I cannot pass the test even tho I am pretty sure all my answers are correct. The test guidelines say they will tell you which you got wrong. Anyone know how to get to see what you got wrong. I started out getting 90 and after 3 passes now I am getting 80. Its for the online report.

Hey @sandyf, It has been a while since I took the quiz, but as I recall, the incorrect answers, if any,show up in red. I have heard from time to time that the online quiz form can be glitchy, in
which case, I believe some folks have gotten assistance by reaching out to the scheduler.
Good luck!
The exact reason I don't take these shops, unless I'm giving the food to the homeless near that shopping center. I was told once by an MSC to consider it a coupon.

A Dad shopping the Ark-LA-Tex and beyond.


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/11/2022 07:45AM by ShoppingDad.
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