Dear Morrisons, Customers do not ‘have to’ anything.

Morrisons Hastings

Dear Morrisons,

This morning, as I walked away from your unstaffed kiosk to find somewhere I could actually do what I wanted to do, I stopped to ask the man on the door to please tell the manager they  are losing customers.

I told him it was around the third time I’ve done that in recent months. He said, “they are doing it all – you’ll have to wait.”

Now then Morrisons, let me be clear. I am not complaining about your security man. Previous experiences in shops like yours tell me he is merely passing on the attitude you have taught. Nor am I blaming the kiosk staff. “They are doing it all.”

Your kiosk staff are, in my experience, helpful and efficient people — but very few people, even if they are handsomely paid (which your staff are not) – very few people can manage to be in two places at once.

As I dinked out of the doors, moving fast and thinking about where I could go, to get my purchases done without being late (it’s a weekday morning, Morrisons – we’re all time-limited) – as I left, I’m pretty sure I heard something along the lines of how I’d “have to speak to the manager.”

Now hear this, Morrisons: customers do not “have to” anything.  If you keep cutting back on staff, and training them to train customers to wait longer, you will lose trade – you are losing trade (yes, thank you, I did manage to find a shop that was properly staffed, and get on with my day on time. Thanks for asking.)

Self-service? I don’t think so

Of course, part of the ‘everything’ those absent kiosk staff are doing is staffing the ‘self-service’ tills, because those tills aren’t really self-service at all, are they? They need managing, and sometimes, even customers who do put up with using self-service need help. Morrisons, do your job – employ more staff.

Let’s be clear, shall we? Very few people like using self-service tills. Most of those who say they ‘like’ using them mean that they prefer using them to hanging around in the queues you have created by cutting back on cashiers.

I am older than most of the staff, so I remember how many tills you used to have, with a friendly, human cashier working every one, in order to run the shop without time-wasting queues. You cut back on workers by reducing tills, and now you’re cutting back more, and using your kiosk staff to do jobs other workers could be doing – and then you tell your customers what they ‘have to’ do to make up for your failings.

Dear everyone,

Businesses have been actively training you to fill gaps in their understaffed concerns for years. Please do not allow yourselves to be told. Tell them, instead. Cutting back on staff and training customers to put up with inconvenience is just as much a sin against key workers as the more obvious tactics of cutting wages. Do not put up with it – in fact, demand better.

poster: our key workers support everone. Pay them. Protect them. Respect them.

If you can get to London this coming weekend, there’s a rally in protest against the cost of living crisis and the underpayment and under-employment of workers. If you can get along to the rally, please do. If not, please sign up to the campaign anyway. You could help to publicise it, and talk to your local groups about how you might join in the campaign and Demand Better for your town.

Click here to join the TUC Demand Better campaign


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