ShopKind Campaign Reveals Pressures Facing Shopworkers During Cost of Living Crisis

ShopKind Campaign Reveals Pressures Facing Shopworkers During Cost of Living Crisis

ShopKind Campaign Reveals Pressures Facing Shopworkers During Cost of Living Crisis

New consumer polling conducted for the #ShopKind campaign has revealed that more than one in three people believe that shopping has become more frustrating as a result of the cost of living crisis and 36% of customers have personally witnessed a shopworker being verbally or physically abused by another customer.

 The #ShopKind campaign, backed by the Home Office and supported by over 100 leading high street retailers, the nation’s shopkeepers and trade union USDAW, aims to remind customers about the importance of being considerate to shopworkers and each other. The new polling highlights 31% of customers are more anxious when they shop, and which situations are most likely to lead to abuse of shopworkers. The most frequently cited triggers in the survey were: 

  1.  Not enough staff to serve
  2. Queues at the till
  3. Products not being available 

The British Retail Consortium’s annual Crime Survey shows that there are over 850 incidents of violence and abuse every day in the retail sector. In June 2022, new provisions came into force as part of the Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Act to make attacking an individual who serves the public, including shopworkers, an aggravated offence. 

 This week (17-23 April) retailers are reminding customers to ShopKind in stores and acknowledge the important role of shopworkers to communities. New films from the ShopKind campaign highlight the impact that abuse by customers can have on shopworkers here. 

 Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman said: “It’s clear that the cost of living crisis is putting additional pressure on people when they’re out shopping, but this is too often translating into abuse of shopworkers. Colleagues in shops are there to help and deserve to be treated with respect, and there is never a good excuse to be abusive towards them. We’re pleased that there is such widespread support in the retail sector and from the Home Office for the Shopkind campaign, which we hope will urge frustrated shoppers to think twice before an incident escalates into abuse.”

Usdaw General Secretary Paddy Lillis said: “Usdaw very much welcomes the ShopKind campaign, which brings together voices from across the retail sector, politicians and the police to promote a message of respect for shopwokrers. Usdaw’s own annual survey found that nearly three-quarters of our members working in retail suffered verbal abuse last year, with far too many being threatened or assaulted. These are key workers delivering essential services and we stand together to say that abuse should not be a part of their job. We need better co-ordination to ensure that retail employers, police and the courts work together to make stores safer and give staff the support and confidence they need to report incidents. This week of action is a great step towards that aim.”

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium said: “The appalling level of incidents of violence and abuse against our retail colleagues means the work of the #ShopKind campaign is more critical than ever. While a confrontation may be over in minutes, the physical and emotional impact on the victims and their families can last a lifetime. People in retail work hard to look after customers, helping us find what we need, keeping shelves stocked and delivering goods. No one should ever go to work fearing for their safety. We remind customers to shop kind and be respectful to retail workers and fellow customers.”

Mark Hallas, Chief Executive of the charity Crimestoppers, said: “There is simply no excuse for abusive or violent behaviour towards shop staff, regardless of occasional frustrations over queues at tills or a slower service than preferred.  Remember that if you know who is being abusive or violent and you prefer not to speak directly to the police, please tell our charity. Crimestoppers is here for you and guarantees you’ll stay completely anonymous whether you contact us online or on the phone; visit or call us 24/7 on freephone 0800 555 111.”

 Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner & APCC Business and Retail Crime Lead Katy Bourne said: “It is a sad reality that we have to remind people to treat retail workers with kindness…but we do. We know over 38% of businesses in the wholesale and retail sectors in England and Wales are victims of crime and that more than 90% of shopworkers have experienced verbal abuse.

“I have spoken with children of shopworkers who fear for the safety of their parents going to work, with store managers who have been threatened with knives and shop owners who have had to close their facilities due to abuse. I’ve also spoken with retail workers who have been shouted at, spat on and pushed. This type of behaviour must not be tolerated. I want people to reflect on how they would feel if someone came to their place of work and treated them in the same way. It doesn’t take much to show respect and kindness to all our retail workers and make shopping a nicer experience for everyone.”

Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Chris Nelson said: “I fully support this campaign.  We all need to be kinder to each other as we go about our daily lives and visit shops.  Treating each other with respect is a fundamental part of everyday life. Those who don’t and abuse and assault staff will be met with the full force of the law.  Being kind to each other is so much easier.”

National Business Crime Centre Lead Superintendent Patrick Holdaway said: “Shopworkers play an essential role in every high street and community hub up up and down the country, but the reality is they face abuse and violence daily. The Shopkind campaign plays an essential role in highlighting the issues they face, but also in encouraging people to stop and think before being rude or abusive to staff working in retail. No matter how frustrated people get when they are shopping, there is no excuse for being abusive, rude or disrespectful to people who are there doing their jobs. The NBCC is proud to host the Shopkind campaign material on the website and we would encourage retailers to show their support for the campaign and their employees by downloading and displaying the material in their stores.”

Mark Raymond, Post Office Head of Security, said: “Abuse, aggression and violence is not tolerated in our network, and we completely endorse the ShopKind message and acknowledge the need of fostering more respectable behaviour in the retail profession. It is critical that we raise awareness of the magnitude and seriousness of these crimes and encourage victims to come forward and report them.”

Richard Inglis, Welcome store franchisee in partnership with Southern Co-op, said: ”I do my best to protect my colleagues from any abuse but sometimes people’s frustrations can unexpectedly turn into anger. I was grateful for the opportunity to get the ShopKind message across in the latest campaign videos as it’s a personal plea for customers to remember that we’re human at the end of the day. We have so many lovely customers but sadly verbal abuse can have a seriously negative effect on us all so please try and stay kind.”

 If you have any information about someone who is abusive or violent towards retail workers, please let Crimestoppers know 100% anonymously on freephone 0800 555 111 or by competing a simple and secure Anonymous Online Form at

 Retailers looking to get involved with the campaign during #Shopkind Week (17th – 23rd April) can download supporting materials from the National Business Crime Centre website at

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