As the festive period begins, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and UK Hospitality 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 past 12 months, 65% of retail staff experienced verbal abuse, and 42% were threatened by a customer.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “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.”

UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls added: “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 that the UK is known for – and they deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. We 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.”
A petition has been launched to call on the government to make abuse or violence against retail workers a standalone criminal offence, sign the petition here.

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