Shameful retail abuse is on the rise

For a long time, we have been told that the customer is always right.  This is helpful when you think

For a long time, we have been told that the customer is always right.  This is helpful when you think that you have had bad service or have been sold a subpar quality product.  What happens though when customers believe in their righteousness that they become abusive?

The rising trend of abuse being thrown at retailers is alarming with one telling The Age about when he couldn’t serve a customer because it was after trading hours were over.  Jack Burrows said, “He wasn’t happy about that and went into a tirade of abuse and just spat on me”.

Sadly, this type of abuse isn’t uncommon with The Shop Distributive and Allied Employee’ Association releasing the results of a survey that showed almost half of the 6,000 retailers surveyed had been either physically or verbally abused by a customer.

Another case that Mr Burrows dealt with as a manager was when a customer tried to return an item for a refund but couldn’t product a receipt.  When it offered the look it up on the computer, it turned violent.  Mr Burrows stated, “Ten minutes later he came back holding a glass bottle of vitamins and threw it at the service desk and started abusing us and threatening physical assault”.

It’s a problem that the retail sector is trying to monitor by releasing new training videos on what to do with the growing problem.  With many thinking that it shouldn’t be something they should have to be trained to deal with that others should learn to control.

Have you ever lost your temper with a retailer?  Have you ever seen a retailer being abused?  What should be done to protect retailers in the situation?

  1. Barry  

    Try working in a Call Centre, or at an Airport Check-in counter, then they’ll REALLY know what abuse is!

    It’s just another form of ‘rage’, which has been happening for a long time.

    People aren’t taught by their parents to be ‘restrained’ in their manner, actions, or talk, anymore.
    The parents’ weren’t taught, so how can THEY, in turn, teach their children, so, like DV, it becomes a very vicious circle.

    The school, road, life, & society ‘rules’ are being broken ALL the time, & nobody gives a whatsit.
    The judiciary hand out ‘slaps on the wrist’ for crimes’, so they don’t care.

    Serious gaol time is needed for these uncontrollable imbeciles.

  2. David Cousens  

    I have lost my temper with call centre staff after repeatedly being told that there was no problem with my account and the $800 bill I had received for data charges I had used was perfectly correct. I had to get past their denial of my problem which thay could not solve because they did not have access to the required information or the authority to do anything about it and their insistence that nothing could be done about the situation.

    I had to shout at the call center operator to demand to be put through to the supervisor. After explaining the whole situation to the suprvisor yet again ( this was the 4th call over a three month period where I had been told the situation had been resolved and fixed only to find out it hadn’t when the next bill arrived. The supervisor finally admitted he couldn’t fix the problem either at which point I asked him who could. I was then given the phone number of their Corporate complaints manager.

    After having to explain the whole situation and how it had come about, yet again, it was at least investigated fully and they found that somehow an interstate number had become attached to my account when I had moved several months before and I was being charged for someone else’s usage. Situation resolved.
    However a lot of heat would have been avoided if my complaint had been escalated properly at each level when it was found out that it could not be resolved at that level instead of giving me a false assurance that it had been fixed.

    Having worked in retail, I have also had to deal with abusive customers. I worked for a company which generally did not allow their staff to be abused and complaints were generally escalated to a level where they could be resolved as quickly as possible, even if that resolution was calling the police to remove the offender.

    I have noticed much better training of call centre staff more recently with a much better definition of what they can and can’t address and quicker escalation to a level where both the access to information and authority to resolve an issue exist.

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