Following panic buying, resulting in empty shelves and anger towards staff, Australia’s four biggest supermarkets have come together to release an important message.
Addressed to all customers in a full-page ad, the letter acknowledges times are “challenging”, and says every Australian supermarket is striving to supply Australians with the necessary food and essentials.
“That’s why collectively, we want to reassure you that your wellbeing, and that of our teams will always be our priority,” the ad goes on to say.
“Our suppliers and teams are doing everything possible to get as many products onto all our shelves as they can, often under difficult circumstances.
“So we ask you to please be considerate in the way you shop.”
The ad then goes on to thank the thousands of employees who are working “tirelessly”, and once again asks customers to treat workers with courtesy and respect.
Across Australia, signs promoting Woolworths ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards aggressive behaviour have been noticed by customers in stores.
“Aggressive and abusive behaviour will not be tolerated,” the sign reads.
“Our team is here to help, not to be hurt.”
One person on social media said the sign was spotted in a Perth store, while Nine News shared photos of the sign which was taken in a Sydney Woolworths.
“I'm absolutely appalled to see that my local Woolworths has had to put up signs warning customers that physical or verbal abuse of their staff will not be tolerated,” one person said on Twitter.
“What is wrong with us that stores have to do this to protect their employees?”
Yahoo News Australia understands the signs have actually be up in stores since around Christmas, prior to the coronavirus panic, as part of a broader long-running SDA (Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees' Association) and retailer campaign.
The ‘No One Deserves a Serve’ campaign has been running since 2017, according to a press release, and strives to stop violence towards retail workers over the Christmas period.
A survey of over 6000 retail and fast food workers found 85 per cent had experienced some sort of abuse by a customer while at work.
Australian supermarkets have been under the pump lately, panic buying due to fears of the coronavirus have left shelves bare and there have been incidents of violence.
On Tuesday, a Woolworths employee was stabbed in the supermarket carpark, just south of Melbourne.
On Monday, a Coles staff member was allegedly assaulted with a stick.
Now Australia’s big four supermarkets – Woolworths, Coles, Aldi and IGA – have come together to implore for it all to stop.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.