A new public awareness campaign has been launched to support retail workers in light of increasing levels of abuse, aggression and even cases of violence.
Retail NZ chief executive Greg Harford says a line needs to be drawn against the unwarranted abuse; that includes his organisation's Shop Nice campaign.
The abuse some frontline retail and hospitality staff have endured has increased following recent Covid-19 lockdowns; with some of the acts carried out by people frustrated over mask mandates and having to scan into premises.
Harford said people being abused while at work was uncalled for.
"That's why Retail NZ has launched the Shop Nice campaign so Kiwis can understand the impact of their actions and work with our sector to shop nicely."
The campaign aims to raise awareness of the impact Kiwis are having on retail workers through acts of abuse.
"It emphasises that retail workers are people too, and just like the rest of New Zealand the past year has been tough,'' he says.
"This is about encouraging Kiwis to take a moment and breathe instead of involving retail workers in an undue aggressive or tense situation.''
New Zealanders will soon start to see Shop Nice posters throughout retail stores and social media content, as a reminder of the impact undue actions can have on workers.
The new traffic light system came into effect on December 3 and has allowed cafes and other Auckland shops to properly open for the first time in months.
Retail NZ's Shop Nice campaign poster will soon be a reminder for Kiwi customers to respect those operating in the retail sector during Christmas and Covid-19. Photo / Supplied
Harford told RNZ he has heard of shoppers getting upset over staff checking vaccine passes.
"There will be perhaps some queues and limited numbers of people allowed into [some] stores.
"Please just be patient, everyone will get what they need in the end."
He said reports of customers getting angry with shop staff asking to see proof of vaccination were unacceptable.
The sector recently came together during a recent summit at Parliament and committed to a zero-tolerance on acts of aggression, abuse and violence towards retail workers.
Retail NZ suggests that people can take a few key steps to make retail workers feel supported:
1. Treat retail workers with respect.
2. Use polite and non-threatening language at all times.
3. Say hello, kia ora, good morning.
4. Please wear a mask and follow shop rules.
5. Say thank you to your local retailer.
Retailers can download Shop Nice resources here.