Every day I care less and less…

I hate to admit but I find myself every day caring less and less, especially with dining shops with low or no fees.

Did the greeter acknowledge me right away? Not really… but do I have to explain if she doesn’t? then I just mark yes and move on.

Was restaurant dining room floor clean? sure (not really- several napkins under table)

Anyone went above and beyond? no (maybe a manager gave someone a box of chocolates but I don’t want to spend more time explaining)

Would I recommend the restaurant? sure (even though truthfully I wouldn’t bc server spoke in a curt and rude tone of voice)

All and all, I just get through the report as quickly as possible. If something takes longer to explain, I answer the opposite way. I used to include additional details that were not covered in the shop but I felt important for clients to know… now? never.

A minimum of 100 characters? you bet and not a word more.

A write up of between 5 to 7 lines? you will get the 5 and no more.

Just to be honest…

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I definitely do not love the gas station reveals like I used to. Because of the low pay now, I usually leave the house with a sad feeling of hopelessness instead of the happy, "Off to work I go!" Feeling I had before. Road trips are rare now, as the pay does not justify the travel distance and hours. I miss them terribly. And with some MSCs treating reports and assignments as frivolous "fun" stuff, it seems like the reports, and quality thereof, really don't matter to them. So I see your point about accuracy and commenting more than necessary - the pay often does not warrant us going the extra mile. I still strive for accuracy but certainly don't take shops that I know will not be worth the report time to me, be it in pay or perks.

sestrahelena
LindaM, you sound like you are getting burned out. Try doing a different type of shop, or none at all.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
Please be honest in your reports or don't shop until you can be honest again.

@LindaM wrote:

I hate to admit but I find myself every day caring less and less, especially with dining shops with low or no fees.

Did the greeter acknowledge me right away? Not really… but do I have to explain if she doesn’t? then I just mark yes and move on.

Was restaurant dining room floor clean? sure (not really- several napkins under table)

Anyone went above and beyond? no (maybe a manager gave someone a box of chocolates but I don’t want to spend more time explaining)

Would I recommend the restaurant? sure (even though truthfully I wouldn’t bc server spoke in a curt and rude tone of voice)

All and all, I just get through the report as quickly as possible. If something takes longer to explain, I answer the opposite way. I used to include additional details that were not covered in the shop but I felt important for clients to know… now? never.

A minimum of 100 characters? you bet and not a word more.

A write up of between 5 to 7 lines? you will get the 5 and no more.

Just to be honest…
I sympathize with the post and get it on a certain level. A super duper good friendly greeter may not exactly have greeted me right away, but they were definitely a star class greeter and I don't want to spend time explaining the gray area. And additional details I doubt even make it to the client in most cases, so I rarely include those. But I would never go the opposite way just to save work. Sounds like burnout and it may be time for a break or a switch-up like HoneyBrown says
Burn out is real in just about every job out there. Sometimes even mystery shoppers need a break and maybe even a vacation. One of the big benefits of this field though is that there are a whole lot of different mystery shopping companies out there with a whole lot of different types of assignments to be done. It can take a minute to tap the brakes and head in another direction, but it can be done a whole lot more easily with this work than with most others. When it is time to move on though, it is time to move on. I've mystery shopped off and on for years, but never that consistently. And it has suited me well like that. A big plus of mystery shopping is that you can take some time off, and you don't have to quit anything. It will all still be there when you are recharged and ready to go again.

How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg?
"Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg."
-- Abraham Lincoln


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/19/2022 01:02PM by GinnyLynn.
After completing a survey with lots of questions, the scheduler reached out to see how it went. I shared with them that the way the survey is set up, it is skewed for someone that is interested in getting it over with to say everything is fine instead of being honest and highlighting shortcomings found. I explained that I am going to give an honest assessment and provide the information that I gathered, but someone that is only interested in completing the survey is going to say everything is in compliance because that response doesn't trigger follow up questions.

If there was something wrong, then that called for an additional photo or two and additional questions would pop up in the survey. In other words, more work.

I get what the OP is saying. It might be time to take a break. Maybe she did too much in a short period of time.
i understand to some degree for sure, but a good deed should never go unmentioned in my opinion. acknowledging positives in others makes the world a better place because it makes them want to do more of that. . same thing with anything that is really negative. everything borderline i can definitely see giving benefit of the doubt.
Burnout is real ! One day about 10 years ago I was doing a batch of airport food and sales shops, more than 20, as usual. Right from the first one I felt that i wanted to write just negative observations.

I had done many hundreds of similar shops at 3 local large airports. When I told the project manager/scheduler he immediately said, "Everyone eventually burns out on these. I wondered that you managed to do so many. I understand." Whew.

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 won’t justify what I wrote. It was just a moment of reflection. I know burnout was mentioned several times. Perhaps it is to a degree. However, I think it’s actually more resentment than getting burnout.

Feeling our work getting less and less compensated for while everything costs more… Yes, I’ll definitely be more selective.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/19/2022 06:06PM by LindaM.
@LindaM wrote:

I won’t justify what I wrote. It was just a moment of reflection. I know burnout was mentioned several times. Perhaps it is to a degree. However, I think it’s actually more resentment than getting burnout.

Feeling our work getting less and less compensated for while everything costs more… Yes, I’ll definitely be more selective.

I get what you're saying. If everything is positive you click a bunch of boxes and you're done on many of these. If something is amiss you're then writing a ton more and potentially taking more photos etc. Plus the likelihood of follow up questions tends to go way up when you have something out of the ordinary. Painting a very clear picture isn't always so easy and often requires more work.

I felt pretty miffed recently when at 6:15 on a weekend night (when I happened to be out doing another shop) I got an URGENT message that a photo was needed and a warning that if it wasn't provided in 4 hours my shop would be invalidated. I turned in the shop 12 days before it was due and I'm extremely responsive so it really felt over the top to get that kind of response. I guess I'm sharing to just communicate that I also get frustrated by the way that we can be treated at times.

What you're describing sounds a little like "quiet quitting" at least the parts about not doing any more than required and it's trending because many are feeling like they don't want to go above and beyond in their jobs because it makes no difference in their compensation. So, you're not alone in feeling this way these days. I hope it gets better and you're feeling more into it soon.
I hear you on that LindaM, I pass on a lot I used to take as well, and a good amount of those passes are related to the continuously shrinking fees. Although I probably have an unreasonable proclivity for Five Guys, I don't do a whole lot of fast food either these days. One popular chain in our area flat qualifies as you couldn't pay me to eat there.

I used to do a fair amount of fine dining as well. We have one that is frequently on the board in our area. I sat down with a menu and a list of the requirements and figured that I would have to go into that one expecting to be as much as $50 out of pocket after I filled all of their ordering requirements and completely maxed out the reimbursement, and that is doing my best to stay within reason on the orders. Who wants to go anywhere and nickle and dime to get the absolute cheapest of everything on the menu. If I am going to spend that much money eating out, I don't want to be required to eat the cheapest of the cheap on the menu, while I am on duty to get every detail the whole time, and then go home and fill out a report when I still end up that much out of pocket. There is a limit to what I consider fine. I have been rethinking a lot of what I do as well.

How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg?
"Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg."
-- Abraham Lincoln
@LindaM You are so right. I have seen compensation go down 25% in a period of less than 2 weeks for the same type of job. It is frustrating.
I'm barely doing any shops, because I just don't feel like it. The ones I do, I do properly. I'd never answer yes just to avoid an explanation.
I’m doing 20-25% of what I was accomplishing previously. The low fees, rug-pull of shops, ugh I was so burned out. And facing Covid daily while the schedulers, project managers, and c-suite were all working from home did me in, too.

Much happier now that I’ve returned to full time teaching and picking up work locally from 4-7 pm on my commute. It’s how I got into the industry, and sustainable for my physical and mental health for years to come.
Every one of us is the CEO of our mystery shopping business. You are in charge of what jobs provide acceptable pay for your work/time/risk and have absolute accountability for the financial results. You also have the duty for standards of integrity. Conduct yourself as if every moment is on camera, and assume that every line in your report will be questioned, and by all means expect to be paid/reimbursed the agreed on amount. Otherwise, JUST SAY NO.
I am not qualified to offer this opinion -- but that has never stopped me before, so here goes:

The "caring less and less" sounds like depression.

Take care of yourself.
My post was strictly about mystery shopping and specifically about dining shops that pay little to nothing. It has no other meaning.

@ceasesmith wrote:

I am not qualified to offer this opinion -- but that has never stopped me before, so here goes:

The "caring less and less" sounds like depression.

Take care of yourself.
I understand completely. Too many of these shops are reducing fees, or just not increasing to keep up with inflation and labor rates. You get what you pay for. If you are paying $5, do you really think you are going to get an hour of my time for writing up details? The restaurant shops are the worst for me and I generally refuse to do them because I have been in the restaurant industry for decades and understand exactly how underpriced the shops are. The reimbursements often don't even cover the cost of a standard meal at the restaurant.
The pricing of shops lately seems to be more in tune to a low pay gig mentality rather than professional reporting.
@Curtzey wrote:

I understand completely. Too many of these shops are reducing fees, or just not increasing to keep up with inflation and labor rates. You get what you pay for. If you are paying $5, do you really think you are going to get an hour of my time for writing up details? The restaurant shops are the worst for me and I generally refuse to do them because I have been in the restaurant industry for decades and understand exactly how underpriced the shops are. The reimbursements often don't even cover the cost of a standard meal at the restaurant.
The pricing of shops lately seems to be more in tune to a low pay gig mentality rather than professional reporting.

I've been out of the game for a while. I did my first gas station shop in nearly a decade. It was bonused. I got paid 20% less than I used to get paid for gas station audits (always bonused) in 2012. Different company and today was revealed vs covert in the old days. Today's took longer.
Today the fast casual place with the grilled onions messed up my receipt (gave me two) ugh -and after the scheduler yelled at me for the first time ever for some other goof (I think it was an internal problem).

Then a different MSC scheduler assigned me something for “today” (as agreed), but put it for tomorrow’s date in Sassie (oops. Won’t let me submit). Then I look at the receipt and the date is tomorrow’s date (lol! What is happening?)
MSP's should realize that shoppers will not go above & beyond when the pay is low, and the end result is that the client is being short-changed. I've started to include a closing comment in my reports for shops that end up being especially frustrating. I let them know that I would not accept a shop like this for the same pay again, and explain why it should pay better. When schedulers ask me to pick up the same shops again, I remind them that the pay has to be better.
Perhaps your feelings are a bit different than mine, yet, in the end, doesn't it come down the feeling of being respected by the MSC for your work and receiving a payment commensurate with that work?
Yet, on another string, here is what a scheduler said specifically to me when I expressed my dissatisfaction. Makes me sad and wary of the MSCs and their schedulers:

From "Question about IPSOS' I shop first program":

" KarenSchedulesForIpsos 1y
@French Farmer As an independent scheduler for Ipsos - I will say this - I am in IC just like the shoppers. I very much enjoy my partnership with Ipsos and am very happy with it. If that changes, I would do exactly what I advise shoppers to do - I would just not partner with them. All of the changes that have been made and will undoubtedly be made in the future I support and see why it's being done and the need for many of these things - that is me personally. If I didn't I would end my partnership. I personally wouldn't work as a shopper or scheduler for any company if it wasn't profitable to me and I am sure everyone feels the same.

Kind of says it all.
That kind of makes it seem as though the schedulers are getting their fees raised while our fees get slashed. At least one finds it profitable and is happy.

sestrahelena
It is frustrating to be continually asked to do more for less. I tend to fill out reports based on how much I'm being paid. If you're paying nice money, you'll get a nice report with lots of detail, extra pics, etc. If you're not, then you're going to get the minimum required pictures and words. It's not that anything is fudged or misrepresented, its just you get what you pay for. MSC pays bare bones money, they get bare bones report.
I don't take ANY assignments that I don't want or care to do. No jobs that ask for more that the pay that extended. No jobs that cause stress. If I do not enjoy it I will not do it. There are jobs I use to do regularly for decent pay, that I no longer choose to do for a variety of reason. There would have to be a hefty bonus for me to do them now.

A Dad shopping the Ark-LA-Tex and beyond.
This past Monday, I totaled four problems with Ipsos. Listed below are concise details:

1-A shop that the board showed as "self assignable" was not so.
2-I was to complete a bank inquiry, but was unable to locate a guidelines link. Finally, I clicked a circle with three dots and was granted entrance.
3-Upon reading the guidelines, I learned I was to snap a pic of the "location locator." I still have no idea of what or where such is found.
4-I was to include a date and time stamp on all pics, but my camera does not have such a feature.

I considered all of the above, the poor communication, low pay and past problems with conflicting guidelines. I then followed the advice of Karenschedulesforipsos and requested a termination of our contract; in a few hrs. I received a confirmation. I am positive neither party will miss the association.

As Karen has stated, if you are unhappy with an MSC, end the relationship.
I do want to say that I do add the additional details when the pay for dining is "reasonable" ... by reasonable I mean reimbursement that fully covers a meal (with items purchased at middle of the road and not least expensive) and a small fee around $15 - $30.

If anything comes from this post, I hope the MSC/schedulers realize that reports you may get are poor and not true reflection of the experience, which in turn will impact your business down the line when businesses stop contracting with you. What I'm hoping for in the long run is the MSC to negotiate a higher reimbursement with the client.

@rarararara wrote:

It is frustrating to be continually asked to do more for less. I tend to fill out reports based on how much I'm being paid. If you're paying nice money, you'll get a nice report with lots of detail, extra pics, etc. If you're not, then you're going to get the minimum required pictures and words. It's not that anything is fudged or misrepresented, its just you get what you pay for. MSC pays bare bones money, they get bare bones report.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/21/2022 05:18PM by LindaM.
@shopperbob wrote:

This past Monday, I totaled four problems with Ipsos. Listed below are concise details:

1-A shop that the board showed as "self assignable" was not so.
2-I was to complete a bank inquiry, but was unable to locate a guidelines link. Finally, I clicked a circle with three dots and was granted entrance.
3-Upon reading the guidelines, I learned I was to snap a pic of the "location locator." I still have no idea of what or where such is found.
4-I was to include a date and time stamp on all pics, but my camera does not have such a feature.

I considered all of the above, the poor communication, low pay and past problems with conflicting guidelines. I then followed the advice of Karenschedulesforipsos and requested a termination of our contract; in a few hrs. I received a confirmation. I am positive neither party will miss the association.

As Karen has stated, if you are unhappy with an MSC, end the relationship.

I know it's too late, SB, but for others:

1. Sometimes we can't self assign because of rotation rules which need a scheduler's override.
2. It is extremely difficult to find the hidden instructions on both platforms, any shop. I guess we have to watch a bunch of cartoon tutorials to unlock the secret combinations. This can be time consuming for something that should be easily available to the shopper. Just extra hoops to jump through.
3. The exterior photo is the front of the building while you're in the parking lot. BUT it is only needed if the location is closed or you could not get a banker's business card. You are correct, these "ifs" are nowhere in the guidelines and there will be no question or photo slots on the report for it if you mark YES to whether you were able to meet with a banker.
4. The date and time stamp do not need to be visible on the photo itself. All cell phone cameras stamp photos internally which can then be seen in the "details" by clicking such on the photo file. This is acceptable to the MSC but, again, this is not in the guidelines.

sestrahelena
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