Does anyone else have an issue with these shops? Basically, you go into the store and buy back the specific bad product. You have to buy all that are available, and then you will be reimbursed. The pay is $10. My issue is that it seems like the FDA and Consumer Protection Agency are being circumvented. It seems like a recall should be issued. I have not accepted any of them because they just feel wrong. Thoughts?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/27/2019 12:10AM by Rooper7.

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I have done a ton of buyback shops over the years for several companies . They have always been for the UPC has changed, item number changed, packaging has changed or something else. Never for an item that has been recalled.
On recall's that I have done you go into store and check to make sure store has pulled all of the item. If they haven't then you pull it, and take it to the stockroom and give to returns ,stockroom person, store manager ,etc. Most of the time the store already pulled it, just one or two of it were missed.
I feel that these visits are not properly compensating the person completing them. They should pay hourly and mileage. There are other companies that will do that. I love CI as a mystery shopping company, but the merchandising jobs are a ripoff.
I only do their restaurants and love the company, but have never seen those types of jobs.

Live consciously....
These kinds of buy back shops have been around for the more than a decade I have been mystery shopping. Frequently they are handled by merchandisers, but sometimes they appear as shops. The merchandisers tend to get the recalled items such as the tainted peanut butter, pet food where the flour used was tainted with melamine, etc. Usually, I believe, merchandisers have a budget advance to pay the retailer for product still on the shelf, in the storeroom and customer returns. Mystery shoppers indeed go in to buy back package deficiencies that have nothing to do with the safety of the product.

Historically I have done this type of buy backs only when it is for a company that will pay/reimburse promptly because when I take the job I have no idea whether I will find a dozen packages or a 150 packages to be purchased at $3.99 or $6.23. I also don't want to get into a situation where I need to arrange to ship 100 pounds of product to some place on the other side of the country. So my experience with this stuff has been positive and proper. A package flap glue that didn't hold and led to several hundred packages of perfectly good product boxed up in my dining room that I dropped off at the food bank after quick inspection that both parts of the product were present and un-tampered with. For me, this worked as a shop as I entered, checked the shelf for defective product, bought all the defectives at the register, scanned my receipt and filled out a quick report. I was paid/reimbursed before I needed to pay the credit card for the product obtained.
The companies that I do these types of assignments for (obviously not CI) pay mileage and an hourly wage.
CI said there was a issue with the bottling and the bad units are not suitable for consumption so no donating to the food bank. You don't have to ship it anywhere, you have to dispose of it off-site. I would have done these with no problem except there were no stores available in my entire state. Hard to believe since this product is on the shelves at my Walmart but they must have given the shops to someone before they hit the boards. This has happened before and I sent an email but got ignored.
Any company handling these types of assignments should pay for administrative time, drive time, and destruction time, as well as reimbursement for garbage bags, gloves, etc. Anyone who does these assigments without appropriate compensation are being taken advantage of.
Why? What was your experience? wrote:

I took 2 of thaw down the street from me at $10 each. Not sure I would do that again

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
These came up on my job board, but I opted not to apply. As JASFLALMT says, that fee sounds waaayyy too low for this type of thing. Plus, when I read through the shop description, it wasn't 100% clear that you'll be 100% reimbursed for what you buy back. I assumed so, but nowhere did it say so, unless I missed that....

You might have zero to buy at one location, but many at another, and that could take far longer than $10 of your time....

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.
I didn't really think about any of this when I took the one shop that is in my area. I didn't think about the recall part and I should have because it's a product that isn't suitable for consumption and they should have had the store take it off the shelves immediately. I've worked retail when we got a recall and you were expected by corporate to have the job done within an hour because of threat to buyers. It's a complete different story when it's something normal like a label change or ups change.

Shopping the South Jersey Shore
I did two of these yesterday. One store didn't have any product to buy back and the other one had four of them. It can get expensive since they are $8.00 a bottle. I don't get how they can stay on the shelf if they aren't suitable for consumption.
I've done one of these and have one more to go. I'm not concerned about the payment rate -- I knowingly accepted at this rate -- but I am concerned about the situation. I initially speculated that maybe there was a public recall and this was a "let's be sure" extra effort, but since there's nothing online about this recall, this more seems like circumventing. And the product sure doesn't look safe to consume!
That was my exact point. I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels that way. Thanks to everyone who responded.
Merchandise-wise: We entered the store, located the return items, placed the return items in a shipping box and gave it to the manager. We never left the store with any product and we never had to pay for any shipping. The merch company always provided the extras like tape, sticky removers, bags, this was all mailed to my home. The store picked up the cost of shipping. smiling smiley
Haha, the great peanut butter recall! Good times. Good times. The lady at the dump thought I was nuts. Peanuts!

I have never seen these shops but it does sound like a potential for a lot of work for $10 even if you only find a few of them..laying out the money, finding them , bringing them home, wrapping for shipment back or disposal to somewhere especially if you have too many to easily carry. Is that your only fee? Do you get to keep some if it is not food and/or the issue is just a labeling mistake or something like that? If I ever see them I might take one just to see how it works out if the fee was higher for my time.
I did some product inspection/retrieval jobs just this past week. They pad time for selecting locations, reading instructions, printing out paperwork, and correspondence. They also paid for travel and time in store, all with an hourly wage. I would never consider doing these types of assignments for less.
I just did 3 of them, have not decided but might be picking up 2 more (depends if I am in that area or not). 2 out of 3 of them had none of them that are bad. The other one had 2 of them. I happily dumped the mix and had no issues.

I think it was odd that the store did not pull them off the shelf themselves. But I am not turning my nose up to easy money. I just wonder if the consumers who have bought the product even knows about it being bad or not.

Same time, I just did a stationary buy back (at the same place) and that one was more complicated due to the large number of cards (you bought the damaged ones). Luckily, my family and I will use up the cards but I have a lot of them.
I completed nine of these shops in between regular shops. I was in and out of the store in less than 10 minutes and only had to buy back 2 units which I disposed of at home. No big deal and no report to do when I got home at night. I would do these all day! I do agree that the company should have issued a recall and maybe they did. Might have been looking for any product that was missed by the store staff??? Easy and quick visits. I trust CI not to engage me in anything "fishy." Great company!!!
I used to work for Hormel. Recalls are expensive. There are different tiers of recalls. Voluntary ones are for things like package misprints. These end up in dollar stores. This may be that type of recall. The drink company saves by not paying for shelf space at the market.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
I don't have these shops in my area, so I haven't looked at any instructions, but sounds a little fishy if the product can't be consumed...

I usually like Customer Impact shops, but recently the audit ones seem to pay really low. And then there is the snack chips audit that has you looking for up to 20 displays around some big stores. It's up to $18 in my area, and still tons of them are sitting, so I'm not the only one that thinks they are on the low side...
Hi JASFLALMT and thread,

I avoided posting on this thread because I truly do try to respect this board as a space for shoppers to discuss the industry, companies, types of shop programs, etc. The last thing I ever want to do with my presence on this board is have folks on here not want speak freely about our company or our clients/shops/projects they may like or not like for a wide variety of reasons. I do hop in when people have specific questions or I can provide some very quick clarity.

Given there were some concerns regarding the actual product in question on this, I'll avoid any of the discussion about the pay, this type of project etc., and keep it based around the "product" part and what we were told from the customer.

This customer came to us and has spoken with the pertinent parties (retailers, organizations, manufacturer, etc) and told us the following:

"There was a report of a potential taste issue with 3 lot codes of production dates. They are safe but we are removing them to ensure a quality customer experience."

This was the agreed solution to remove product from the shelf in the most efficient way and they contracted with us to have reps to go in and complete it. This language will be provided to our reps going forward as we complete more of these visits in the coming week or 2 so the reps are fully aware.

We recommended along with the customer that our reps discard them because any time we take on this type of work (even if it isn't a consumable but a removal from the shelf) we'll recommend they discard the item. Determining that isn't up for me or Customer Impact to try and make a call on so we play it safe.

From what I know, HonnyBrown probably touched on it best above that there are different tiers of 'recalls' and what they actually mean, or the response that is necessary by the manufacturer, brand, retailer and all involved.

If anyone who has worked on the project and has further questions or is considering doing it wants to discuss it any further, please email me directly at, or PM me on here.

Thanks as always to all of you great shoppers out there.

Daniel Price
Chief Operating Officer
Customer Impact, LLC.


Where is Mr. Price for this thread?

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/05/2019 09:46PM by dprice.
@dprice Still a class act, even if the pay on assignments seems to be getting lower...
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