MSPA “Shopperfest At Sea” - How Did It Go?

I’m completely curious about last month’s Shopperfest on a cruise ship.
Did anyone here attend?

Inquiring minds want to know!

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I am curious how it went as well. I have been eyeing the upcoming conference in New Orleans in October, was wondering what the various might involve, and which might be of most benefit to a shopper. I also noticed that there is one in Pittsburgh next June, and that one is called a ShopperFest.
I heard from a reliable source at an MSC that only 12 attended. A cruise in the midst of Covid epidemic was probably not the best idea.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
So they had entire boat to themselves? :-P I'm sure it was just an event on a cruise ship and there still were lots of other people.

Yes, hopefully one of the 12 is on this board and will comment on what they saw/heard/learned.

I don't think I would ever purposefully seek out this event, but if I was already going on a cruise and they happened to be on the same ship, then I would attend. But if I'm not willing really to go ON LAND to these events, then i'm not looking to attend AT SEA either.
Yes, I also heard that the IMSC was also a flop, with only about 25 shoppers attending. I posted because I was also curious about MSPA.

Bad planning to hold conferences mid-pandemic. They’d have done better with a Zoom based interface.
With every other industry increasing pay, and most mystery shopping companies attempting to lower pay right now, I'm not sure how they can expect any of us to afford stuff like that.

As a full-time mystery shopper, I guarantee you that when I am able to take vacation, it's not going to have anything to do with shopping.
I'm going to Puerto Rico and I'm still looking for a few shops. But I don't do it full-time either. I might do 60 shops total in a month. If I had 10 shops to do for a weeklong visit in PR, that would be fine for me. But then I'm "cherry-picking" the easy assignments too.

But I get your point, many people that shop FULL-TIME on this board cannot afford to go on a cruise for a week like that.
Could the contacts made on a cruise ship conference possibly pay for the cruise, or is this just an excuse to tax deduct a vacation cost?
Where did the cruise go? This is one of the most bizarre things I've ever heard of.
I got back from my first cruise right about the time the pandemic hit. So I was really interested and fairly up on what was going on in the industry. Not withstanding the risks, the price of the mystery shopping cruise was in no way competitive (e.g., on the high end and without an apparent group discount). It could be that they booked it before the pandemic hit, but a lot of good related get back to cruising specials came later, and I could not come close to affording it either. The other thing though is a cruise is generally a full blown vacation, and who wants to spend it sitting in meetings while you pay for an over-priced cruise, when you would rather use that money on a real vacation, unless you get a good tax write-off, which could have been the point the whole time. As to where, I think they sailed out of Port Canaveral and went to the Bahamas (Nassau and Coco Cay).

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/24/2022 01:47PM by GinnyLynn.
Outside of being in a hospital in a hot zone without PPE, I can think of no more certain way to become ill than to go on a cruise. And that was true prior to SARS-CoV-2 too.
Rousseau, I can only speak from my side about cruises. Pre-pandemic, we were big time cruisers and no one in our group ever got sick with the exception of one sinus infection I got on a cruise. It was treated on the ship. We have also been on a recent cruise, post pandemic. I will honestly say that part of my group got lite cases of Covid. They are the ones that dropped wearing masks after about day 2. I continued to wear my mask as I would on land, where I wear one whenever I leave my house. I had a great time on the cruise. I did not get sick. You can get sick on land as easily as on a ship if you are not cautious. So please don't blame it on cruises where millions do not get sick.

@Rousseau wrote:

Outside of being in a hospital in a hot zone without PPE, I can think of no more certain way to become ill than to go on a cruise. And that was true prior to SARS-CoV-2 too.

When you learn, teach, when you get, give. Maya Angelou
@Rousseau wrote:

Outside of being in a hospital in a hot zone without PPE, I can think of no more certain way to become ill than to go on a cruise. And that was true prior to SARS-CoV-2 too.

I went on a cruise about 10 years ago and they had caution tape on the room next to ours and stationed a guard the whole trip. I think someone died in there. They were very hush hush.
@NinS wrote:

Could the contacts made on a cruise ship conference possibly pay for the cruise, or is this just an excuse to tax deduct a vacation cost?

I went to the IMSC conference to find out the answer to that very question. I decided to go because a) I live in a neighboring state so it was fairly close, b) I knew I could shop my way there and back to cover the travel costs, c) I was hoping to make friends with other full-time shoppers and d) I was hoping to connect with schedulers and other MSC crew to, hopefully, generate more and better paying gigs.

The conference was in February. By April I doubled my monthly income, and in May and June I made 3x and 4x my February total. The last two months I have turned down $1k-$2k in jobs per month simply because
I had no more time to commit. The MSC people I met and a few new things I learned got me the boost I needed to scale up.

I'll admit that on the drive home i wasn't sure it had been worth my time, but within a few weeks I realized it was. I'll probably go again next year.
I considered it, but ultimately decided not to go due to the cost. Between airfare to Florida, hotels before and after and the cruise itself, it was too much. Especially because i would have gone alone and had to pay the single penalty.
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