UK retailers ask customers to ShopKind as they return to the high street
#ShopKind aims to build positivity and encourage kindness to both shopworkers and consumers in stores
The UK’s biggest retailers, the Home Office and independent charity Crimestoppers have today launched a new and timely campaign urging the public to ShopKind after the reopening of more stores and shops across the country.
The #ShopKind campaign urges the public to be mindful of shopworkers’ essential role in supporting people during these difficult times, and emphasises that we should all treat workers and also other customers with respect, kindness and gratitude.
The campaign is backed by the Home Office and supported by major high street retailers as well as the nation’s independent shopkeepers, and the shopworkers Union Usdaw. The ShopKind campaign will be visible across high streets and social media from today.
The Association of Convenience Stores’ 2021 Crime Report, published last month, shows that over the past year there have been over 1.2million incidents of verbal abuse, and around 40,000 incidents of violence against people working in convenience stores. Of these, more than a quarter involved a weapon, such as a knife, hammer, axe, or syringe.
Two-thirds of retailers (65%) had experienced Covid-related threats, with the most common causes of abuse being: reminding customers to wear face coverings, reminding customers of social distancing measures and queueing outside stores.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Throughout the pandemic, shop staff have been the lifeline for many in our communities, and I am grateful for their vital service.
“Violence and abuse towards shop workers is utterly despicable and unacceptable, everyone has the right to feel safe at work.
“As the daughter of shopkeepers, I fully support ShopKind, a reminder to customers to consider their behaviour towards shop staff, and I would encourage all retailers to fully support it.”
Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets Paul Scully, said: “Retail workers have played an essential role in supporting communities across the country during the pandemic and have worked tirelessly to put covid-secure measures in place to keep us all safe.
“Staff in our great shops, pubs, hairdressers and more should be treated with the utmost respect and gratitude – after such a difficult year, we all have a duty to treat each other with kindness.”
Mark Hallas, Chief Executive of the charity Crimestoppers, said: “It’s truly shocking to think that at a time when we are all so reliant on retail workers to survive during the pandemic, that so many of them are encountering verbal and physical abuse on a daily basis.
“At a time of such national disruption due to Covid-19, shop staff should be appreciated by us all and thanked, not abused. Despite retailers’ vital role in the community, at the frontline, there are a significant minority of people who believe that being courteous and polite isn’t important. Our message today is clear – despite what is going on in anyone’s life, no shop worker deserves to be treated badly, let alone verbally or physically abused, We’re asking everyone to take a step back and think about the true value of these workers – supporting individuals, families and entire communities. So please ShopKind.”
Quotes from Retailers
Kevin Tindall, Managing Director, Tesco Convenience, said: “Our colleagues and those across retail work hard to serve customers every day and the vast majority of customers are very appreciative. Our stores should be safe places to work and shop and any form of antisocial behaviour is unacceptable. New security measures, currently being rolled out to our stores, are already having a positive impact. We support the ShopKind campaign in reminding shoppers of the vital role that those working in retail have played during the pandemic and the amazing job they continue to do in keeping customers safe and feeding the nation.”
Graham Bell, Chief Executive, B&Q, said: “Home improvement and gardening has been an enormous source of wellbeing over the past twelve months and our colleagues have done an outstanding job of keeping our stores open. They’ve given our customers access to the tools and products they need to not only adapt their homes to the new way of living and keep them warm, safe and secure but also as a way of maintaining good wellbeing in the past year. While the vast majority of shopping trips to our stores are trouble free, others are unfortunately not, which is why we’re supporting the ShopKind campaign. There is no place in retail for abuse and violence and we stand together with the retail community.”
Paul Gerrard, Co-op’s Director of Campaigns and Public Affairs, said: “No one should have to face violence and abuse just for doing their job, and nothing is more important to us than the safety and wellbeing of shopworkers who work tirelessly within communities – they deserve thanks, not abuse, threats and violence. They also deserve for the law to better protect them as they go about their daily working lives. It does now in Scotland, but not in the rest of the United Kingdom and so we continue to call for Government to show that it is listening and to send out a clear message that anti-social behaviour and attacks on shopworkers is not acceptable.”
Richard Parsons, Director of Retail Sales at Signet Jewelers (H. Samuel, Ernest Jones) said: “Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic has created a sense of community and continues to bring people together, it has also shone a light on the abuse that shop workers unfortunately face on regular basis. No one should go to work fearing intimidation or violence, especially those who are providing support in local areas. The safety and wellbeing of our colleagues remains of utmost priority, and we are committed to ensuring that our shopfloor team feel valued and safe during their time at work. We are proud to support the ShopKind campaign and will continue to work closely on this initiative to improve the health and safety for those on the frontline.
Signet exists to celebrate life and express love, and our store team are fundamental in delivering that experience. We encourage all of our customers to embody this message and to please #ShopKind.”
Quotes from Trade Associations
James Lowman, Chief Executive at the Association of Convenience Stores, said: “Convenience stores have been open throughout the pandemic, keeping communities going and being first to adapt to keep customers and colleagues safe through Covid secure measures. While the majority of customers have been incredibly supportive and embody the messages of the ShopKind campaign, there are still too many people being abusive and violent to retailers and their colleagues. We fully support ShopKind, which serves as an important reminder of the essential work that convenience stores have done over the last year and continue to do to as the rest of retail reopens.”
Paddy Lillis, General Secretary at Usdaw, said: “The final results of Usdaw’s 2020 survey show that 9 in 10 shopworkers had been abused last year. Usdaw is pleased that retailers, the trade union, Government and Crimestoppers have come together to tackle this important issue through the ShopKind campaign. It is clear that retail workers deserve to be treated with respect.
“Retail workers have been on the frontline throughout the coronavirus crisis, ensuring we can remain fed, despite the risks of contracting the virus themselves. We owe these workers a debt of gratitude for their hard work and commitment to our communities. All workers have the right to feel safe and abuse should never be a part of the job. We hope that this campaign will highlight the incredible contributions of retail workers and promote the need for all customers to behave responsibly.”
Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said:
“#ShopKind is a really important campaign with a clear message for us all. Incidents of violence and abuse of people in customer facing roles have been on the rise since the beginning of the pandemic, with colleagues being spat at, racially abused, and threatened with weapons by an increasing minority of people. Retail workers are playing a vital role keeping customers and colleagues in stores safe and ensuring we have access to goods. So now, as non-essential shops reopen, we all need to play our part – be kind and shop kind.”
If you have any information about someone who is abusive or violent towards retail and shop staff, please let our charity know 100% anonymously on freephone 0800 555 111 or through the untraceable Anonymous Online Form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
Please note: With Crimestoppers, computer IP addresses are never traced and no-one will ever know you contacted us. For telephone calls, we have no caller line display, no 1471 facility and we have never traced a call.