December 14 2021

Stay kind out there. Now that’s fair.

As we head out with our shopping lists, most of us feel a happy mix of anticipation and excitement at this time of year. But for those on the other side of the experience - stocking shelves, taking orders, and helping customers – the feelings can be very different.

Did you know that retail workers have reported increased abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic? Surveys by Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association SDA (a union for retail employees) revealed that:

      - 88% of their retail members have experienced verbal abuse from customers.

      - 15% have experienced physical customer violence.

      - 36% of harassment was perpetrated by customers

Many workers feel helpless as abuse seems more accepted in retail than in other workplaces. Sayings like “the customer is always right” gives people the idea they can do whatever it takes to get their way. 

That’s just not fair

These are shocking statistics and it’s simply unfair. As a super fund run to benefit our members – around half of whom are currently working in retail – we think it’s vital to spread awareness of this issue. We support SDA’s No One Deserves A Serve Campaign and are here to remind all Australians of the importance of kindness.

How can you help?

Here’s 5 tips to help you be a kinder customer, especially during this busy shopping season.

  1. Like your grandma taught you: good manners cost nothing. A few extra ‘pleases’ and ‘thank yous’ go a long way.
  2. Stick to applicable COVID rules around social distancing and mask wearing. To show appreciation while wearing a mask, practice smiling with your eyes.
  3. Take a deep breath – busy stores may mean waiting longer to be served. Try to imagine yourself in their shoes as you wait your turn.
  4. If you can, shop at less busy times, like late nights or weekday mornings.
  5. Pass this article on to friends and family to help spread the word.

Now that’s fair

At Rest, we’ll keep supporting our members, fighting for fair, and reminding Australians to choose kindness. Together, we can all play our part to look after one another. Now that’s fair.

If you’re a retail worker.

You’re not alone. If you or someone you know needs help, reach out to Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.