I know its cold and snowy out there, plus a Pandemic to work around, so some random thoughts and maybe that is the reason I see them, but:
As everyone is probably aware, unlike the old Maritz available jobs, the IPSOS job board shows all jobs available in a certain area of miles. I find it interesting that the gas stations that I do every other month (in accordance with their shopper guidelines) show up as not being taken (even when nicely bonused IMO). Hmm...that's interesting...I like the comfort of a route, so I ask for the same shops at the end of the report...I'll pass on the bonuses rather than play Russian Roulette with most of them.
However, I guess I should forgo the shops that barely pay for my mileage. Better to wait until they're bonused or will they be snapped up?
But, the ugly part of this (as I now understand - yes, I can be slow on the uptake) is that because there are no takers immediately, if at all, it explains why jobs that I have requested are often not there, or cannot be performed until later in the month. Meaning, of course, that my route planning has to leave off that shop.
Likely the pandemic and weather play a role. On the other hand, I know many of the shops I have done regularly with good bonuses are done every other month by someone else who has them assigned at base rate. A lot of these I know the other shopper could get much more by playing the waiting game, but on the other hand they don't have to do all the planning and have routes fall through and pack all thier work into two weeks of the month, Plus, there would be the fear two other shoppers show up and monopolize the shops, lol.
It is more difficult than ever to get their bank shops, there are many branches local that do NOT get listed. Most are too far to do alone and cannot group to route. But to be fair, doing some of their gas shops, I am making more money than before, as least so far in the past few months.
It is very likely that the contracts have been adjusted by the clients due to the many variations in the local covid rules that keep changing all over the country. It makes no sense that the clients would still require that, for instance, every branch is visited every other week, when in half their communities those branches are closed, or pick up and delivery only. This applies not only to food shops but to retail as well which has been curtailed. My local branch of the B of A has been closed throughout last year and it seems that client has only kept open a segment of their branches. In addition to covid restrictions changing sometimes on a weekly basis, staffing has been difficult. In some cases the client and msc together might be adjusting their targets often as locations individual situations change.
As another personal example of these issues I was doing post office shops in the fall. The largest central post office I shopped twice had only one employee (with 6 windows) on site.. The post office was empty of staff with about 50 patrons inside during a one hour lunch. I stopped shopping that branch as it was time consuming and scary waiting masked with 50 others inside. The other much smaller post offices I visited the same day were close by and had 3 or 4 employees. So, the client could have decided to shop more there to monitor what experiences shoppers were encountering, or less as it was futile to expect good service under those conditions. This past week I had occasion to speak on the phone with the manager there. I asked if things had improved there and was told they had straightened out the issues and transferred employees over to that location. I can only hope my little notes in the comment section regarding what was going on brought the reality of the situation to the post office powers that be to spur on changes,
Hopefully we will only have to put up with these fluctuations in expectations vs reality for a few more months and the pandemic plus winter weather will wind down.