Sentry Marketing unfair rejected report

The first time I submit a shop for Sentry they rejected report bc they said the photo of my food was Inadequate - they didn’t really say what was wrong but I assume they were complaining bc some of the sauce was smeared on the plate (required to take photo of food “unaltered”) At the restaurant customers pick up food and silverware from a ledge and carry to table. So my food got jostled a bit and sauce got a little smeared before I took the photo but you can clearly see the whole item on the plate. It is unfair to reject for something so minor and that is caused by the way the business operates. What is really appalling is they rejected without talking to me so for all they know the food may have come from the kitchen like this. I have done secret shops off and on for 20years and this is the first time I have ever had a shop rejected. I am suspicious that Sentry is gathering info for clients without paying shoppers by looking for minor issues to reject a shop. Seems like a coaching email for future shops rather than an outright rejection would have been more fair or even a partial reduction in compensation. To not even reimburse for the cost of purchase makes me uncomfortable doing shops for them.

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@Ladyt606

Did we ask you if you had any other photos of the food item? For many of our projects, a photo of the food item is required. The photo must be taken before the item has been touched/eaten. Our clients will not accept reports that do have the required photos.

I am happy to look into this situation for you. Feel free to reach out to me via PM or email (dave@sentrymarketing.com).

Thanks

Dave
Have you directly inquired as to the reason for the photograph being deemed inadequate? Ask Dave - the owner. Folks won't always agree with him, but he will respond to your inquiry. You can even PM him on this forum.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
Our clients will not accept reports that do have the required photos.

That's unfortunate.

This is also one of the reasons that I have not chosen to complete assignments for Sentry. If an explanation is not provided of what was not acceptable, how can you determine if there is a problem on the companies end of the process? If I have a question and the answer is that they do not answer questions from their shoppers, why would anyone complete assignments for a company who's communication is one sided? I would not.
@RoutedNotOuted

Your concern is totally understanding. Our team did provide specific information with regard to why the photograph did not meet the project requirements. The following is the exact feedback we provided for the report in question:

"After review of your report, it is being rejected as the photo of the ordered item was not taken before the item was touched or altered in any way. The instructions state, “A photo of all your items ordered is required. Your shop cannot be submitted without this photo. You MUST take a clear, original photograph of your entree(s) before you begin eating and submit it with your report for the shop to be valid"."

I hope this information provides you with a different perspective on this issue.
I mean... it sounds like she followed the instructions. Did she submit a clear/original photo showing all items ordered before she began eating? If so, I don’t see why this report would get rejected over the photo.

Was the food massively destroyed? Dumped off the plate and then tossed back on in a nasty mess? It’s impossible to know the full scope here without seeing the photo, of course.
The photo submitted is from the back of the food item. The item is a burrito. When compared against other photos from published mystery shops, the item looks about 1/2 the size. There are smears on the plate that cannot be attributed to silverware moving around. When we zoomed into the photo, the far end of the items appears to be open, rather than the closed end of a burrito.

There is a crumpled up napkin in the photo that has sauce on it in a least two places.

We don't enjoy rejecting reports. The shop reports we send to our clients, however, must be able to withstand a normal/reasonable level of scrutiny.
@RoutedNotOuted wrote:

Our clients will not accept reports that do have the required photos.

That's unfortunate.

This is also one of the reasons that I have not chosen to complete assignments for Sentry. If an explanation is not provided of what was not acceptable, how can you determine if there is a problem on the companies end of the process? If I have a question and the answer is that they do not answer questions from their shoppers, why would anyone complete assignments for a company who's communication is one sided? I would not.

Looks like they provided suitable feedback here with several sentences explaining why her shop was declined. Not surprisingly, the shopper neglected to provide us with all of the facts in the matter before posting.

CEO The Mystery Shoppers Depot
US Wide route shopper with 10k+ shops completed over 47 states and two countries.
Airbnb host based in Chicago and 10% discount if you mention this forum
@Ladyt606 wrote:

The first time I submit a shop for Sentry they rejected report bc they said the photo of my food was Inadequate - they didn’t really say what was wrong but I assume they were complaining bc some of the sauce was smeared on the plate (required to take photo of food “unaltered”) At the restaurant customers pick up food and silverware from a ledge and carry to table. So my food got jostled a bit and sauce got a little smeared before I took the photo but you can clearly see the whole item on the plate. It is unfair to reject for something so minor and that is caused by the way the business operates. What is really appalling is they rejected without talking to me so for all they know the food may have come from the kitchen like this. I have done secret shops off and on for 20years and this is the first time I have ever had a shop rejected. I am suspicious that Sentry is gathering info for clients without paying shoppers by looking for minor issues to reject a shop. Seems like a coaching email for future shops rather than an outright rejection would have been more fair or even a partial reduction in compensation. To not even reimburse for the cost of purchase makes me uncomfortable doing shops for them.

It sounds like you came here and told us that you didn't touch or do anything to the food prior to eating it but it's clear from below that your picture showed a napkin with sauce on several places, a back view of the burrito only, and the other side looked as if it were opened/eaten. When compared to other shoppers photos your burrito was 1/2 the size of other ones and did not look like everyone elses.

This seems to be a significant difference from the information you shared with us that stated you only bumped the food on your walk to the table.

CEO The Mystery Shoppers Depot
US Wide route shopper with 10k+ shops completed over 47 states and two countries.
Airbnb host based in Chicago and 10% discount if you mention this forum
No significance difference -I said I had silverware on the plate and movement of silverware caused sauce to smear. That I did not initially say I wiped off the smear does not change the fact that my silverware on the plate resulted in smeared sauce. Had I been told my photo was been rejected because I accidental damaged the “presentation” that would have at least been accurate. The instructions have impression that photos were to verify what you ordered -receipt and food should match. My instructions said to take photo before any part is “consumed” -I had not taken a single bite before taking the photo. I asked to be shown an acceptable photo to compare to mine - no acceptable photo was provided and instead I was simply told mine looked to be half the size of others. I would really like to see these other photos since I know my entire entree was in the photo. I was asked to provide a side view the day after the shop. I recommend to others who plan to do these shops -ask for a sample of how they want the photo to look, take multiple photos from various angles (of course this might draw -I was trying to be discreet when I took my photos).

I hope in general people will post stories of shops that are rejected so as to help others avoid these snares, although from reading some other posts it seems like things that have been acceptable become unacceptable wo warning perhaps bc too many shops were scheduled and they don’t need them all (saw a post about that happening)
OP, when your story keeps changing....well.

A few months ago I ate five bites of my entree, then stopped; realizing I was supposed to take a picture before eating it. I moved a few things around, with that inside feeling telling me this is wrong. I took a picture. Then I smiled, enjoyed me meal, and rescheduled the shop.

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Sentry...this is BS. One can't NOT alter the plate if one touches it and delivers it to the table....unless, of course,one carries it like delicate crystal...
Yeah, it's not that difficult to move your plate of food without spilling anything or rearranging things. Especially if you're aware that you'll need a picture of the food as it was presented to you.
@winemaker

It's unfortunate that you have a negative view of our company.

We have no nefarious motivation to invalidate reports because these situations almost always creates a fire drill in which a replacement assignment needs to be scheduled in a short timeframe. Many times we can accept a report with guideline deviations, however, this depends on the client and the type of deviation. In this instance, the deviation left us without an alternative course of action.
Dave, if you could post a link to the rejected photo it would help defend your position and the reputation of Sentry. It would also influence shoppers who might be on the fence about taking jobs for Sentry.
When I had a question on one of my reports the scheduler tried at least 3 times to get the editor to answer the question for me. The final answer from the editors; Yes they really said this: "Editors don't answer shopper questions." WOW, HUTZ PA (I am sure I spelled that wrong.)
Not taking sides here, 'cuz I don't know all the facts, but two things strike me:

1. I've seen cooks or servers literally slap a plate down on a counter so hard or so carelessly that food does get all messed up. (When I was a waitress in school, I handled a plate of spaghetti so carelessly that the entire pile literally slid off of the plate. Talk about embarrassing!)

2. It seems that it should be fairly easy to tell whether or not something has been cut into or bitten into. A burrito that looks "open" on one end may have simply been rolled loosely. That being said, I'd think a shopper would take care to photograph the food from several different angles specifically so that it would be clear that no bites had been taken out of it and that the food arrived at the table in a less-than-neat condition.

Not sure the information provided by either party is sufficient to figure out what happened--without seeing the photo.

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

I actually thought about doing this however, ultimately I have decided not to publish the photo online. All this will do is cause another huge debate among forum members.

Anybody with experience in this industry know that there is no motivation for a company to reject a report. Clients don't pay for reports that are not sent to them, schedulers don't need any more stress than they already have in their and the social media beating is not pleasant. Rejected shops are a part of industry.

Prior to starting Sentry, I was a shopper who completed about 50 - 60 shops per month at my busiest. I once had a retail computer sales shop rejected because I failed to visit the bathroom. At the time, I was pretty pissed off about it. I had another shop rejected because the MSC learned I was a regular customer of the location (this was a coffee shop). The guidelines didn't say that you cannot visit the location outside of the mystery shopping program. I understand the frustration and disappointment that goes along with a invalidated assignment. That being said, we don't take this action lightly and we try to do everything we can to avoid invalidating a report.

@catlassy - I'm sorry that you had an unpleasant experience with our team. I don't know the details of your situation. Please feel free to PM me to discuss further.
I was commenting about something very specific...."altering a plate" when one is required to pick it up from a counter....of course it has to be altered...the food moves on the plate!
I tried it last night when serving dinner to my wife and a couple eating at our house. It was impossible not to have the food move, at least a little.
The plate was wiped and the napkin was soiled.

@RoutedNotOuted wrote:

Did the OP wipe the plate with the napkin?
@Sentry Marketing wrote:


Prior to starting Sentry, I was a shopper who completed about 50 - 60 shops per month at my busiest. I once had a retail computer sales shop rejected because I failed to visit the bathroom. At the time, I was pretty pissed off about it.

You were pissed off that a report was denied because you forgot to visit the bathroom, yet you think it is acceptable to deny shops because the photo does not look like other shopper's photos? Maybe the burrito was prepared incorrectly, ​and that is why it looks different?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/13/2018 04:52PM by jenamars.
Can't say one way or the other without seeing the photo. I do take multiple photos from different angles every time a photo is required on a shop.
"Prior to starting Sentry, I was a shopper who completed about 50 - 60 shops per month at my busiest. I once had a retail computer sales shop rejected because I failed to visit the bathroom. At the time, I was pretty pissed off about it."

Pun intended, I presume!

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 would never be "pissed" because I failed to visit the bathroom, LOL. I was going to say that would be on me, LOL but that would be even more punny and a little gross...and I am a bit tidier than that.

So sometimes it's hard to gauge in the forum whether we have disgruntled shoppers complaining because they messed up or whether they are disgruntled because they are being treated unfairly. Often I would go to bat for a MSC based on my own personal experiences or my perceptions of them from reading other people's posts. Having no recent and positive personal experiences to gauge by, and not being encouraged in a positive manner by what I have read from this MSC owner's posts overall, I can't.
Post the photo, Dave. At this point it really can't do any harm and if it indeed is lacking, it should help.
Since the plate was wiped with the napkin, it is an unusable shop. Peeps, do not alter your food.
There are so many "we don't know" variables...wiping the plate is not altering the food, but taking a bite then wiping your face and leaving the napkin in the photo is. But we don't know what happened and haven't seen the photo, so...
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