With last minute shoppers rushing around the towns on Christmas Eve and the Boxing Day and January sales looming, a shop workers’ union leader has asked for people to spare a thought for those on the other side of the till.
John Hannett, General Secretary of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) explained: “For many this is always an exciting time, but we know it can be frantic trying to get everything ready for the big day.
“I want to gently remind your readers to remember that shopworkers are people as well. They will be working really hard to make your shopping experience as stress-free and enjoyable as possible.”
He referred to a recent survey which showed that every minute of the working day a shopworker is verbally abused, threatened with violence or physically attacked. Shopworkers report that incidents are more frequent throughout the Christmas and New Year period when shops are busier and stressed customers are more likely to take out their frustration on staff.
Examples were seen during the recent Black Friday events.
Mr Hannett went on: “Talking to our members who work in retail, I know that verbal abuse cuts deep. Many will go home after a shift upset about an unpleasant incident that took place at work that day and worried that it will happen to them again. That is why USDAW, the shopworkers’ union, is running a Respect for Shopworkers campaign, asking customers to ‘Keep your Cool at Christmas’.
“It’s a simple message, but remembering that shopworkers are working extra hard at this time and treating them with respect will mean that everyone can have a happier Christmas and New Year.”