Minimum wage violations and mystery shopping

Its a fine line in California- Some of the MSC are telling us the exact hours to go to these shops. Some have a two hour window and you either take it or leave it. If you are controlling work hours, its a fine line.


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Out of interest, I checked the law in Indiana. I was hired as one in 1989, and Indiana had specific rules unique to the state. Now it goes by the federal definition.

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
Under the Bush Administration, the rules were loosened. It made it easier to hire workers with difficulties with able to work. Under the Obama Administration, it was tightened.

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
Just a bit about when shoppers can or must complete assignments. Research concepts and quality are important for some assignments. Often, the strict times are pertinent to the research purpose. Testing conditions for specified times does mean that shoppers must gather data only during those times. For example, If a client wants to test conditions during peak lunch hours, they can only include data obtained during peak lunch hours and they must exclude data gathered at any other time. This is vital for the quality of the research! If the day part is not important to the study design, shoppers can obtain data within broader time frames. For some locations, it is practical to shop after the first opening hour and before the last hour before closing because locations are extremely busy with opening and closing tasks. This prevents having employees arrive extremely early or stay extremely late. Limiting these hours may reduce operating costs for clients. Clients do not exist for the convenience of mystery shoppers; mystery shoppers have to work around clients situations.


@jennifer2016 wrote:

Its a fine line in California- Some of the MSC are telling us the exact hours to go to these shops. Some have a two hour window and you either take it or leave it. If you are controlling work hours, its a fine line.


[www.shouselaw.com]

As I slowly grow wise I grow briskly cautious. - Mark Twain
@Shop-et-al wrote:

Often, the strict times are pertinent to the research purpose.

Understood, so hire an employee for the observations if your research depends on the shopper having to conform to rules outside of the IC definition.

It works in NV. I also worked as a shopper employee in CA for this specific reason.
Lots of independent contractors have to adhere to a client's hours. If I contraced someone to paint a few rooms jn my house and only want him there from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, that's the time he'd be there or I'd find someone else to do it.

@jennifer2016 wrote:

Its a fine line in California- Some of the MSC are telling us the exact hours to go to these shops. Some have a two hour window and you either take it or leave it. If you are controlling work hours, its a fine line.


[www.shouselaw.com]
@JASFLALMT wrote:

Lots of independent contractors have to adhere to a client's hours. If I [contracted] someone to paint a few rooms jn my house and only want him there from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, that's the time he'd be there or I'd find someone else to do it.

Provided that the available contractors outnumber the available jobs, and desirability of the product, of course.

Who has never been at the mercy of the cable guy (a contractor)?
You might have something there. Do you suppose that hiring temp workers for, say, dining shops and targeted employee evaluations would be effective where you live?

@SteveSoCal wrote:

@Shop-et-al wrote:

Often, the strict times are pertinent to the research purpose.

Understood, so hire an employee for the observations if your research depends on the shopper having to conform to rules outside of the IC definition.

It works in NV. I also worked as a shopper employee in CA for this specific reason.

As I slowly grow wise I grow briskly cautious. - Mark Twain


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/22/2020 06:05PM by Shop-et-al.
@Shop-et-al wrote:

You might have something there. Do you suppose that hiring temp workers for, say, dining shops and targeted employee evaluations would be effective where you live?

@SteveSoCal wrote:

@Shop-et-al wrote:

Often, the strict times are pertinent to the research purpose.

Understood, so hire an employee for the observations if your research depends on the shopper having to conform to rules outside of the IC definition.

It works in NV. I also worked as a shopper employee in CA for this specific reason.

I think it would work better for targeted shops than dining.

The CA company that once hired me an employee had specific policies about those reporting employee behavior, and wanted it to come from another employee, rather than a contractor. Shoppers went through the same training materials given to employees, and were drug tested, and interviewed in person, so, in theory, the shoppers were considered co-workers, rather than outsiders.
Guess I got lucky.

@SteveSoCal wrote:

@JASFLALMT wrote:

Lots of independent contractors have to adhere to a client's hours. If I [contracted] someone to paint a few rooms jn my house and only want him there from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, that's the time he'd be there or I'd find someone else to do it.

Provided that the available contractors outnumber the available jobs, and desirability of the product, of course.

Who has never been at the mercy of the cable guy (a contractor)?
They soon will, in all states. California will be the first, or so the news outlets say.....I think the greater queston is just WHY the MSC;s pay so little...
JAS...that's different from saying, say, a shopper must arrive between 5:30 and 7:00, and must complete by 9 PM
salisburync rhetorically inquires--I think the greater queston is just WHY the MSC;s pay so little

Bob replies--Because they can. Some shoppers are so pressed for money, the situation falls into the category of supply and demand. Fortunately for me, in my area the supply of those willing and able to provide voluminous details is small. I have stated of several occasion that a company's prime responsibility is to their shareholders, not their contractors.
"a company's prime responsibility is to their shareholders, not their contractors." Conversely, a contractor's primary responsibility is to themselves, not the company. We are not part of a team and MSCs are for profit businesses, not charitieswinking smiley

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.
Has anyone worked as a temp? You, the temp, might earn $15 per hour while your agency earns oodles more than that. Your agency must pay for its properties, pay its employees, provide them with insurance and other benefits, and build up reserve funds. They might be building funds for expansion. They might have to pay dividends, etc. [Well, before covid-19 these principles were applicable. Now, they might need the money just to survive.] We as mystery shoppers might earn $50 per hour on average or per gig while our MSC's earn oodles more than that. Our MSC's have expenses.

As I slowly grow wise I grow briskly cautious. - Mark Twain


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/24/2020 06:05PM by Shop-et-al.
"Bob replies--Because they can." I wish it were that simple. The industry has become extremely cutthroat over the last decade or so. Although most responsible companies allow for a fair payment to shoppers, many companies are willing to undercut other companies' total fees in order to take on a new client. Overhead & scheduler/editor payments, shopper payments and profits are mostly what come out of those total fees. So a company is doing shops at $60 per location in total, which allows for an amount for overhead and etc. Along comes UnderCutters-R-Us ms company and they say they can do the same shops for $50 per location. Well the overhead isn't going to go down and they certainly aren't going to cut profits by much, and the schedulers/editors pittance pay isn't go to go down, so guess where that $10 undercut is coming out of....and if you said shopper payments, you get a cookie!
LisaSTL states--Conversely, a contractor's primary responsibility is to themselves, not the company. We are not part of a team and MSCs are for profit businesses, not charities.

Bob agrees--Truer words were never posted. After all is considered, this is still business.
@salisburync wrote:

....I think the greater queston is just WHY the MSC;s pay so little...
This has been answered so many times in this forum. MSC's pay so little because they can. They can because there are enough mystery shoppers who will work for peanuts or less.
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