The run-up to Christmas in our store is absolutely frantic. We are working flat out every minute of every shift. By the time I get home, I’m shattered.
This year, Christmas shopping started in late October. When I have spoken to customers, they say they’re getting their shopping in early because they keep hearing about shortages and empty shelves in the news, and they’re worried they may not get what they need if they leave it any later.
The pandemic has made things even worse. Arguments about mask-wearing, stock shortages and social distancing rules have created even more excuses for abuse
The shop has been pretty full over the last couple of months and, when the store’s busy, people get stressed. Sometimes things can boil over and customers can get abusive. Most are great and appreciate what we do, but there are a few who can ruin your day with aggressive behaviour, an angry outburst or, sometimes, worse.
I’ve had people shout and swear at me because the item they want is not on the shelf and they’ve had to queue to get through the checkout. It’s not on, and abuse cuts deep. I don’t really think about it until it happens and then it’s difficult to get out of my head.
It’s an unpleasant feeling, as you keep wondering which customer will take it out on me next.
The pandemic has made things even worse. Arguments about mask-wearing, stock shortages and social distancing rules have created even more excuses for abuse.
Shop workers need a break
A decent break over the festive period is exactly what we all need. Most of us are exhausted and at breaking point. This year, my company has decided to close our store on Christmas Day only.
Here in Scotland we also want shops to close on New Year’s Day. My family loves Hogmanay and the meal we have together on January 1 is really important to me. So, we’re obviously disappointed that the Scottish Government didn’t use the powers they have to make sure I could be there with them and not at work.
Unfortunately, New Year’s Day is fast becoming just like any other day for us shop workers.
I’d like to wish readers a very happy Christmas – let’s hope we can have a better year in 2022. When you’re out shopping, we hope you enjoy the experience and give some thought to the staff who are working in stores. We’re here to help and all we ask for is respect.
Kelly Burr is a supermarket worker from Inverurie