Do you ever cancel jobs that are not as described or turn out to be way more work than described?

I have seen some jobs where the description, guidelines, sample and evaluation are substantially different. One example is a shop being sold as a restaurant shop and bar visit that is actually an extensive bar integrity shop. I have also seen very contradictory guidelines and descriptions. On one it stated specifically to make a reservation and docmument it in a certain way but the evaluation said spericially NOT to make a reservation and similar confusion about needing to valet, etc. Questions to the schedulers sometimes compound the confusion rather than providing clarity.

Some others involve an intestive amount of work not described in the positng and once being assigned there are 12 pages of guidelines and 20+ photos that all need to be edited to remove personal information while paying the lowest possible two figure pay.

I feel bad but I have backed out of a couple of jobs that have so many gray areas that I fear I would not end up being paid or reimbursed or are extremely intesive and not described as such.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/04/2022 07:50PM by olympia tennenbaum.

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I did it once when I started. Was supposed to call a senior home to get them to mail me brochures. Turned out I needed to grill the rep for dozens of prices and other details.
@mystery2me wrote:

I did it once when I started. Was supposed to call a senior home to get them to mail me brochures. Turned out I needed to grill the rep for dozens of prices and other details.

That sounds miserable. I wish guidelines and the evaluations were avilable before self assigning or applying. I don't have any desire to waste anyone's time (including my own)!

I have seen a few with documents so, so off from one another that I almost wonder if they are the wrong documents attached.

I find it very helpful when they at least state how many questions are on the survey before you apply.
@mystery2me wrote:

I did it once when I started. Was supposed to call a senior home to get them to mail me brochures. Turned out I needed to grill the rep for dozens of prices and other details.

LOL...same. I guess as I got older, I just became numb to it. I REALLY admire it when companies tell you up front that the report is very detailed and you have to pay attention.

I'm in the middle of a Shop HQ job right now that has gone on for like a week. I wish I had never taken it.
Probably most of the seasoned MSers here have had to cancel a job because the previously unrevealed guidelines and/or survey did not fit their minimum pay or clarity requirements. Many of us have posted advising newbies about how (in writing) and when (immediately) to go about this in a professional manner. It's all part of the IC territory.

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.
I do not cancel often, but when i do...it's exactly for these reasons!

The national sports bar that struggles to get filled with 1 hour minimum at location and heavy question/narrative on cash handling and alcohol pour is an example of one I bailed on. I don't mind writing and sometimes get mad when the narrative fields have a max number of character. But being told I have to write all this is different from me wanting to explain what I observed. Now I feel like I'm forced to find things to say to meet the minimum text.

I'm more about quick hits now. I don't want to be spending an hour at a location and then an hour (or more) writing about it. I can do quicker places and make more $ in the process.
In my early days, I cancelled a dry cleaning shop that was advertised simply as bring in an item you need laundered to have it cleaned and evaluate service. Fee wasn't good. Great, I'll bring in my suit jacket that could use the cleaning.

Once accepted, it was then revealed that my item had to be "flawed" in some capacity. Uh, no, that's not how this was advertised. Cancelled, and I said a courtesy reply as to why. Other then this, I have grumbled through some assignments, but this is the only shop I have cancelled for this reason.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/04/2022 07:06PM by KA047.
I know there is one MSC, it might be Coyle or Sentry, that tells you what the frequently missed items are during shops. I find this useful.

I think some MSCs, when they get a new client, think, "Hey I've got a report for a shop, just like this one for another client. I'll just use the same report." They don't realize the shops are not the exact same and never tweak the report to tailor it to the new client.

I find that really frustrating, especially when I point it out month after month that parts of the report don't apply to this client.
Years ago, I accepted a "big box store" shop that required interaction in 3 different departments.

The guidelines were a mish-mash of contradictions. I read them carefully and wrote down every question I had. I then wrote a polite e-mail to the scheduler asking for clarification. Her reply was: "I don't have time to answer your questions. Follow the guidelines." I cancelled the shop, and to this day, refuse to accept assignments from that scheduler.

Sorry, but if you don't have time to answer questions, I don't have the time to do your shop -- and risk not being paid because the guidelines were contradictory, confusing, poorly written (actually written for another store, and the wording not changed, just the name of the store! And the two stores had totally different departments, procedures for returns, etc. For example, my guidelines said to get a business card in each department -- and the store doesn't provide business cards for employees!), and basically impossible to follow.

smiling smiley
I often feel like the MSCs and/or job descriptions could use some mystery shopping. For a fee, I'd be happy to help rewrite some of these guidelines to make them more clear.

I'd love to know upfront what exactly I need to purchase and what exactly I need to photograph. Some of these places seem like their reimbursed meal holds SO much value that I should spend hours and hours on reports, photos, verbatim interactions, name gathering (when no name tags are worn) for this glorious meal plus $10-$15. I'd rather wait for a bonused Panda Express and be done with the whole thing in 15-20 minutes and walk away with more money in my pocket.
Just follow the guidelines when the guidelines don't have specifics is not at all helpful. At. All.

When I have to spend my money out of pocket, order whatever well drink they dictate and the cheapest food on the menu only to be unclear about what I need to do is just a no go from me.

Do you think withholding the specifics is part of the strategy? As in they know people wouldn't take the jobs if they really knew what it entailed?

I'm thankful for the amazing schedulers and the really awesome jobs. I'm just feeling very frustrated about some of the deceptively labor intestive shops and shops with lack of clarity in their instructions.
@ceasesmith wrote:

Years ago, I accepted a "big box store" shop that required interaction in 3 different departments.

The guidelines were a mish-mash of contradictions. I read them carefully and wrote down every question I had. I then wrote a polite e-mail to the scheduler asking for clarification. Her reply was: "I don't have time to answer your questions. Follow the guidelines." I cancelled the shop, and to this day, refuse to accept assignments from that scheduler.

Sorry, but if you don't have time to answer questions, I don't have the time to do your shop -- and risk not being paid because the guidelines were contradictory, confusing, poorly written (actually written for another store, and the wording not changed, just the name of the store! And the two stores had totally different departments, procedures for returns, etc. For example, my guidelines said to get a business card in each department -- and the store doesn't provide business cards for employees!), and basically impossible to follow.

smiling smiley

My head hurts just reading it.

While I'm apparently venting - the phone shops that I read the whole email about and then see they pay $4 really burn me up. I feel like invoicing $4 just for readling the whole email!
@hbbigdaddy wrote:

I do not cancel often, but when i do...it's exactly for these reasons!

The national sports bar that struggles to get filled with 1 hour minimum at location and heavy question/narrative on cash handling and alcohol pour is an example of one I bailed on. I don't mind writing and sometimes get mad when the narrative fields have a max number of character. But being told I have to write all this is different from me wanting to explain what I observed. Now I feel like I'm forced to find things to say to meet the minimum text.

I'm more about quick hits now. I don't want to be spending an hour at a location and then an hour (or more) writing about it. I can do quicker places and make more $ in the process.

Yeah, I'm with you. i need more value for my time.

Read a sample with insane level of detail demonstrated for alcohol proceedures. Jigger used for this, free pour for that, according to the count method that was 4.5 oz of ..... Too much for me. All this while expecting that you're having several drinks and paying cash and watching everyone in the entire establishment and also naming, describing, etc. Just driving to these places is worth more than $10 let alone all of that work.

As a newer shopper I'm starting to learn by watching which jobs just sit and sit and sit on the boards. I've been avoiding them thinking if no one is taking them there must be a reason.
@olympia tennenbaum wrote:

@hbbigdaddy wrote:

I do not cancel often, but when i do...it's exactly for these reasons!

The national sports bar that struggles to get filled with 1 hour minimum at location and heavy question/narrative on cash handling and alcohol pour is an example of one I bailed on. I don't mind writing and sometimes get mad when the narrative fields have a max number of character. But being told I have to write all this is different from me wanting to explain what I observed. Now I feel like I'm forced to find things to say to meet the minimum text.

I'm more about quick hits now. I don't want to be spending an hour at a location and then an hour (or more) writing about it. I can do quicker places and make more $ in the process.

Yeah, I'm with you. i need more value for my time.

Read a sample with insane level of detail demonstrated for alcohol proceedures. Jigger used for this, free pour for that, according to the count method that was 4.5 oz of ..... Too much for me. All this while expecting that you're having several drinks and paying cash and watching everyone in the entire establishment and also naming, describing, etc. Just driving to these places is worth more than $10 let alone all of that work.

As a newer shopper I'm starting to learn by watching which jobs just sit and sit and sit on the boards. I've been avoiding them thinking if no one is taking them there must be a reason.

I guess I don't mind that as much once I figured out what they wanted in the report. It's pedantic as hell, but also...free beer.

And I have noped out on a few jobs in the middle of the job. I was told it would be one things, turns out to have been something very different and way more involved and I said "Nope, this ain't worth it" and canceled on the spot. It happens.
More than once, I've got sucked into shops that were recruited as being simple but that were actually targeted, and these simple little shops would drag on for a week and sometimes more. Meanwhile, to come close to getting the shop right, if and when you ever do reach your target, you have to go through all 20 plus some pages of guidelines every single time you go back and try again, or you will most surely miss something, only to get called out and have your shop rejected, along with a reprimand, as fast as you can blink your eye.

Two of those were with the same company, recruited by the same scheduler, and I didn't know until I was in the shop that they were targeted. I slogged through, but the second time I got one of those, I took myself off that MSC's email list. The thing with these targeted shops is that all is cool if they pay accordingly, but a number will try to slip them in and pay like it is a short little shop, when it is not. I went back and signed back on later, thinking maybe it was just the one scheduler, and maybe I was hasty, but it seems that the same company has oddly hidden and time consuming requirements at every twist and turn. To compound the matter, the schedulers don't answer questions that quickly get shops rejected, and the latest is to redact various information on emails, which the best I can figure, I can get done if I get an Adobe subscription, which is money out of pocket every single month to do inordinately time consuming work for very little pay for a company that I had already decided wasn't worth working for.

As to the ditching, targeted shops were already on my ten-foot-pole list, and I've become a lot more assertive in ditching a shop when I get sucked into something with various hidden guidelines and sometimes downright deceptive schedule recruiting. One learns to politely say no. After a while, you learn to watch out for certain schedulers, and sometimes it is not worth being on any given MSC's email list at all. I know, I vented, but yes, it is an issue, and I've been burned on this one too.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/05/2022 12:01PM by GinnyLynn.
@GinnyLynn wrote:

More than once, I've got sucked into shops that were recruited as being simple but that were actually targeted, and these simple little shops would drag on for a week and sometimes more. Meanwhile, to come close to getting the shop right, if and when you ever do reach your target, you have to go through all 20 plus some pages of guidelines every single time you go back and try again, or you will most surely miss something, only to get called out and have your shop rejected, along with a reprimand, as fast as you can blink your eye.

Two of those were with the same company, recruited by the same scheduler, and I didn't know until I was in the shop that they were targeted. I slogged through, but the second time I got one of those, I took myself off that MSC's email list. The thing with these targeted shops is that all is cool if they pay accordingly, but a number will try to slip them in and pay like it is a short little shop, when it is not. I went back and signed back on later, thinking maybe it was just the one scheduler, and maybe I was hasty, but it seems that the same company has oddly hidden and time consuming requirements at every twist and turn. To compound the matter, the schedulers don't answer questions that quickly get shops rejected, and the latest is to redact various information on emails, which the best I can figure, I can get done if I get an Adobe subscription, which is money out of pocket every single month to do inordinately time consuming work for very little pay for a company that I had already decided wasn't worth working for.

As to the ditching, targeted shops were already on my ten-foot-pole list, and I've become a lot more assertive in ditching a shop when I get sucked into something with various hidden guidelines and sometimes downright deceptive schedule recruiting. One learns to politely say no. After a while, you learn to watch out for certain schedulers, and sometimes it is not worth being on any given MSC's email list at all. I know, I vented, but yes, it is an issue, and I've been burned on this one too.

I'm reading this and I'm not quite sure what you're referring to but maybe I haven't encountered this kind of thing. I think I'm misunderstanding what you mean by targeted; could you elaborate on that please?

I hate when questions aren't answered in a timely manner, particulary when there's harsh language about responding to requests from their end within 12 hours. Nevermind the fact that they are sometimes sent at 10 pm.

Another complaint is how threatening some of the forms are... if you are found knowingly or unknowingly falsifying info this will be rejected. If you fail to do x it will be rejected. If you don't respond within x it will be rejected. I get that parameters are needed but sometimes the wording just gives you a lot of pause as to whether or not something is worth your time and effort.

@GinnyLynn one free way to redact info is to use the free program google slides. You can add a photo and then create a rectangle to place over your personal info. Still takes plenty of extra time though.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/05/2022 02:10PM by olympia tennenbaum.
Another easy way to redact info is to simply take a photo of it use the phone editor on the camera to block it out on your phone or scan and use snipping tool and then block over it.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/05/2022 03:35PM by foodluvr.
Yeah, I had one where it said you needed two emails and phone numbers, which is fine some shops want you to be different customers for different channels. I get the shop and start going through report, turns out you need 4 or 5 different personas. Sorry, I'm not setting up that many extra phone numbers.
@olympia tennenbaum wrote:

Another complaint is how threatening some of the forms are... if you are found knowingly or unknowingly falsifying info this will be rejected. If you fail to do x it will be rejected. If you don't respond within x it will be rejected. I get that parameters are needed but sometimes the wording just gives you a lot of pause as to whether or not something is worth your time and effort.

.

There are some seriously threatening guidelines. There is one shop which is actually pretty easy and frequently gets bonused a crazy amount, but I refuse to do it on principle because the whole report screams at the shopper and is incredibly insulting and accusatory.
@olympia tennenbaum wrote:


I'm reading this and I'm not quite sure what you're referring to but maybe I haven't encountered this kind of thing. I think I'm misunderstanding what you mean by targeted; could you elaborate on that please?
I still haven't figured out how to quote or answer a question, so I may have missed.
Anyway, to answer @olympia tennenbaum:
A targeted shop is when you have to shop a specific named person, instead of just the business. Ideally, and if you are lucky, you get it done on the first attempt. However, these can be a gamble, and I've had some of them stretch out to five or more attempts to contact the right person, and that is just with phone shops. I do not do on-site targeted shops at all. However, some of the better companies will pay you well to reach a certain target. That is something to be aware of if one is convenient enough to you to make it worth your while. They can be difficult and hit or miss to complete, and should be paid accordingly. Sometimes you will run into schedulers who don't mention that what is supposed to be a simple shop, and is paid like a simple shop, is actually a targeted shop that can stretch out for days or even weeks. That is what I was talking about. I got burned on a couple of those not too long ago.

And thank you all for the hints on how to redact an email without spending an arm and two legs to get it done. That helps.
@GinnyLynn wrote:

I still haven't figured out how to quote or answer a question, so I may have missed.
Anyway, to answer @olympia tennenbaum:
A targeted shop is when you have to shop a specific named person, instead of just the business. Ideally, and if you are lucky, you get it done on the first attempt. However, these can be a gamble, and I've had some of them stretch out to five or more attempts to contact the right person, and that is just with phone shops. I do not do on-site targeted shops at all. However, some of the better companies will pay you well to reach a certain target. That is something to be aware of if one is convenient enough to you to make it worth your while. They can be difficult and hit or miss to complete, and should be paid accordingly. Sometimes you will run into schedulers who don't mention that what is supposed to be a simple shop, and is paid like a simple shop, is actually a targeted shop that can stretch out for days or even weeks. That is what I was talking about. I got burned on a couple of those not too long ago.

And thank you all for the hints on how to redact an email without spending an arm and two legs to get it done. That helps.

Okay, that does sound like a lot of work! I think maybe I've seen some banking shops that are like that. I have seen some that ask that you go back if you can't get it done in one visit. That obviously cuts your profit, if any, way down. I wish they could all just be more transparent. How many questions, how many calls, how much estimated time, etc.

Do you happen to have an iphone, @GinnyLynn? If you take a screenshot of an email you can use one of the pen functions to scribble over sensitive info too. Other phones might also do this but I'm just not familiar with others.
I have a fairly decent Android, and can do a lot, but not everything an iPhone can. However, I do most of my work on a work station computer. I have used Powerpoint to scribble through the various, but it was not honestly effective. Sometimes I will use text blocks if it is a whole block that needs to be covered up. The whole process is pretty cumbersome for a low paying assignment, which is why I kept looking for a better way. I had pretty much decided against even fooling with lower paid assignments that required such if I didn't find a more time and cost effective solution. These little extra chores some of the companies keep throwing in (without raising the pay) really eat into how much you actually make with the time you spend working. I've pulled away from some such. In my day job, I am an editor (mostly technical, not MSing), although I have been mystery shopping more and editing less since the pandemic hit, anyway, thus I mostly work at a computer.
@GinnyLynn wrote:

I have a fairly decent Android, and can do a lot, but not everything an iPhone can. However, I do most of my work on a work station computer. I have used Powerpoint to scribble through the various, but it was not honestly effective. Sometimes I will use text blocks if it is a whole block that needs to be covered up. The whole process is pretty cumbersome for a low paying assignment, which is why I kept looking for a better way. I had pretty much decided against even fooling with lower paid assignments that required such if I didn't find a more time and cost effective solution. These little extra chores some of the companies keep throwing in (without raising the pay) really eat into how much you actually make with the time you spend working. I've pulled away from some such. In my day job, I am an editor (mostly technical, not MSing), although I have been mystery shopping more and editing less since the pandemic hit, anyway, thus I mostly work at a computer.

I get all of that. I recently did a shop where the guidlines changed significantly since the last time I had done one. Lots of edited images, renaming of files, opinion based questions etc. It's a multipart shop a as well and they expect it to be updated stage by stage rather than done all at once. I'm realizing it really isn't worth the money with all the steps involved. So, I totally understand where you're coming from!
@GinnyLynn wrote:

I have a fairly decent Android, and can do a lot, but not everything an iPhone can. However, I do most of my work on a work station computer. I have used Powerpoint to scribble through the various, but it was not honestly effective. Sometimes I will use text blocks if it is a whole block that needs to be covered up. The whole process is pretty cumbersome for a low paying assignment, which is why I kept looking for a better way. I had pretty much decided against even fooling with lower paid assignments that required such if I didn't find a more time and cost effective solution. These little extra chores some of the companies keep throwing in (without raising the pay) really eat into how much you actually make with the time you spend working. I've pulled away from some such. In my day job, I am an editor (mostly technical, not MSing), although I have been mystery shopping more and editing less since the pandemic hit, anyway, thus I mostly work at a computer.

Use your screen capture on your Android. Usually power and down volume at the same time. That'll bring up an editing function and you can block out right from there and it'll save right to your photos.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/06/2022 01:07AM by foodluvr.
Years ago I accepted a pizza delivery shop for a company I had never worked with before. After accepting, the guidelines stated that I was not allowed to tip the driver. One of the questions was something along the lines of, “Did the delivery driver ask for a tip?”
I cancelled the shop explaining that I didn’t feel comfortable with not tipping the driver.

That kind of information has to be explained in the job description. Apparently the company disagreed and they said I was on probation yadda yadda. I had to do three jobs before I could be off probation.

I never applied for another. I figured they would have other crazy requirements that I wouldn’t know about ahead of time.
@las30 wrote:

Years ago I accepted a pizza delivery shop for a company I had never worked with before. After accepting, the guidelines stated that I was not allowed to tip the driver. One of the questions was something along the lines of, “Did the delivery driver ask for a tip?”
I cancelled the shop explaining that I didn’t feel comfortable with not tipping the driver.

That kind of information has to be explained in the job description. Apparently the company disagreed and they said I was on probation yadda yadda. I had to do three jobs before I could be off probation.

I never applied for another. I figured they would have other crazy requirements that I wouldn’t know about ahead of time.

Some really do feel like bait and switch. I don't blame you for not doing more jobs with them!
@rarararara wrote:

@olympia tennenbaum wrote:

Another complaint is how threatening some of the forms are... if you are found knowingly or unknowingly falsifying info this will be rejected. If you fail to do x it will be rejected. If you don't respond within x it will be rejected. I get that parameters are needed but sometimes the wording just gives you a lot of pause as to whether or not something is worth your time and effort.

.

There are some seriously threatening guidelines. There is one shop which is actually pretty easy and frequently gets bonused a crazy amount, but I refuse to do it on principle because the whole report screams at the shopper and is incredibly insulting and accusatory.

Wow, that sounds so awful. If something threatens throughout that it won't pay then I take that threat seriously!
@rarararara wrote:

@olympia tennenbaum wrote:


.

There are some seriously threatening guidelines. There is one shop which is actually pretty easy and frequently gets bonused a crazy amount, but I refuse to do it on principle because the whole report screams at the shopper and is incredibly insulting and accusatory.

That sounds like the salad shop I was considering but after reading the overview and instructions that were available before signing up, I just felt like the MSC really dislikes mystery shoppers. Just a bad feeing, overall. And the fee keeps going up. I'll pass.

sestrahelena
I think I've done this just once. I normally will carry through with an assignment, even if there are unexpected requirements. But I scheduled one once, and after seeing all of the requirements and the survey, I emailed the scheduler and cancelled. I explained, honestly, that I felt the shop requirements, now that I had seen them, were far too much work for the fee. She was very understanding, and this didn't adversely affect future assignments.

I'm guessing this happens enough that it's not a huge surprise that some shoppers cancel on specific jobs.

I almost cancelled one that I have scheduled for Monday, due to a requirement that was not expected and which is, imo, unnecessary (since it involves another member of my family *having* to be present, which is an inconvenience since he works!). Checked with the scheduler, and we worked out a fair compromise that's been OK'd by the MSC.

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.
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