Anyone who has ever worked in retail will know that it can have its ups and downs throughout the year.
Retail workers unite bonding over ‘the struggles of working in retail’ and ‘things customers say or do’.
And while this can vary from store to store, there is one thing that connects all staff on another level. Christmas time.
As all your friends are winding down for the year ready for a break over the holidays, you, the hard working retail employee, find yourself giving mentally preparing with countless pep talks in an effort to get through the most hectic and stressful time of the year.
While Christmas is portrayed to the public as a joyful time, stores try using tactics like dancing reindeer and a jolly Santa pouncing around to lift shopper’s energy levels and get them into the festive spirit.
The reality is, more and more customers are refusing to get into the Christmas spirit every year, with retail workers suffering from both physical and verbal abuse at increased levels around Christmas time.
An online survey conducted by the Shop Distributive Allied (SDA) union has found that 44 per cent of retail workers have been subjected to abuse, 80 per cent of them women. This is a statistic that drastically increases during Christmas time due to the influx of customers and the nature of the shopping season.
To help combat this issue during the festive season, a campaign has been launched by the SDA shining a spotlight on consumers’ behaviour within stores and urging them to ‘keep cool over Christmas’ and ‘respect retail workers’.
This comes as Victoria’s State Government has reversed its unpopular decision to not make December 25 a public holiday, allowing retail workers to claim Christmas Day penalty rates after all.
After a strong and passionate opposition from both retail workers and union leaders, the government has reconsidered.
Small business minister Phillip Dalidakis apologised in a statement to the public recognising how the current arrangements are unfair on those who have no choice but to work on Christmas Day.
Premier Daniel Andrews also admitted he ‘got it wrong’ going on to explain that those who work endure many difficulties and stress during the festive season and deserve the penalty rates that are owed to them.
So if you’re customer doing Christmas shopping and are having a bad day, think twice before taking it out on the retail assistant who is trying to give you a hand.
As for the retail workers out there, I commend you on your efforts to stay sane and jolly this festive season.
While you can’t change everyone’s attitude, you can go into this Christmas season with your head held high and a positive attitude, enjoy the penalty rates and we’ll catch you on the other side of the Boxing Day madness.