Getty shop assistant

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Taking a moment to appreciate shop staff

Can you believe it’s March already? Mother’s Day is just days away and Easter falls early this year, happening at the end of the month.

As I write this, I can picture many of you checking your stock for Mothering Sunday – cards, chocolates and flowers, oh so many flowers!

Looking further ahead though, Easter marks the start of the Bank Holidays. But Easter is extra special this year as it’s when our clocks ‘spring forward’ and we get an extra hour of daylight. I know moving the clocks is always controversial but I really do appreciate that extra hour of daylight as a sign that spring and summer are on their way.

As for Easter itself, it’s nice to get a long weekend but I do realise there is no such thing as a long weekend if you work in retail. I have many friends and family members who work in retail so know the sacrifices they have to make by missing family occasions – although sometimes I think they are rather grateful for the excuse!

With so many people counting on retailers such as yourselves to supply them with necessities – whether that’s fuel for their car for a day trip out or last minute Easter eggs for someone they’ve forgotten about – I find it very troubling that so many retail staff have to suffer so much abuse. And that’s abuse while they’re just going about their business, doing their job and serving the public!

At the Forecourt Trader Summit last month, BP shared data from the Retail Trust which found that an astonishing 90% of people in retail have experienced abuse at some point in their career. When I am out and about I often see those signs that say, ‘We won’t tolerate abuse against our staff etc’ and I think really, do people regularly abuse staff – and now I have found my answer. What is more, 66% of retail workers feel so stressed and anxious about going to work that their mental health is impacted. And 42% are considering quitting their job and doing something else. What a sad indictment of our times.

However, it is good to hear that retailers are fighting back with things like body cameras and security guards to help their staff and their customers feel safer on their premises. Although you can’t help thinking that they shouldn’t have to.

I think it’s time therefore to shine a light on the work organisations such as the Retail Trust do to help staff through difficult times. If you’re not familiar with their work, you can check them out at