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.
I'm confused ideagirl. When did you go on the cruise? February 2021? Because you say in the second post that you decided not to go because of cost.

I agree that most conferences can provide some benefit that up your income.

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

@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.

January-February 2022 was a very dead, dull place industry-wide. So many contracts were not being renewed, remember? I’m skeptical that the IMSC conference - with barely two dozen people attending in a two star motel in Arizona- had much to do with your bump in business. I’d attribute that increase more to clients finally deciding to reestablish their ties and begin mystery shopping programs. We all saw business increase markedly after Q1.

It’s my understanding that the head of the IMSC is completely banned and not allowed to post here in this forum due to her past behavior. It’s also been my personal experience that she’s got a handful of shoppers who make screenshots and send them along, then post pro-IMSC messages for her as sock puppet accounts. It would be a shame if you are doing that here, as it’s misleading and incorrect information.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/26/2022 10:29PM by ColoKate63.
@CureMS wrote:

I'm confused ideagirl. When did you go on the cruise? February 2021? Because you say in the second post that you decided not to go because of cost.

I agree that most conferences can provide some benefit that up your income.

Yet she apparently has thousands of dollars of work she’s unable to accept, because she’s SO very busy post-IMSC.

That cruise was about $650 all-in, as I recall. Pretty cheap.

Things that make you go, “hmmmmm…”
I've never seen any drastic increase in my profits due to the conferences and when I was there as a scheduler I never saw any direct benefit. (Meaning no long term connections were made that benefited me)
I've been to both the IMSC Conference and Shoppersfeast and never made lasting contacts. Maybe I'm just not likable?
I've been to both the IMSC Conference and MAPA Shoppersfeast and never made lasting contacts. Maybe I'm just not likable?
@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.

[www.cdc.gov]
@CureMS wrote:

I'm confused ideagirl. When did you go on the cruise? February 2021? Because you say in the second post that you decided not to go because of cost.

I agree that most conferences can provide some benefit that up your income.

Now I am confused. It looks like ideagirl posted about going to an IMSC conference but not going on the MSPA cruise.
I feel ExtraOrdinary! I'm an older adult with severe medical condition, and a child at heart! Didn't get sick, gonna risk it again smiling smiley

Per the CDD:
Yes. The chance of getting COVID-19 on cruise ships is high because the virus spreads easily between people in close quarters on board ships. For this reason, CDC recommends the following groups of people avoid traveling on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide:

People who are not up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines.
People with an increased risk of severe illness, regardless of vaccination status, including
Older adults and adults of any age with serious chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, chronic lung disease, and diabetes.
Children with underlying medical conditions.



@BusyBeeBuzzBuzzBuzz wrote:

@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.

[www.cdc.gov]

When you learn, teach, when you get, give. Maya Angelou
Even though I have no desire to sail except on my own massive private yacht (which is still in dream land), I appreciate that some people are looking out for themselves. I judge no one for choosing or not choosing to travel, sail, or otherwise take a minimal or larger risk. Life is different for everyone.

Creativity is always a leap of faith. You're faced with a blank page, blank easel, or an empty stage. - Julia Cameron

_____
I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born. - Ronald Reagan
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A cruise may be the only way I'd consider attending. With similar (non-MS) events in the past, seminars were held on sea days, leaving port days open. Mystery shopping is already how I pay for cruises and other travel, if I can make it tax deductible, so much the better! I've been on four cruises in the past year and felt very safe every time - with passengers vaccinated, tested, and masked, I felt less at risk than I do on a trip to the grocery store. Everyone must do what they are comfortable with but I wouldn't hesitate.
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