"all unsubmitted shops are removed and a citation is issued"

I returned from a route today around 8 PM to start entering my reports. In between, I checked my e-mails to find this one received at 4:22.

"Hello,

You are assigned 1 or more xxxxx shops that is due today.

If you have done these before and know how they work, just accept my thanks!

If this is your first xxxxxx – please remember that the shop is due today – and that means that the report must be submitted by midnight tonight. Every morning around 9am all unsubmitted shops are removed and a citation is issued automatically. If you have too many citations for xxxxx it is possible you could be removed from the program.

If you need a date change – log on to Sassie and it will allow you to change the date 1 time. If you have already done that or cannot change it there – email me and I can change the date.

We are at the end of this round, and we need to have all of these completed by Saturday at the latest, so if anything comes up or you have an issues, please do let me know.

Thank you!"

My reply:

"I did two of these today on a route and it's 4 AM. Do you really think it's advantagous to cancel my completed shops just because I didn't submit the report by midnight.

If so you have to start all over again. If it's just scare tactics, please stop."

It seems counter productive if they are up against a deadline to penalize people for completed shops just because they weren't able to complete the shops by midnight. That seems to be what all of the ten shops I'm writing up want.

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@wrosie wrote:

It seems counter productive if they are up against a deadline to penalize people for completed shops just because they weren't able to complete the shops by midnight. That seems to be what all of the ten shops I'm writing up want.

I agree that it's counter-productive, but I think what's key here is communication. Whenever I've found that I can't meet a report deadline, usually because I was on the road until late but once or twice because I was deathly ill, I email the scheduler as soon as I know or suspected that I won't be able to get the report in on time. Sometimes I suspect ahead of time that my report will be late, but more often I get home late and can't see straight, in which case I notify the scheduler that I'll complete the report first thing in the morning. I've never had an issue with doing this. I don't know from your post whether you emailed the scheduler(s) when you returned home to give the heads-up that your shop(s) would be late.

OTOH, when I see MF's instructions that say if you don't get the report in within 8 hours, your shop will be cancelled "to meet the deadline," I scratch my head. Just WTH is that supposed to mean, anyway? How will they meet the deadline if they cancel the shop? They're not going to reschedule a restaurant shop in the middle of the night to get it done before you can get your report in! Surprisingly enough, I once had to be late with a MF report, and they were OK with it--as long as I got it in when I promised I would. That surprised the daylights out of me. I figured they'd cancel the shop.

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


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/14/2022 04:18PM by BirdyC.
Here's the reply I got and it makes sense.

And has some good advice regarding asking for a later due date and to also at least enter the report and start it so it shows incomplete. Also, it appears they are going to make some changes regarding deadlines in the near future.

I agree with BirdyC and try to communicate with my schedulers. They definitely can't reschedule the shop and get the report faster than we can submit a "late" report. All have been able to give me additional time to submit reports if they know I've done the report. However, the e-mail that caused me to start this thread was received before I had even completed the second of my two shops.

"I see that you went into both shops and entered a little info so they wouldn’t be removed – and at this time, that does work – but again, I am just trying to inform shoppers – eventually they will be removed anyway – so it’s just how the system will be, it isn’t personal or meaning to threaten you in any way – I feel everyone should just know how the process is and how it will be in the upcoming months.

I do have a suggestion though – for Lowe’s or other shops that are removed automatically like that – if you know you will do the shop say on the 13th – sign up for other 14th – then you can do the shops on the 13th and have the 14th to enter."
The guidelines read that the reports must be completed by midnight on the day you do the shop. So I don't see how scheduling an extra day keeps you from getting points deducted or losing the shop altogether.

And why would doing the reports on Lowes shops take that long to do? I do them on my tablet, in the parking lot before I go on to the next job, it only takes a few minutes. Even jobs that require me to do them from a computer after the fact are done either on my tablet or my laptop in the car on site. The only thing I do with my desktop computer these days is store the pictures for 6 months as required, search for jobs, and make routes.
My experience is that no one cares if you do the report the next day, as long as the shop form and receipts show it was done in the correct date range. Lowes reports are not that quick for me, perhaps because I do them infrequently. I do most of my reporting at home for the simple reason it allows me to fit more shops into a trip.
IMO, a lot of deadlines and the associated warnings are kind of ridiculous. One example is a shop in the Pacific time zone that has a shop window that ends at 9 pm but the reporting deadline is midnight Eastern Time.

However, if an MSC makes their shop deadlines clear before shops are assigned, shoppers can accept the shops with those deadlines, not accept the shops due to those deadlines, or try to negotiate new deadlines.

I have an understanding with one MSC about certain shops that are hard to fill. The posted/usual deadlines are 12 hours. Before I accept those shops for each round, I reiterate our understanding that I get 3 days to file the reports instead of 12 hours. That works for both me and the MSC. Because I get so much extra time to do the reports, I don't ask for a bonus for those shops.

Sometimes, there is a very good reason for a short reporting window. An MSC's contract with the end client may stipulate that the client is entitled to receive the MSC's report in X hours. Let's say the MSC gives shoppers 12 hours to file reports. That gives the MSC X-12 hours to edit, etc. For every hour a shopper goes over the 12-hour reporting window, that's one less hour for the MSC to do what it needs to do.
Predicated upon both the completion windows and report times that existed when I entered this business in 2003, it is my opinion the reason for today's conditions is an attempt by MSCs to reduce flakes. I do not have any recollection of ever encountering a shop that required stating a specific date and definitely never accepted such work. The standard report times, for the jobs I applied, were from 24 to 48 hrs.
Personally, I think a reporting deadline of 12 hours (or 8 for MF) or by midnight on the shop-completion day is crazy. Especially for route shoppers. Even if not doing a route, say you get home very late after doing an out-of-town shop, and you've had a long drive, and you're exhausted. Does the MSC *really* want a report written by a shopper who's beat? I recently did a report, against my better judgement, late at night while tired--and I had questions from the editor about stupid stuff I did or didn't do, which I'm pretty sure wouldn't have happened if I could have waited until the next morning.

Some MSCs give 24 hours, but even if that's not acceptable for some clients, why not make the deadline by noon of the day following the shop? Or, if the deadline is that tight, why not make the shopping window a day earlier in order to make sure the reports are in on time? Seems to me any or all of these would make everybody's lives easier. The shopper, who wouldn't have to contact the scheduler for an extension on the report and/or stay up half the night completing it; the scheduler, who wouldn't have to be checking in with shoppers to see if they did the shop and remind them when it's due; and the MSC, who could meet deadlines with reports that are carefully and accurately done, not rushed through in order to meet a middle-of-the-night deadline (which nobody will do anything with for several hours or days, anyway).

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