Shopping while traveling

I am traveling for my full time job this week. Just wondering if anyone has any tips on how to search for shops while traveling (I am driving) or while in a new area.

I use Presto and the app for Ipsos (Shopmetrics) which i know can easily search my current location.

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First, email the schedulers for each of the MSCs that you shop for now and spread the word that you will be on a specific (general) route in x-month. Ask them to help you to contact that MSC's schedulers who may have shops in the route area.

Next, make it a point to do some shops for new-to-you MSCs that tend to have hotel shops. Be sure to join the hotel rewards programs AND get the cc affiliated with each reward program!

Next, AVOID scheduling lunch shops on a route. Anything that could go wrong to make you miss the lunch time window WILL go wrong!

Post on the forum to ask which MSCs are particularly "route friendly". Specifically, multi-day route friendly.

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.
Presto is my favorite when traveling. It lists many different MSCs and is easy to move around locations. I use it to find gas stations along my route if i an not too pressed for time.
I finally figured out how to get presto to show me Puerto Rico. If I entered the 5 digit zip code, it brought up New Jersey instead.

00727, Caguas, PR

But if I put Puerto Rico, it would show me some stuff.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/29/2022 08:01PM by hbbigdaddy.
Check the zip codes in Jobslinger as well as Presto. Observa and IVUEIT apps will search the area you're in and give you alerts. Not sure if you'd want to bother with the low pay of the last two options I've given.

If there are shops you're doing near home, go to the job board of those MSCs and see if they have similar shops in your area in the area you'll be visiting.

Or do a keyword search of your e-mail for the city you'll be in.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/01/2022 05:09AM by wrosie.
My comments are about safety. It depends if you are traveling to a major city or small town.

If it is a small town, I don't worry too much. Anything not on a bus route will hang on the boards a little longer. Most of my bonus shops are the small towns.

If you are going to a major city, you know there is probably something wrong with the job/location that keep local shoppers from doing the job. I was traveling through New Orleans and would up near a large homeless area and felt very uncomfortable. The job had to be shopped twice and both were still on the board. I had the scheduler email after and ask if I could do the locations again. I might have but was only the way to another job.

Use Google Maps Street view to look at the area.

I also use the drive home to do most of my shops.
Interesting because when I was in the New Jersey area I would occasionally see Puerto Rico shops on the board by mistake.
@hbbigdaddy wrote:

I finally figured out how to get presto to show me Puerto Rico. If I entered the 5 digit zip code, it brought up New Jersey instead.

00727, Caguas, PR

But if I put Puerto Rico, it would show me some stuff.
I'm sure you've thought of it already but you can just change the zip code on the sites you usually use to the place where you're conducting your business or driving through. Like if I were traveling to Chicago, I'd change the zip code to 60601 on the job board and set my search parameters for how ever many miles I'd be COMFORTABLE traveling (multiply them all by 2 because you have to factor in the trip there and the tip back to where you're staying--a 30 minute trip to do the shop is an hour of traveling time + the time it takes to do the shop + the time it takes to do the report).

I wouldn't recommend it unless you have a very specific set of circumstances. By that I mean a shop that you're familiar with performing that is close to where you're staying. Also factor in fatigue. The ones I have for this week in Austin are for the fast food Chinese place with the panda bear on the sign. Both are bonused, both are either drive-through or on-line pick ups. Done them both many times.
@JasperJohnson wrote:

My comments are about safety. It depends if you are traveling to a major city or small town.


If you are going to a major city, you know there is probably something wrong with the job/location that keep local shoppers from doing the job. I was traveling through New Orleans and would up near a large homeless area and felt very uncomfortable.

Use Google Maps Street view to look at the area..


This! A gas station in a major city near where I live recently went to $100 on the job board before someone accepted it at an unknown fee. This is a location very convenient to any local shopper but the locals probably knew that someone had just been killed there the week before and it is densely crowded with people who are not getting gas or convenience store items on any regular day. Because Google Maps often erases many of the people that might be identifiable in their pictures, the street views don't always tell the whole story. I just looked up that station and it looks very peaceful and uncrowded on Google.

sestrahelena
With Google Maps, I also look at the surrounding streets and the houses. The more adults riding bicycles and walking, the more likely safety is an issue. It holds true locally, so I just make the same assumptions in unknow areas.

I only do gas stations in general when they are bonused, good or bad locations. It doesn't really bother me when I'm local because I know what I'm what I'm getting into, but when I'm outside the area, I'm a little more hesitant. Either way, I try to figure out why the job is bonused to avoid the reason prior shoppers didn't complete it. I would have done it for $100.

If there is one in a small town nearby that is done the night window, I assume they close early like 8 or 9. I call the locations to confirm their hours and make sure I start those as soon as the window starts. One location says they close about 8:45...about??

My favorite prop is a clip board. Some of the shops have high turnover and the cashiers are frequently new and don't want to let you do the audit without talking to their manager. While the cashier was on the phone, she says, "(he/she) has a clipboard and everything." I had to be legit if I had a clipboard. I still chuckle at that to this day.

********************************

There are several gas stations where I live that have had shootings. The manager at one of the locations showed me the video of the dead body in his storage room. The person was shot in their store, ran in the back and died. I try to do the less desirable locations before 10am if the window allows. Seems that is the time the ones hanging around the store wake up and are hungry or need to start their drinking for the day.

The worst ones are where the drug dealers hang out and they get angry when you are taking pictures. I start with a lot of canopy and main ID sign photos, so they see me pointing the phone at the signage and gives them time to leave before taking ground level photos. I always have at least one page of the current POP printed in color so that if I'm approached, they can see my paper matches what is present. I also offer to show them the pictures in my phone to let them see they don't include them.

At one station, there was a couple sitting in a car at the only diesel pump the whole time. I was on the other side of the lot. I could hear the man saying something but didn't get the exact words, but I knew what he was saying, lol. He threw a glass bottle, shattering it in around the pumps before finally driving off.

I have my crazy act ready to go. I got threated once with, "they aren't arresting for misdemeanor because of COVID." If I was quicker with a comeback, I would have said, I'll make sure it is a felony. Instead, I just use my tough voice and say, "I know where I'm at, I'm not lost." It makes them wonder how crazy I am.

@sestrahelena wrote:

A gas station in a major city near where I live recently went to $100 on the job board before someone accepted it at an unknown fee. This is a location very convenient to any local shopper but the locals probably knew that someone had just been killed there the week before and it is densely crowded with people who are not getting gas or convenience store items on any regular day. Because Google Maps often erases many of the people that might be identifiable in their pictures, the street views don't always tell the whole story. I just looked up that station and it looks very peaceful and uncrowded on Google.

edit...why don't my writing mistakes show up in gray but as soon as I post, it is obvious when it is in black.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/03/2022 01:19PM by JasperJohnson.
I use the Whatismyzip dot com website whenever I’m out driving. It uses GPS to give you an accurate ZIP code for your location, then I plug that into either my apps or my favorite MSC websites to look for work.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/03/2022 03:50PM by ColoKate63.
I've never really had an issue with zip codes because you know the address where you are going to be working or where your hotel is located. I couldn't find the map that I've used in the past. It must have been some type of real estate map. I did find something I didn't know exist.

[www.unitedstateszipcodes.org]

You can download a spreadsheet with all the zip codes and maps by state. I downloaded the free CSV version. You can use the search tool to get all the zip codes within 5-50 miles of a location. This is going to come in handy even for local searches for those companies that only let you search 50 miles.
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