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Tuesday, May 18

Another Pet Peeve

May I rant, just a little?

I use merchandising as a "filler" around my mystery shopping. Merchandising is where you are assigned a project at a specific store, usually involving setting up a display or setting an existing display to its planogram, which is the guide for how something should look. The work is rather mundane, but there's a lot of it out there.

So, what am I ranting about? Companies that treat their contractors like dirt. It's my own fault for taking the abuse, and I know there are other merchandising companies out there (I've only signed up for this one). I can't (or won't!) tell you which company I am talking about, but here are some things that really get under my skin:
  • website issues. Last night while I was entering paperwork, the website went down. I kept getting server errors. I'm really not crazy about all the paperwork, anyway, so when you prevent me from getting it entered onto your site, you're really making me mad!
  • pay below minimum wage. Seriously, you offer me $8 per hour, but from that I have to deduct self-employment taxes. I also spend almost as much time reading the guidelines as I do actually conducting the shop, but I am not paid for reading guidelines (or, for that matter, for data entry when entering the report).
  • inefficient guidelines. Seriously, do I really need 67 pages of directions for a one hour assignment? And do you have to sprinkle in those pages I must print in random places just so I use as much ink and paper as is possible?
  • not having one's act together. If you say there's going to be a link on your website confirming delivery of the store's fixtures or merchandise, how about posting that link before the day I am supposed to complete the assignment. Or, here's a novel idea: before shipping materials to me, make sure the assignment will actually take place during the date range I have contracted to do it. If there's a chance the client will be delaying the start date, there's also a chance I have found other work that conflicts with the new start date, so don't assume I can make it!
I know it's entirely my fault for putting up with this abuse, and the fact of the matter is, this same company has provided me a recurring permanent assignment (18 stores done monthly) that I really like doing. Every now and then they have some other really decent work (defining decent: pay greater than minimum wage, work that can be performed with as few obstacles (crazy data entry, managers who are scared to sign off on my paperwork, fixtures with mysteriously missing pieces) as possible.

Thanks. I feel better now.


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  2. I know exactly what company you are talking about. They had me so upset last night with their website issues.

    You forgot to mention that their employees can get nasty on the phone.

    I had an assignment in which they messed up the delivery to a location making me miss the location the day I had it marked on my schedule. Days later I am almost an hour away from home mystery shopping and they called me with the worst attitude demanding I go handle the story asap. I stayed polite but I had to remind the person on the phone that it was their mistake, not mine that caused it to be completed at the time.

    Sorry I had to go on a rant myself lol.

  3. Jason,

    Yeah, we're talking about the same company. It's sad to hear about your experience. While many of the people I speak with there are nice, I have had a few less than pleasant conversations on the phone. For example, one of the reps had trouble understanding why I was not interested in driving nearly 40 miles round-trip for a job that paid $8. It was at a retailer where I always have trouble getting permission to do the assignment and then all the managers are scared to sign off on my paperwork, so I would have been fuming if I had taken the job.

    What really bothers me is that all this only hurts the company in the end. They could be so much more successful if they just treated people right.