OPINION: Be sure to #ShopKind when shopping this Christmas

North Devon Gazette

Here in the North Devon Hospice retail team, we’re backing the nationwide #ShopKind initiative, which encourages shoppers to be respectful of retail workers.Â

Many people can barely believe that there is a need for such a campaign. Do we need a #DriveOnTheLeft initiative to remind us which side of the road we need to be on?Â

You’d like to think that some things are just hard-wired into us. But sadly, we can speak from personal experience when we say that abuse towards retail staff is certainly on the rise.Â

We can see no need why any of our retail team, the hardworking staff and volunteers who run our charity shops, should ever be subject to abuse from customers. But unfortunately, this is a trend we have seen developing over the last two years, which is why we want to highlight the #ShopKind campaign now. It is a simple reminder that everyone deserves to be treated with respect, and that abuse will not be tolerated.Â

Our North Devon Hospice charity shops are genuinely wonderful places. They are treasure troves for people looking for unique and interesting bargains, and of course all the money raised helps local people. In a normal year, the funds generated through our shops accounts for about 20% of all the care provided to local people. That’s about 600 hospice patients and family members every year who would not get the care they need, were it not for our hospice charity shops.Â

As well as being a haven for sustainable and exciting shopping, our charity shops are a community in themselves. The fantastic volunteers, who make our whole retail operation tick, are the most committed people you could wish to meet. To imagine that some of them have to put up with abuse from members of the public is simply unthinkable.Â

With Christmas very nearly here, and last-minute shopping often providing a stressful environment, we would remind everyone to #ShopKind, no matter where you are. Please visit your local North Devon Hospice shop for some unique gift ideas, and you’ll be greeted with a smile and some unexpected gems on the shelves.Â