Julie Posner of CSE fired me because I asked for a bonus

CSE recently began a large project which involved shoppers getting badged. At the time of the badging process, very little was disclosed with respect to the guidelines or requirements. As more information became available, it became clear that while the relatively large payout would be coveted by many shoppers, for me personally, there was too much time and effort involved to justify my participation without a bonus.

I should say, at this point, that my wife and I both have full-time jobs with generous benefits, and most of my shopping is reimbursement-only or reimbursement with a very small payment as a way for us to lower our dining-out costs. People who rely on payouts for their income could easily find this particular project worth their while. I had other reasons for wanting a badge which would be difficult to explain without giving away to much information about the client.

Therefore, I decided to ask Julie for a bonus. Here was her reply:
We are badging over 50 shoppers. We will not be bonusing these shops for anyone. Why should you receive more pay than anyone else? I will contact the project manager to find out the badge return procedure.

I was pretty shocked by her reply, so I replied to get clarification that she was firing me merely because I requested a bonus. Here was her reply:
That is correct, If you are not interested in doing the shops without a bonus I am asking for your badge to be returned. Have a nice weekend.

There was a continued back-and-forth, but the result is that I will be mailing my badge back to Julie tomorrow, since she provided a postage pre-paid envelope on which I insisted as a condition of returning it. I wanted to share this story for any mystery shopper who needs a source of income from CSE to be careful when asking for bonuses.

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.

Sounds like their airport shops.

DrTerminus, having done these kinds of shops, bonuses are rare unless they are up against a deadline. I also know that at least in our case here in Chicago, you do need to be doing those shops at least once every 60 days else the badges get deactivated.

And FWIW, I also work full time with decent benefits so I'd only take a round on the weekends. The first couple of times you perform one of their rotations, it can take awhile to enter the shops in. Eventually I got a system in place and I was able to get the shops done quicker and also had a decent system for making sure I didn't mix up the receipts with the shops,

Silver certified (since 2009) and willing to do shops all around the greater Chicago, NW Indiana, and Southern Wisconsin areas (including airports!.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/30/2017 04:10AM by petrohd.
Julie has been cranky lately. I can see why. She isn't normally that way, but the last couple of months.... she's not on my "favorite person to deal with" list.

I'm badged at more than one airport. The CSE shops were easy and profitable.

You didn't ask for a bonus, you asked for a higher rate of pay. What makes you think that you deserve that? Are you a better airport shopper than me? Doubt it. Am I the best airport shopper? Doubt that too, but I am pretty darn good at it. I have received bonuses when I have helped out in special cases, picked up shops that other shoppers missed or messed up, etc. I don't start out by telling them that I want more than everyone else. I have done a few hundred shops for them. I have been with them for over 15 years.

Normally, we don't get to actually see other shoppers. I was not impressed with what I saw, in some cases. For example, if you look like you are headed out for a fun day of "garage sailing", that's probably not going to impress the MSC. Use common sense people! On the other hand, I met a really nice and smart lady that I wish I'd exchanged info with. I can't believe that they badged 50 shoppers. I hope that they got 20 good ones out of that group.
50 does seem rather high....unfortunately they stopped the Chicago airports last summer but I don't think they had that many shoppers between the two airports (one month I did two weeks in a row at one airport and did the other airport within a week or two around that!)

Keep one thing in mind too....the badging process is not that simple. There is paperwork to be filled out and the shoppers need to go in and get fingerprinted. Its only after you pass a background check that you get your badge. Sometimes that process can take awhile. In the meanwhile, CSE is trying to get shops assigned as I am sure there are deadlines to be met. So yea I can see Julie not being in the best of moods.

I've never had a problem with CSE...all great people to work with.

Silver certified (since 2009) and willing to do shops all around the greater Chicago, NW Indiana, and Southern Wisconsin areas (including airports!.
Not sure how helpful this is but:

You were not fired. They never hired you. Based on your story, you are not eligible for this one project, they have not de-activated your account with them, correct? You used the term "fired," not CSE. They invested in getting you a badge, then you (in their minds) attempted to take advantage of them.They have the right to have a policy in place and not have to explain themselves.

I am a commissioned sales associate. If I were to complain to my managers that I feel I deserve to be paid a higher commission than everyone else, that could lead to them being concerned about my work. At CSE, they may have run into this situation before and put a policy in place as to how to deal with it. They can not observe you doing the work, your request became a red flag for them which they dealt with the way they needed to.

I've voiced here before that asking for bonuses as a habit, especially when popular opportunities are just listed, can result in being flagged internally by a MSC.

Job listing sites; [www.msjobboard.com] - Shopmetrics; [www.mystshopsol.com]; [www.jobslinger.com] - Sassie; [www.volition.com] - Various links; [www.mspa-na.org] -MSPA Members; link at bottom of forum page to their extensive list of companies
While I am not a fan of using the word fired (we are not employees and cannot be "fired" ) , it sounds like a bit of a drastic response to me.

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


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/30/2017 01:08PM by bgriffin.
@SoCalMama wrote:

You didn't ask for a bonus, you asked for a higher rate of pay. What makes you think that you deserve that? Are you a better airport shopper than me? Doubt it. Am I the best airport shopper? Doubt that too, but I am pretty darn good at it.

Exactly. You didn't get "fired." You stated that the pay wasn't worth it to you and you would only consider it if you were paid a higher rate. The company declined to pay the higher rate. You basically declined the job, or quit. What would be the purpose of keeping you as a badged shopper if you weren't willing to do the work at the stated pay? Good for Julie Posner for just ending it quickly. If you don't want to work for the posted fee, fine. That's your right. No company is obligated to give you a higher rate.
I see nothing in the OPs post that said he declined to work because there was no bonus, he merely asked if one were available.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
Let me get this straight, you wanted the badge for purposes other than shopping for CSE, if I am reading correctly, to perform shops for another client or at least something for another client. After getting that advantage, you then wanted a bonus out of the starting gate.

Seems like an appropriate response from Julie.

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 don't do the airport shops, but I've worked with Julie on a number of other projects. I have always found her to be very helpful. Sorry you had a bad experience.
@bgriffin wrote:

I see nothing in the OPs post that said he declined to work because there was no bonus, he merely asked if one were available.

Not exactly.

Shopper: Is there a bonus?
Julie: No. This project is not bonused. We won't just pay you more than everyone else doing the project.
Julie: Are you saying that you won't do them without a bonus, ever?
Shopper: Yes, that's what I am saying.
Julie: Mail back your badge.
@SoCalMama wrote:

Julie: Are you saying that you won't do them without a bonus, ever?
Shopper: Yes, that's what I am saying.

There was nothing in the OP that indicated or even hinted this part of the conversation took place. If indeed it did then I certainly understand but I read the post as:

Shopper: Is there a bonus available for these?
Julie: No. I will be asking for your badge back.
Shopper: Because I asked for a bonus??
Julie: Yes

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


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/31/2017 02:40AM by bgriffin.
Here you go:

Therefore, I decided to ask Julie for a bonus. Here was her reply:
We are badging over 50 shoppers. We will not be bonusing these shops for anyone. Why should you receive more pay than anyone else? I will contact the project manager to find out the badge return procedure.

I was pretty shocked by her reply, so I replied to get clarification that she was firing me merely because I requested a bonus. Here was her reply:
That is correct, If you are not interested in doing the shops without a bonus I am asking for your badge to be returned. Have a nice weekend.

She clarified that if he won't shop without a bonus, he won't be needing the badge. If he was willing to do the shops at the regular rate, she could have kept him on the project.

To be clear, he did not ask for a bonus. He asked for an ongoing higher rate of pay than everyone else every single time he does these shops.
I read that as her assumption that he would not be doing them without a bonus. If he replied in the affirmative then yes he has no need for a badge. It just seems to me she made the decision to take the badge prior to that.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
The problem may be the OP is giving the impression Julie's statements are quotes. Meanwhile he is giving us the briefest overview of his own questions/comments. Why would Julie have made the statement, "If you are not interested in doing the shops without a bonus I am asking for your badge to be returned." if the OP had not indicated this was the case?

I have found after most MSCs invest the time and expense to get a shopper qualified for a project, they don't just have a snit and remove the shopper for something as innocuous, "Is there bonus available?"

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.
Wow-wee. There's a lot of interpolation above regarding the conversation between OP and scheduler. The OP doesn't indicate that he gave an ultimatum, just that he asked for a bonus. Maybe Julie was pissed at being bothered by a bonus request over a holiday weekend, was feeling no pain, and responded just as abruptly as indicated. I think the takeaway here is to phrase bonus requests in such a way that they cannot be misunderstood as an ultimatum.
As suggested above, there is a lot that we the peanut gallery do not really know about the dynamics of this situation - from both the perspective of the OP and the MSC. Still, there are things we can extrapolate from what we do know:
* Any time we think a shop's compensation sounds really appealing for the amount of work involved, we must ask a question of the scheduler - such as "Can I see the guidelines before signing up?" I've never been refused when I've done this. I generally accompany the request with a statement such as, "I like to know what I'm stepping into before I commit." I can think of some shops (Ikea, *cough*) where I regretted not making said request first....
* There is a huge difference between asking for more money before accepting a shop and after. Personally, I can't bring myself to ask for more money after I've taken a shop. I feel like I've given my word and simply swallow my pride and consider it a "lesson learned." I have emailed a scheduler and said, "I'm sorry, but XXX requirement was not listed in the overview and, now that I read it in the guidelines, I'm afraid that I cannot complete this shop." I've never had a problem with this.
* If you are going to ask for a bonus after accepting a shop, you had best be very diplomatic with your wording.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
I was badged for 5 years but I quit after more than three years. However I did it for a year or so while on a temporary badge. It must have cost a lot to badge a number of us as it was a thorough procedure. I protected that badge more than I did my passport. It gave me more access to the terminals, more than a regular airport employee.

However, it was hard work and and very tough on my digestive system. It was exciting but I would not want to do it again although occasionally, I get some escorted restaurant shops. I had never thought of asking for a bonus as the fees and reimbursements were non-negotiable, as far as I knew.
@risinghorizon wrote:

... I had never thought of asking for a bonus as the fees and reimbursements were non-negotiable, as far as I knew.

Yes. There's the rub. Common wisdom seems to be that shoppers should feel free ask for bonuses because the worst that can happen is the MSC says no. This post says otherwise--you can be kicked off a long term assignment if you ask for a bonus. The problem is that we don't know the full circumstances here.
@risinghorizon wrote:

I had never thought of asking for a bonus as the fees and reimbursements were non-negotiable, as far as I knew.

Without asking you have no idea if the fees are negotiable or not.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
I've never worked with Julie, but I've worked with other schedulers from CSE, and have sometimes asked if a bonus is available on a particular shop. Sometimes I've been told yes and sometimes no. But nobody's ever gotten in a snit because I asked.

On its face, it seems as if the shopper didn't deliver any kind of ultimatum, but we really don't know the details. If indeed the shopper was asked to return his badge simply because he inquired about a bonus, the MSCs response seems way over the top.

If, on the other hand, the ensuing back and forth included the shopper arguing that the shops weren't worth his time without a bonus, or anything that led the scheduler to believe that the shopper was saying he flat-out won't do them without the bonus, then I can see that the ultimate result would be that the MSC would pull the badge. But that's not what I "hearing" initially from the 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.
On another point, I asked CSE about getting badged and was told they don't handle it. Is this a recent change for them, or do they only do it for certain shoppers?

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

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


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/31/2017 02:35PM by bgriffin.
If you happen to see that your airport has multiple shops then there is a possibility they are badging folks. Since Chicago stopped the program last summer, I am not sure which airports are ones people can get badged at other than San Francisco.

Silver certified (since 2009) and willing to do shops all around the greater Chicago, NW Indiana, and Southern Wisconsin areas (including airports!.
Chris, there is a big difference between asking for a bonus before accepting an assignment and after. Despite all the obfuscation, one thing perfectly clear from the OP's first post is his request was not just after accepting the assignment, it was after the badging process was complete.

Just from reading the forum, getting badged for airport assignments has always appeared to be a complicated and time consuming process. It strikes me there was ample time to request the MSC provide the full scope of the project. MFJohnston was spot on about getting details before making a commitment. The MSC may not be inclined to give full guidelines for a one off shop, but they are willing for large ongoing projects. They don't want us waiting to find out it is not the right assignment any more than we do.

@ChrisCooper wrote:

Yes. There's the rub. Common wisdom seems to be that shoppers should feel free ask for bonuses because the worst that can happen is the MSC says no. This post says otherwise--you can be kicked off a long term assignment if you ask for a bonus. The problem is that we don't know the full circumstances here.

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.
@bgriffin wrote:

They only do it for certain airports.

Ah. Thanks! I live near a very small airport, although it's considered an "international" one. I'm looking into getting badged some other way....

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

@bgriffin wrote:

They only do it for certain airports.

Ah. Thanks! I live near a very small airport, although it's considered an "international" one. I'm looking into getting badged some other way....
You can only get badged to shop if there is a company that has a contract there that will sponsor you. It's unlikely that a small airport has that.

BTW anyone who actually works on these projects for CSE understands how absolutely absurd the OP's request is. I'm one of the peons who will work for $300 a day, since I don't have the amazing day job that OP clearly has. Must be nice to just wave your hand and demand the fee suitable for yourself. He should definitely get paid more than the rest.
Bye Felicia.
Granted I'm pretty casual at this, but I've found pretty good luck at receiving bonuses by primarily asking when the company was seeking me out or the tone of their mailers was a bit panicked. I've managed to maintain a certain side money quota while brutally cutting the workload down as a result.

Additionally, no quarrel intended, but by shopping standards I find the LAX project is good pay for less busywork than I'm used to. Not the greatest, but honestly a damn sight better than most of what's out there.

Finally, I have to take other peoples' word on Julie. I treat her the same as most other schedulers; I assume she's busy as hell with many other people making similar requests, contact her only when I am completely lost in the woods, and keep it concise. She's been nothing but professional with me, even gave me a positive citation out the blue.
@bgriffin wrote:

They only do it for certain airports.
Yes, it's only available at certain airports and usually the badges are at the expense of the sponsor or owner of the concessions. I was asked if I wanted to be badged and I thought I would not be a good fit because I used to get very nervous at the airport screening. Eventually, I agreed. The bar parts got me. winking smiley But I breeze through the screening now without any problem, granted the pass holders go through a different area.

I do not regret having quit. Maybe, it was a blessing in disguise for you, OP.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login