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Customers are asked to ‘keep your cool’

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By Euan Maxwell
Customers are asked to ‘keep your cool’

SOME of the region’s shopworkers have spoken out about an increase in violence, threats and abuse whilst at work.

And they’re asking customers to keep their cool as the busy pre-Christmas period gets underway – including December 23 which is being dubbed as ‘Super Saturday’.

Startling stats nationwide show that 65 per cent of workers have experienced verbal abuse with 71 per cent of the abuse caused by customer frustration.

And 42 per cent have been threatened by customers, with five per cent reporting they were assaulted.

Some of the Dumfries and Galloway workers added their comments to the report.

One stated that they get “abuse from youths on a daily basis and get threats and violence from shoplifters under the influence of drink and drugs”.

Whilst, another says that a “customer spat in my face after assaulting security” and another was “hit with packs of cakes and called a fat lazy cow”.

The general secretary of Usdaw – who collated the report – Paddy Lillis said: “It is heart-breaking to hear these testimonies from Scottish shopworkers who deserve far more respect than they receive.

“Our latest survey results clearly show the scale of the appalling violence, threats and abuse faced by retail staff.

“It is shocking that two-thirds of our members working in retail stores are suffering abuse from customers, with far too many experiencing threats and violence.

“Seven in ten of these incidents were triggered by customers being frustrated with stock shortages, lack of staff or problems with self-service checkouts.

“All of these problems are largely outside the control of retail staff, but they are the people who bear the brunt of shoppers’ anger.

“Our members tell us that incidents of verbal abuse are much worse in the run up to Christmas, when shops are busy, customers are stressed and things can boil over.

“That is why we are asking customers to ‘keep your cool’ and respect shopworkers, to make the Christmas shopping experience better for everyone.”

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