Retailers are urging shoppers to #ShopKind when they visit stores this Christmas, as new polling reveals that over one third of shoppers (38%) have witnessed violence and abuse against shopworkers.
With at least two-thirds of consumers flocking back to the high streets, retailers, the Home Office and charity Crimestoppers are reminding customers to be kind to shopworkers and fellow customers. The latest retail industry data suggests that 450 shopworkers are abused each day and it’s feared this may rise during the busy festive season.
The #ShopKind campaign urges the public to be mindful of shopworkers’ essential role serving the public, and emphasises that workers should be treated with respect, kindness and gratitude. Over 86% of shoppers recognise that shopworkers face a much higher workload during the Christmas period, but there remains a minority of people that are aggressive and, in the worst cases, physically violent towards people working in shops.
#ShopKind is supported by major high street retailers as well as the Association of Convenience Stores and the shopworkers’ union Usdaw. The ShopKind campaign is now visible across high streets and on social media.
Minister for policing Kit Malthouse MP said: “The festive season should be a time of respect and goodwill, particularly for the retail staff whose hard work allows us all to enjoy a merry Christmas.
“It is completely unacceptable for anyone to threaten or assault shop workers, and this government won’t stand for it. We are taking action including by backing the #ShopKind campaign, which provide better support to retail workers and encourage customers to treat them with dignity.
“I fully support the #Shopkind campaign, which reminds customers to shop with kindness. I would encourage all retailers to continue to show their support for the campaign and use the seasonal #Shopkind assets.”
Gareth Lewis, loss prevention and security manager at Southern Co-op, said: “Christmas is not always a happy time of year for everyone and the pressure can become overwhelming. Our store colleagues often bear the brunt of this as it quickly turns into rage and an unacceptable verbal attack.
“While there have been some improvements in crime levels, sadly, verbal abuse has increased across our 200 stores by 26% over the last 12 months compared to the previous year. So, while we continue to invest in and take action to protect our colleagues, we would urge everyone to think and shop kind this Christmas.”
Mark Hallas, chief executive at charity Crimestoppers, said: “Our high streets play a pivotal role in our communities across the country and whilst Christmas can have its own stresses, there is absolutely no excuse for violent or abusive behaviour towards workers. Please help us stamp out abuse and if you know who is responsible but want to stay anonymous, tell our charity what you know. Call freephone 0800 555 111 or visit Crimestoppers-uk.org. Together, we can help protect our shops and shopworkers from harm at this busy but special time of year.”