The Booksellers Association (BA) has joined UK retailers and the Home Office in supporting a campaign launched by the Crimestoppers charity, urging customers to treat shop workers with respect.
The #ShopKind campaign encourages shoppers to be mindful of the essential role played by shop staff during the pandemic, following research showing that more than 400 instances of abuse and violence towards shop workers occurs every day. According to Crimestoppers data, this has intensified during the pandemic, with two-thirds of retailers reporting Covid-related threats, often related to reminders of government restrictions such as wearing face masks, social distancing and queueing.
#Shopkind will be visible from today (19th April) across high streets and social media, with backing from major retailers, independent shopkeepers and retail workers union Usdaw.
Meryl Halls, m.d. of the BA, said: “The Booksellers Association is really pleased to see the ShopKind campaign getting off the ground. It’s a sad sign of the times that retailers have been suffering increased abuse through the pandemic, when retailers are on the front line and providing a key service to consumers and citizens. We need to make sure that consumers know that there is zero tolerance of abuse of retail workers and, moreover, that we all need to embrace kindness more in our everyday interactions, as we all face the same challenges and difficulties. Booksellers across the country are looking forward to welcoming customers back into their shops, and will be very appreciative of the messages around #ShopKind, keeping their staff and themselves safe at work, while they bring books back to a hungry reading public.”
The BA has also entered a submission on bookshops to the government enquiry into violence against shop workers.
Mark Hallas, c.e.o. of 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, 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.”
Crimestoppers is encouraging the public to report abusive and violent behaviour towards retail workers using the freephone number 0800 555 111 or through an untraceable anonymous online form.