In Support of Sentry ... (ducking for cover as I type :})

Note: I actually wrote the below as a reply to a post in another Sentry topic. There are a ton of Sentry topics out there and I decided I didn't want my little forum editorial, as it probably is, to get lost. Obviously, the topic where I was originally placing this had gotten heated. Anyway, I hope what I wrote helps someone, somewhere, even if it's a newbie trying to figure out whether or not Sentry is some evil monster or just a company with history that is trying to move forward. For what it's worth, to whomever it may interest, here's my latest two cents on the subject.

I'm sure I'll get yelled at, but I have to say this. Folks, you have to let go of the past and try to move forward. I'm aware that there were some issues in the past that were not favorable, but hard as it is to let go of a good fight, as some of you say, the world would be a calmer, more peaceful place, if everyone could let it go and move forward.

I've done shops for Feedback and Sentry. The first time I had an issue, I bit the bullet and called Dave. You know what? It was a good conversation. He explained a bit of what had gone on in the past and he stood up and admitted his mistakes in the process. Yes, I heard the defensiveness in his tone at first (until he realized I was not an attacker), but with all the stuff shoved at him on this forum, it's hard for me to blame him. The important factor to me was that he quickly handled my issue and life has gone on.

I actually think Dave does a pretty good job trying not to go over the top when he feels like he's been attacked, but he is human ... as are all of you. I do think there are some folks here who just love to blast him any chance they get, and that's another place where I wish folks would step back and try to move forward in peace.

Here's a reality check for everyone. Dave is one of the most accessible MSCs out there. You can email him and you can call him and he tends to respond in a timely manner and he handles whatever issues are out there. Having worked with many MSCs, there are but a handful that in my view are truly available to their shoppers. There are improvements to be made with the support ticket process at Sentry, but for now, when there is a problem, I know I can contact Dave and he'll take care of it. Obviously, he also follows this forum, prepared to help shoppers who have issues.

Again, I'm new to the game, and I missed the big mess from whenever it was when a lot of mistakes were made by a lot of people, including Dave, but let's move forward. Sentry made a purchase of Feedback Plus and has been working on integrating the two companies. They've been changing and organizing their operations, including pay. I like that I can now easily see my statements every month on the Shopmetrics site. Not everyone likes bill.com, but I found the entire process to take about a minute and be entirely painless. The point is that things are getting better as the merging of the companies dust settles.

I don't know Dave personally. I know nothing about him but what I've read here and, more importantly, how I've been treated since that first conversation with him. My advice, not that anyone wants it, is to chill out, back up, take a breath, and move forward with Sentry, if they have shops that are of interest to you. I hope everyone, including Dave, just takes a big breath and counts to ten before responding in any negative way to an upsetting post. I would advise shoppers with issues to email him. He freely gives out his email and as many have said in many posts, he does respond. Give the man a chance. As for Dave, maybe the biggest way to answer complaints is to wait for all to be handled and then reply by saying the situation has been resolved. I've noticed a lot of posters who complain about something are usually pretty decent about coming back and verifying that everything has been handled, and I applaud those folks for being honest in doing so. Unfortunately, sometimes all Dave has to do is write a couple of lines for the unhappy wolves from the past to pounce. As in cooking, sometimes less is more. :}

That's it for now. I usually don't like getting in the middle of these 'arguments,' but sometimes I can't help myself, and that is especially true when I've had positive experience with the subject matter, as I have here. I guess I'm a supporter of Sentry because Dave has been responsive, upfront, and available to my requests. I don't have to go through schedulers, who may or may not be responsive, to reach the head of the company, and I don't get answering machines that are full when I call. That's more than I can say about most MSCs that I deal with.

Good luck, everyone, and as Spock might say, Live long and shop prosperously. <s>

Create an Account or Log In

Membership is free. Simply choose your username, type in your email address, and choose a password. You immediately get full access to the forum.

Already a member? Log In.

TL : DR is the phase you're looking for rasky

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/17/2015 02:17PM by bgriffin.
Though I have not had contact with Dave, I must say that I do love my Sentry assignments, and I agree with the Bill.com being a great way of getting paid. I love being able to see my payment history. I love the stores that I shop for them- I too am supportive of Sentry, and their schedulers are some of the best I have dealt with.
Orrymain, thank you for this post. And my eyes aren't melting; they never do when I'm reading a thoughtful, well-written post, regardless of length. (Rather read those than short posts laden with spelling and punctuation mistakes! Those are painful to read, and my brain melts.)

More to the point, I'm not registered with Sentry. But, after reading your post, I'm going to sign up with the firm. Don't know if it has many shops in my area, but I like what you've said. And I like the idea of being able to reach a "real live" person, on the phone and in a timely fashion, who can assist a shopper.

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

TL : DR is the phase you're looking for rasky

Although, if someone wanted to turn TMW : EM into a thing, I'd be onboard with that.

Shopper in California's Bay Area
After reading this thread, I decided to look at my opportunities. Among the locations in my area there is a listing for the "crushed" fast food restaurant with a good bonus. Unfortunately it is in Kuwait! I guess they list it in case I plan on traveling. No thanks.
I've never understood getting Kuwait. I have not had that show up in my Sentry searches, but I have seen it for other companies. Some of these search engines for the job boards are really weird. Maritz is suddenly giving me my entire state and several other states, even though my filter shows not to give me anything further than 20 miles, I think it is. Go figure. I've noticed, too, that a lot of the companies that use Clientsmart regularly give me things in New York. I just shrug and shake my head. I don't know if all of that is from incorrect data entry by the MSCs or something in the software, be it Shopmetrics, Prophet, or ClientSmart. I left Sassie out because Sassie is the only one I've never had incorrect job board listings, but I have in the other three. Anyway, I'm not headed for Kuwait either, but there are other shops in my area that I do for Sentry and other MSCs where the filter doesn't seem to work correctly. :}
Sentry offers an assortment of opportunities. Because it's the end of the year, pickings are slim like everywhere else.

As for the Shop Metrics platform, the search issue is global. I find it is the worst for me with Coyle.

My posts are solely based on my opinions and for my entertainment, contact a professional if you need real advice.

When you get in debt you become a slave. - Andrew Jackson


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/17/2015 07:24PM by isaiah58.
I think that I know the answer for Maritz. The "distant" shops are always "targeted" shops with an incentive (bonus" which can run from $1.00 to well over $100 per shop. These are the ones that they are having problems getting done. I asked, and was told that the Maritz IT department sets the distance for targeted shops and that overrides your personal search setting. The higher the incentive, the wider the net they cast hoping that one of us "fish" will bite if the incentive is large enough.
@Orrymain wrote:

Maritz is suddenly giving me my entire state and several other states, even though my filter shows not to give me anything further than 20 miles, I think it is. Go figure. :}

Shopping Southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware above the canal, and southwestern NJ since 2008
Hmm, so the restaurants in the Philippines or Korea I see on Coyle are there just in case? I guess this does explain the locations 300 miles away.

My posts are solely based on my opinions and for my entertainment, contact a professional if you need real advice.

When you get in debt you become a slave. - Andrew Jackson
I've never had any major problems with Sentry, just some bizarre exasperating issues with editors who seemed to make up errors just to justify their jobs or maybe mix up guidelines.

For example, for one type of shop you are supposed to describe A,B,C, but not D, but for another type of shop you need to describe B,C,D......but the editor complained that you didn't describe shop 2 in accordance with shop 1's guidelines.

Another time my report exactly followed the example of what they wanted written, only substituting names, locations, activity, and exact quote .yet the editor asked me to redo it and add it that information.

The example may have said something like "John, stocking produce, said, "Hi, may I help you?""

and I wrote "Jane, straightening stock in hair care, said, "Hello."

and the editor claimed I didn't follow the example and left out info.

But I just rephrased and added or deleted what they wanted and they accepted it.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/18/2015 12:21AM by jmitw.
Ah! Okay, that makes sense for Maritz. I checked the available jobs for out of area and they all have bonuses attached, not that all of the bonuses were that wonderful. The low was $5.50 and there was one at $20. Most were $8 or $10.

As far as the Sentry reports, I've had a couple of questions asked, but no major issue. I think, like with all MSCs, there may be one more finicky editor that you hope you never get again. I feel that way about Intellishop, for example, where the rating and feedback has been so finicky a couple of times and glowing the rest of the time, and I do the same thing all the time. It's either the luck of the editor draw or you get them on a bad day.
I used to do mobile phone shops before they became Sentry's domain. Afterwards I do almost as much writing as shops I get paid three times the amount. So I try to avoid their shops. Too little pay for too much narrative. This isn't 2008 any longer.

Do not read so much, look about you and think of what you see there.
Richard Feynman-- letter to Ashok Arora, 4 January 1967, published in Perfectly Reasonable Deviations from the Beaten Track (2005) p. 230
I do one of their fast casuals and one of their banks. On those two the pay is better than fair. I believe it depends on which of their shops you do and how often you've done it, which translates to how familiar you are with the shop and the report. I'm in the DFW area and I understand that $20 here is not the same as $20 in New York so I get it the money may not be right for some of us. Love Bill.com since it got going and I figured out how to look at it. I'm dumb as a rock when I look at something new.

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.
Low pay is something seen by a lot of MSCs unfortunately. I'm so glad the pay went up on the food shop that I love to do. I'm hoping the phone shop will go up as it needs to. Still, that does not bother me as much as the MSC shops I've seen where you are really doing two shops for one and get paid the same as Sentry's phone shop or maybe a dollar or two more. That's taking advantage of shoppers in my view. One MSC is worse than that -- 3 shops for the price of one, though the price is a more acceptable $15 vs $11. However, they lure you in with a shop post that sounds like you're looking for just one thing and then you discover you've accepted a shop where you have actually 4 separate responsibilities and things to price/do. That bugs me. Anyway, yeah, pay should be better for some things, but that certainly applies to many MSCs out there.
Orrymain

Thank you so much for your kind words. It's great to see that there are members of the mysteryshopforum community who are willing to voice their opinion even if it means there will be some blowback from the angry mob.

From the Sentry team to the mysteryshopforum community, Happy Holidays! Be safe, spend time with family and friends and enjoy the holidays!
I think it's great that Orrymain expressed his opinion. I haven't seen any blowback from an angry mob. I think there has been a great expression of opinions. That's what this forum is all about: shoppers expressing opinions about mystery shopping companies.
@pony123lucy wrote:

My problem with Sentry is the low pay.

Then you must be unhappy with the pay structure for well over 50% of the MSCs?? And as for similar shops, I'd say Sentry's pay structure is in the top 25%.

That being said, feel free to leave all the low paying shops (for your personal criteria) for those that see value in them.

My posts are solely based on my opinions and for my entertainment, contact a professional if you need real advice.

When you get in debt you become a slave. - Andrew Jackson
@isaiah58 wrote:

@pony123lucy wrote:

My problem with Sentry is the low pay.

Then you must be unhappy with the pay structure for well over 50% of the MSCs?? And as for similar shops, I'd say Sentry's pay structure is in the top 25%.

That being said, feel free to leave all the low paying shops (for your personal criteria) for those that see value in them.

I don't bother with Sentry because of the low paying jobs either. I just don't have time for them. You must grind out a lot of shops.

Lunch plus $10 fee is not in my top 50%. (If it was an $80 lunch and a $10 fee, maybe...) I have nothing against Sentry, but I don't know that they have any work that interests me. I have the next four days (8 meals - I rarely do breakfast out) lined up. None of the meals have a fee under $25. It's terrible for the diet.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/27/2015 05:14AM by SoCalMama.
so what's the general consensus, is sentry worth signing up for? i was reading the owner's comments in another thread, which brought up a red flag(though it was entertaining). any check that was "lost in the mail" is a check that was never sent. if i'm gonna do shops, i need to be paid without any beating around the bush.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/27/2015 02:56PM by jay225.
When I started with them they only had the burger shops that with pitifully low pay.But I done a couple of them anyway just to see what they were like. Free meal with an hours worth of work not worth it. Then the editor sending me a nasty email stating that cheeseburger is capatilized because it has the companies name in front of it was the last straw for them.
@jay225 wrote:

so what's the general consensus, is sentry worth signing up for? i was reading the owner's comments in another thread, which brought up a red flag(though it was entertaining). any check that was "lost in the mail" is a check that was never sent. if i'm gonna do shops, i need to be paid without any beating around the bush.

It depends on what you want to accomplish. They are a lot like Northfork or Sinclair. Good shops to add to the pile of work. If you don't mind the grind, go for it. Unless I am missing something, they don't have any great accounts or high fees. They work in bulk. Even Marketforce, Stericycle and Intellishop have a few good jobs. So does ACL.

I do find it odd that they have a special system set up to handle payment issues. In almost twenty years of shopping, I only have had a dozen payment issues ever. I have requested (and received) faster payment than scheduled, but to ask for a missing payment... it rarely happens. (Hilli-Dunlap, G3 and Compliance whatevertheywerecalled are the exceptions.)
Where is all the blow back from the angry mob? Personally, I didn't expect any and appear to have been correct.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
There are ample examples on this forum of members who post positive comments about Sentry being marginalized, accused of having agendas or otherwise attacked.
What was the point of this comment when all others were quite positive. Don't want negativity, don't introduce negativity. BTW, this thread was on page four until you bumped it intentionally. Unless you were thanking SoCalMama for saying Sentry doesn't have any great accounts or fees.

@Sentry Marketing wrote:

who are willing to voice their opinion even if it means there will be some blowback from the angry mob.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
LisaSTL - Maybe I was bumping it. What difference does it make to you?

As far as introducing negativity, perhaps you should consider your own advice. After all, you've never addressed the fact that you became unhinged at the mention of deleting a thread, which was clearly made in jest, but have never said a word about an actual thread which was deleted.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/11/2016 07:22AM by Sentry Marketing.
Sorry, you can't reply to this topic. It has been closed.