Market Force Information / Scam
Market Force Information, Inc. ripped me off. If you ever decide to work here, you will most likely end up regretting it. Seemed like a great idea at the time-- even fun perhaps. Getting paid for your opinion, experience at writing AND reimbursed for your meals? Hey, I love writing and I give my opinion freely-- so why not get paid for it all, right? Hmph! Was *I* in for rude awakening!
On the initial application they want to know everything there is to know about YOU. Do you own or rent a home, do you have any type of disabilities, what's your gender, your race, are you married or single, what's your household income, what's your birth date, your Social Security number, your hair color, eye color, do you wear glasses, how tall are you and how much do you weigh??! Many of those criteria sounded very suspicious or even illegal to me but I ignored my intuitions. I knew that there were some mystery shopping jobs that were a scam and you had to be careful so I checked them out with the BBB. When I saw that they had a decent rating I eagerly signed up with them. I wanted this job. Badly. It sounded like my dream job so I ignored any skepticism on my own or anyone else's part.
They wanted me to take a written test that would test my attention to detail on the last place that I shopped. Spelling and grammar counts even though when you do the actual reports for them, you have an automatic spell checker-- but yet they still have an actual spelling test on there and they want to know the exact time right down to the very second that you started taking their test and EXACTLY when you ended it!
Then, if you're accepted, you have to read and then take a 35 question test on an 11 page manual. 5 pages of the manual are dedicated entirely on how to start and stop timing the workers at the restaurant. They devoted about half of the questions to things like: What is the timing point 1, 2 and 3 for the walk in, what is it for the drive in... which timing point is #2 and which one is #3 and then what are timing points #1-3 for the drive-thru. You only get 2 chances to get a 100% of all questions correct-- and you must get them all right either the first time or the second time!
When you're doing the actual evaluation at the restaurant though you have to be very discreet about your timings. Can't actually write them down while you're there or you could blow your cover. You're supposed to be able to remember exactly down to the second: "When did you come to a complete stop in the drive thru, what time you stop and pay for your food, what time you did you receive your food and drink, how many cars were ahead of you, what time did you go to the walk-in line, how many people were ahead of you, how many cash registers were open, what time was it when you were told the total cost of that order, what time was it when your food actually arrives... It shouldn't be more than 10 seconds or something's wrong with the worker! There are so many requirements that need to be met, so many questions that they ask, so many details that you have to remember but you are not allowed to bring these list of requirements with you because you are supposed to look and act as if you are an ordinary shopper. You can't even bring anyone else along. You must be alone, pay entirely in CASH, be very hungry, go to a specific location between a specific time frame. You must be able to eat, drink and honestly scrutinize 2 consecutive full meals all by yourself.
The night before my first assignment, I worked on my computer for over an hour downloading and printing out 10 pages of their rules and instructions. The next morning I woke up, got myself ready to snoop, took the time to go to Wawa to get $20 in CASH, (which was all I could spare this week), went to McDonald's and did the absolute best mystery shop that I could do with what I had to work with.
You would think with all of the pages that you have to download and print out, they would actually USE these pages to make it very clear exactly what to order for each part of this review but they are STILL unclear because they REALLY do not want to pay you for all of your hard work! For example, on page 3 of their 10 page "Information Sheets", they said you need to order one sandwich, fries and a beverage-- but it was unclear to me if they wanted me to do that for the walk-in AND the drive thru. They said you need to order: "either a sausage biscuit or sausage biscuit with egg, a sausage mcmuffin or a sausage mcmuffin with egg, a sausage McGriddle or a sausage egg and cheese mcgriddle. Then it says for the second order, (the drive-thru portion) you have to order one of these choices.. either: "a bacon egg and cheese biscuit, an egg mcmuffin or a bacon, egg and cheese mcgriddle." It did not say to order yet ANOTHER side and a drink... and I thought it would certainly be ridiculous of them to expect anyone to eat 2 entire meals all by themselves so I just got the sandwich for the drive-thru, just like it said to do in the upper middle portion of that page.
For each evaluation, you have to answer questions about the server's friendliness, their attentiveness, their communication, their speed, the accuracy of the order, the food quality, the store's cleanliness, how the drive thru was and how the restrooms were. Ok. No problem there. That is what I expected to do but it was disappointing to me that they did not have any space for me to write in my own comments and observations, which I feel are just as important as the other things that they want scrutinized. (I thought the restaurant was fine. The only thing that could use some improvements were the fact that the tray was very wet and so was the counter top in the ladies' restroom.)
I filled out their report on the walk-in, the surrounding area, the drive thru AND the restroom then I scanned the receipts and the "CPI", which is the Contractor Payment Invoice-- the form that they have you sign that you must also print out when you print out the useless 10 other pages of their requirements...and you have to print it out right at that time, not later on.
After waking up early to go to this place, spending my time and my money, doing their report, scanning everything that they wanted, they still have to try to find something--anything that wasn't done precisely so they don't have to pay for all of this.
It took me hours to try to upload my CPI. I tried it a dozen times but every time it just made my computer freeze and then I'd keep getting an error message. I shut down the computer and started it again 3 more times before the site finally said everything was received. By then I was angry, frustrated and was really starting to feel like this wasn't worth my time or aggravation. Not too surprisingly, a few hours later I received an email from Market Research Information saying that they were not going to pay me ANYTHING for all that I did because I only ordered a sandwich, drink and hash browns in the walk-in but I only got 1 sandwich in the drive-thru!!!
It was a very belittling and condescending letter!
Now if this were a reputable company, they would have prorated their assignment fees-- especially for my first experience working with them-- but they don't. It's all or nothing with these crooks. What I did was surely worth something but THEY acted like all my hard work and money were worthless and they allegedly "could not use it".
Now that I know how crooked they are and all that they demand, I think back to what my husband told me when I first told him about this place. They simply do not pay the reviewers nearly enough for all of this even it was done entirely correct in their mind. I also feel that they expect too much from the McDonald's employees too with what scanty amount they get paid! For this assignment, if I did it entirely how they say they wanted it, they were only going to pay me $7.50 plus the cost of food.
I thought this would be a fun job even though it doesn't pay well but this anal company is clearly not worth the time, money, effort and aggravation.