As the festive period begins, the British Retail Consortium and UKHospitality have come together to urge the public to be kind and considerate to people who work in retail and hospitality, as well as fellow customers when doing their shopping, dining out or going for a festive tipple this Christmas.
The plea comes as violence and abuse against those in customer service continues to climb, with a recent Usdaw survey showing that in the last 12 months, 65% of retail staff experienced verbal abuse, and 42% have been threatened by a customer.
Christmas is always an incredibly complex and challenging time of year for the retail and hospitality industry. Everyone is working extra hard to keep shelves stocked, products delivered, and meals and drinks served, and stores, delivery services, restaurants, pubs and bars will naturally be a little busier.
Nonetheless, it is essential that we all play our part in creating a friendly and enjoyable environment for other customers and staff this Christmas, and we ask for patience, kindness and consideration during this busy time.
Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium:
“As the clock counts down to Christmas Day, retail stores and websites will become increasingly busy. People in retail are working hard to look after customers, helping them find what they need, keeping shelves stocked and delivering goods. While tensions can run high, any mistreatment of our colleagues will not be tolerated. Confrontations, be it verbal abuse or physical assault, can take a huge toll on victims, their families and their colleagues. ‘Tis the season to shop kind.”
Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive, UKHospitality:
“Christmas is a time for friends and family to come together, so naturally venues will be busier as we all look to go for a drink or have a meal out. Our staff work incredibly hard over the busy festive period to make sure everyone can enjoy the brilliant hospitality experiences the UK is known for and they deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. We’d urge customers to do just that and not let any frustrations boil over into mistreatment of staff. Any poor treatment of staff should not be tolerated.”
Austin Cooke, Managing Director, Poundland:
"We wholeheartedly back the BRC’s call for kindness from everyone shopping in stores over the coming weeks. Our colleagues go above and beyond at this time of year to look after customers.
“We know a little kindness and appreciation for that hard work will make all the difference as they do everything they can to make Christmas in our stores as special as it can be."
Ian Taylor, Retail Director, SPAR UK:
“Independent convenience store retailing is the life blood of every local community, with stores often open long after others have closed. Over the year, these family owned and run businesses have done more than what is necessary to provide shoppers with great choice and brilliant customer service. Colleagues are entitled to work and feel safe in the store environment. This holiday season, we are urging people to be considerate and respectful to those working in convenience retail. It really will go a long way.”
James Thorne, Senior Vice President, Chief People Officer, McDonald’s UK and Ireland:
“Our restaurant teams work incredibly hard all year round to serve millions of customer every day. We are very happy to join the BRC and UK Hospitality campaign calling for Christmas Kindness to employees in retail and hospitality this winter to ensure all our employees are treated with the respect and kindness they deserve during the busy festive period.”