JM Ridgeway

I am not sure if this is posted in the right section. Please feel free to move if not. This is simply a statement and just some business advice. Excuse the length. I am not looking for agreement, I just need to vent , cleanse my spirit and move on.

I have been an industry shopper for 26 years. From the days of writing it all by hand and dropping in the mail box I am MSPA Gold Certified. In my professional life, I have held the role of SVP of Sales for a Fortune 100 CPG for many years. I am currently an adjunct Journalism and Entrepreneuriship Professor for a local college.. I just completed my Doctorate Degree. I have worked tirelessly for years with three trips to Capitol Hill to speak to members of Congress on the rights of the consumer and the independent business contractor. I say all these things not to brag by any means, I say these things to state, experience I thought did count for something in our lovely industry of Mystery Shopping. Unfortunately, this past year. I have sensed a sad change in treatment of Shoppers. I am speaking to the deplorable comments and disrespectful behavior I have received recently from schedulers and editors.

I totally understand that the world is a stressful place. We live in a country that requires many to hold two, three or four jobs to meet simple needs and/or wants. Add to this the stress and anxiety that can come from just daiiy living. In addition, I understand as an industry, it is a positive and sometimes negative that anyone can simply click a button to complete a shop regardless of training and experience thus, schedulers and editors or often forced to experience "flakes" and "novices" this will never change. It is just a constant. However, there are many of us that truly care and want nothing but to do our best.

I have had a nightmare at Ridgeway. I accepted a shop that looked easy enough. I read my guidelines highlighter in hand anxious to complete and experience as I'm just a curious soul. I drove to the location last week and an unexpected snowstorm hit that made the 1 hour ride each way, 2.5 and 3 each way including sliding off the road on the way down the interstate. I slowed down and continued as I did not want to let my scheduler down.

I arrived and completed all 3+ locations in record time all things weather considering. I returned home late 2am to begin input however, the format for the system was something I had never experienced before. It required a PDF to be filled out that was an attachment sent by scheduler. I read, re read and re read the guidelines and instructions. I could not get it to work. Alas, it was not a fillable pdf. I am pretty tech savvy. I struggled for two days and over 12 hours with it total before the scheduler sent me back a simple email to my multiple requests for help . I can only imagine if you are not tech savvy. I did not want to cause a blemish on my professional reputation nor their need for timely submission. I was sweating and stressed out. The scheduler finally answered me back and simply said, "You need Adobe." Well, yes. I know that for pdf. yet, that wasnt my issue or question. I sent back two more asking for an editable to be sent or word doc I could convert or any suggestion so I could embed into Sassie form. It was unbelieveably complicated and it did not have to be so complicated. The issue, the form was not friendly to most computer systems.

I never got another response. After another 24 hours of which I spent 6 trying to complete. I refuse to quit! I finally figured out I had to pay $20 to get a PDF filler app to allow me to complete. (Yet eating again into the ROI). I am now totally doing this for free with labor and drive time. Not to mention. ( Surprise! I had to pay for parking with each location. I emailed to ask the scheduler about this and never received a response.)

I finally get it done after nearly 3 days of non stop trying to figure it out. I had to turn in Sassie as I would rather it not have attachments/embedded pdfs with other information so I won't be listed as a "flake" or late and then forward info later. I had to make a split second decision. I figured for scheduler board and I this was best decision.

I finally get it figured out! Yay!!! I email all the three pdf attachments to get this message last night exactly" Stop sending these attachments to me."....thud...I replied, well, I had already hit the button in Sassie and I could not attach. Perhaps you can forward to editor? No response....crickets.... I email again.......crickets. I got another tart response. Huh? I get on the company website and find an email address for someone to contact.

I email scheduler, cc Frank, attorney generals of our respective states stating this needs mediator to get answers. I am not sure what I've done but, this is not good.

Frank emails to tell me there is nothing the AG's can do for me. Oh yeah, did I mention that for many years due to my work on Capitol Hill, I have close relationships with AG's and SBA so I am very versed in why they are in place for the consumer. He proceeds to tell me not to talk to anyone but him and just a lot of other things that if I were not whom I were professionally, I could have easily believed everything he said. He had a really negative response. Which I understand could stem from the fact that the AG's were notified however, there still is opportunity for us to discuss. i had to get their attention. No one was answering. I have had issue in past as well.

Overall to end, sorry so lengthy. I tell you all this for a reason. My case is still being sorted but just know.
1. You have rights as an independent Contractor.
2. Always talk to individuals with respect and expect the same from them
3. There is nothing wrong with asking for help and expecting help from schedulers or editors.
4. Just because someone tells you you're not allowed to do something or someone can not help you in your plight, doesn't mean it is true. Question it.
5. Keep good records.
6. Challenge a decision with respectful language and actions
7. If someone speaks to you in a negative, hurtful or disrespectful manner, answer professionally, keep good records and know your AG office, BBB, SBA are there for you to assist if you can't get resolution to aid in mediation or to insure you are respected.

Sorry again so lengthy. Regardless, this is an amazing industry and we serve a greater good. Don't let the negative unprofessional actions of a few bad eggs change your destiny.

Thank you. My spirit is cleansed. I am off shopping! Happy Holidays

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So, let me get this straight. You had issues submitting a set of shops, and you emailed the Attorney Generals of two States?
I followed up with the Attorney General based upon the behavior over the course of 2018 cumulating in the latest issue which occurred yesterday. So the issue wasn't just over being unable to submit a shop as you state. The issue was over "pardons" of behavior over the course of a year which resulted in the "straw that broke the camel's back" as we say from my hometown. As a 26 year seasoned veteran, I have had many issues of being unable to submit a shop that is the life of a shopper wouldn't you say?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/20/2018 02:41AM by Mrs.M.
I signed up with JMRidgeway but all their shops appear to be in MN so I've never worked for them. I'm SO glad to have dodged that bullet.
@Mrs.M wrote:

I followed up with the Attorney General based upon the behavior over the course of 2018 cumulating in the latest issue which occurred yesterday. So the issue wasn't just over being unable to submit a shop as you state. The issue was over "pardons" of behavior over the course of a year which resulted in the "straw that broke the camel's back" as we say from my hometown. As a 26 year seasoned veteran, I have had many issues of being unable to submit a shop that is the life of a shopper wouldn't you say?

I was clarifying your point.

So, you emailed two Attorney Generals over the treatment of IC's, specifically mystery shoppers, after this latest incident that "broke the camel's back"? Is that correct?
I have at times been incensed with a particular MSC or editor, but I generally manage to find some level of perspective short of external intervention. Sometimes I just boycott them. My exception was the infamous Utah MSC which scheduled expensive carpet cleaning shops (not the MSC that schedules them now) and I had to resort to the Better Business Bureau, a Utah TV station, and the Utah Attorney general in order to collect several hundred dollars. I was sent a check. Many, many other shoppers got nothing when the MSC disappeared / went bankrupt.

Shopping Southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware above the canal, and southwestern NJ since 2008
PDF? I've done a number of shops for JMRidgeway and had never had a PDF. Can you give us any more detail about the shop? I've always just had a Sassie form to fill out.
@weatherman2111 wrote:

PDF? I've done a number of shops for JMRidgeway and had never had a PDF. Can you give us any more detail about the shop? I've always just had a Sassie form to fill out.

Same....
I have never seen a JMR shop with a PDF, either. IMO, JMR is pretty low tech.

I would have probably just printed out the PDF, fill it in by hand, use a smartphone/digital camera/scanner to capture images of the filled out forms as JPGs, and attach the JPGs into SASSIE.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/21/2018 12:32PM by SueGraftonFan.
Recently, I had a group of video shops for JMR that required a PDF instead of the form being on Sassie, these were college housing shops that were scheduled through a scheduling company. The instructions were detailed and the scheduler explained how to open the fillable PDF through Chrome (if I am recalling the instructions correctly), they also checked the PDF before submitting to JMR to make sure the form calculated the scores and filled out correctly.
Truly baffling to me yet I see it constantly in my nonprofit work. Why create a PDF then not make it fillable? It doesn't take a computer science degree to create one from scratch or convert a current form to fillable PDF you just need a full version of Acrobat.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/20/2018 02:56PM by wwin.
It may be a bullet with one name on it. While I don't shop for them anymore, I never had an experience like OP mentioned. And I've never had an experience or set of experiences that led me to call the State General Attorney. I actually enjoyed their shops and editors.

@kryswyn916 wrote:

I signed up with JMRidgeway but all their shops appear to be in MN so I've never worked for them. I'm SO glad to have dodged that bullet.

The internet doesn't make you smart. It makes you good at regurgitation.
I haven't had any problems with submitting shops for them, but when I had to email Frank for a simple question on payment (if a check I received was valid since it wasn't for the amount I expected and it looked strange) he basically blew up on me and told me that JM Ridgeway was not behind on payments to me and to read the site! They weren't using paypal anymore because paypal is awful! Cue two weeks later when I got another payment from them via paypal....anyways....I have never done much work for them and probably won't in the future, but Frank is a hostile ignorant person (who from what I hear is part owner of the company).
There are also free "PDF to Fill" websites.

@wwin wrote:

Truly baffling to me yet I see it constantly in my nonprofit work. Why create a PDF then not make it fillable? It doesn't take a computer science degree to create one from scratch or convert a current form to fillable PDF you just need a full version of Acrobat.

The internet doesn't make you smart. It makes you good at regurgitation.
As an IC, you choose who you work for. After getting some nasty emails from the owner, unprovoked, I choose not to work for them. You can easily do likewise.
They have the nicest schedulers and the rudest owner. Frank is an a**. As much as I enjoyed their shops, I won't do them any longer. I simply will not allow anyone to be that condescending and rude to me.
Instead of wasting three days, trying to figure it out, you could have simply posted the question here.

For future needs, you can print to pdf and save the pdf file that way.
Bravo to you. I just want individuals to know what you as a contractor have rights. You did the correct thing. The agencies are there for you.
I didn't need to post here. That wasn't the point. The point is, the responsibility of the company whether in our industry or not in terms of how to guide and partner with their contractors. In 26 years, leading Fortune Companies, tech and forms not a problem. I knew how to complete the forms. Was their process not my lack of knowledge The company is to provide support. Thanks for your offer though.
I did do so. However, you chose to do nothing. That's great for you. I chose to not accept distespectful language and behavior. So your way worked for you. Mine worked for me. I got my money owed and an apology for language . I'm very happy as a consumer and contractor.
You are correct. Doesn't take a business degree to know, hmm 26 years and a Fortune Executive that that was more than likely the first thing tried. So thanks for your laugh. You are funny!
I chose not to do the shops and not allow anyone to disrespect me either. You have every right to expect to be spoken to respectfully and for individuals to understand the needs of the audience they are serving. I totally agree. So Bravo to you!!!
Exactly!! Everyone keeps missing the point. You are to expect proper service as an Independent Contractor. You and I both I am sure are very skilled individuals professionally and personally. It's okay to expect the right items sent to you. If I have to go search for everything then, you owe me more money for labor. That's any business or organization.Your time is also figured into your ROI. So, thank you. You are correct.
Well....winking smiley I never mentioned a name but I'll say I am sure it was one individual you know well and another mentioned previously.

I am so happy to read you took steps to not accept behaviors!! ME TOO!

Yes!! I walked away as well however, I was not walking away from a company without being paid for my time, issued an apology for lack of audience prep and for unfavorable responses and language.

My mother and my Grandmother who grew up in Kentucky, were strong women! They always said, "If you don't stand for something, you fall for anything. .."

So keep standing sister. Keep standing.
Thank you.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/23/2018 08:40AM by Mrs.M.
You know. I worked for them for years with no issue. It was really a change based on an individual and how they chose to handle a situation disrespectfully. I would say to you, give them a try. As you know, the vast majority of people in our industry are delightful!! Every now and then a bad egg.

It all ended well for me. Unfortunately, it required a mediator.

Please, try them our though.
I can't mention the exact shop but, it actually just needed a form revision. Usually, you know we get a fillable PDF if a company wants a filled form attached to the report. If for some reason it was not editable PDF when sent, you can simply make it fillable as some contractors choose to do or ask for forum help as some choose to do. I chose to ask them for assistance in fixing their own form.

There was an issue on their end. So the form needed to be reformatted. I chose to ask the company for help as we should. Because, it doesn't solve for the next person to simply, blow it off, quit company, fix yourself.

I was spoken to very harshly about "bothering" someone for help.

So it was a standard PDF, it needed some tweaks to make fillable and offer compatibility.

Overall, I treat mystery shopping as a business. Im all about ROI. Every extra second I have to put into something cuts into my business metrics. RPH-Rate Per Hour, RPD-Rate per day. I set monthly metrics for myself in which I figure labor costs. The company whom hired contractor should be expected to handle needs of their contractors.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/23/2018 09:17AM by Mrs.M.
Exactly! You had an awesome experience ! That was the way to handle!!!!! Wow. That's amazing. I've had nothing but good experiences with the company in the past.
Yes. Technically, in any situation we should try to solve. When there are continous situations documented of verbal messages that you deem were disrespectful/unprofessional against your person, that is why we have our respective state offices to serve as a mediator if there has been at least one conversation to resolve or if it led to something you deem uncomfortable against your person/business person.

So as someone whom has a vast background working with AG's and Consumer advocacy groups, I know when it's time to take it further for resolution and for behavior to be addressed. It was that time.

It worked, I was issued two apologies, received my payment and we agreed to part.
Just for future reference, you may want to hit quote when you reply to someone specific. Sometimes it's hard to follow when so many different people respond. smiling smiley

Kim
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