What focusing on rising violence against Supermarket Staff always misses


Woolworths to spend $45 million on safety initiatives after 131% rise in physical assaults

Woolworths says there has been a 131 percent rise in physical assaults against its staff in the last six months, compared to the same time last year.

The supermarket chain, formerly known as Countdown, is launching a campaign calling for respect in the lead up to the holiday period.

It’s also spending tens of millions of dollars on safety measures such as walkie-talkies, fog cannons and body cameras.

Head of health, safety and wellbeing Denva Wren said in the last week alone staff have been spat at, called names and shoved. She has told customers to stop it.

“Actually [customers] considering their body language, their tone and how they approach a situation – whether that’s a gap on a shelf, product quality or a genuine query. Just actually thinking and considering how you might do that when you follow up with one of our team”.

As for the additional safety initiatives, Wren said she was sad things have got so bad, $45 million has to be spent to ensure stores are safer for staff and customers.

Firstly, there is never a reason to use violence against underpaid migrant workers shipped in to stand over the self check outs of the evil Supermarket duopoly.

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Secondly, fuck the evil Supermarket duopoly.

The Supermarkets who are price gouging Kiwis and driving up the cost of living inflation, have the audacity to complain about the shoplifting crime wave that is now hitting them!

It’s like a Drug Cartel complaining about a lack of courtesy!

I am not going to get angry at hungry desperate people stealing from Supermarkets!

These very same Supermarkets who have used their market duopoly position to make obscene profit margins!

These very same Supermarkets who are so manipulative and cruel with their unchecked power that they can screw over producers of food!

These very same Supermarkets who constantly lie and cheat customers!

Look, I’m not defending nor justifying any violence towards Staff members at Supermarkets but these thefts are not occurring in a vacuum eh?

The highest food inflation prices for 30 years alongside the desperation caused by the unequal sacrifice of Covid has left an enormous amount of Kiwis behind and that is why we are seeing a spike in Supermarket thefts.

We need urgent reform of the Supermarket duopoly to brings prices down.

We do not need to militarise our Supermarkets with face recognition technology!

Supermarket crime is a symptom of the 600 000 Kiwis who are reliant on food banks each month and the under regulated capitalism that allows for a duopoly.

Ignoring that is politically convenient.



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  1. “I am not going to get angry at hungry desperate people stealing from Supermarkets!” If that was all it was I would have some sympathy. Still, when the theft is chocolates, booze & other garbage food not necessary for a healthy life you can not really claim that it is essential, it is usually obvious from the offender’s condition that they are not in a calorie deficit.
    I got introduced to shoplifting in my intermediate school years when walking through a supermarket with a classmate & I noticed he was pocketing stuff. I talked to him about it once we left the store & did it a few times myself afterward until the guilt from a Christian upbringing got to me & I stopped doing it. I was surprised about how easy it was to shoplift then & although stores have made big improvements in security it will still be difficult for them to stop determined people pocketing small items. The problem is people with trolleyloads of stuff seeking to force their way out that cause conflict with staff, it needs to be made clear that that behavior is not acceptable.

    • oh we’re back to the booze and fags clause coupled with a bit of moral backbone for the supermarket apologists…how about they cut their margins(they’d still be making a fortune) rather than passing on imaginary costs

  2. Funny. I’ve just recently put in a complaint to Countdown for harrassment from their security staff and staff. I’ve been followed around the shop by them in my last 3 visits, photos taken of my basket of what’s in it and also said to at the checkout by a staff member,”Are you going to pay for it!”

    So fuck them!

  3. ” We need urgent reform of the Supermarket duopoly to brings prices down ”

    Bomber we have had the reform which is appointing a grocery commissioner who has been recruited from the supermarket industry on a very lucrative package to do absolutely nothing.

    LINO created a symbolic role to fool the public it was serious about reining in these financial gangsters.

    Like the infamous TWG and Jacinda politely asking the banking cartels to be kind its been a total waste of time and public money to achieve nothing at all.

    Unless Winston has pushed for some real action in this area the grocery giants will continue extorting Kiwis for the food they need and its long suffering staff will continue to be in the firing line.

      • … And a Human Rights Commissioner will not want to silence women’s voices, and a Commissioner for Children could be the answer to little babies’ whimpering wee cries.

  4. A “131 percent rise in physical assaults” based upon what figure exactly? Always a problem, always be wary when no context is ever given .

  5. I do not condone violence in any shape or form however the unfriendly attitude of some supermarket staff leaves a lot to be desired. I am not talking about the school children either ( they are still learning to be sociable !! ). I am talking about middle age women who should know better, especially in times of expensive food prices where things are tough enough for all of us

    • Your are right Queeny. Recently i did a big shop for food for a family gathering just over $300 .Not 1 word was said as she put my items through.It was like she was a robot .When I came to pay she pointed to the efipos machine and then there was no thank you . I am a regular shopper and expected better .

      • ” Your are right Queeny. Recently i did a big shop for food for a family gathering just over $300 .Not 1 word was said as she put my items through.It was like she was a robot .When I came to pay she pointed to the efipos machine and then there was no thank you . I am a regular shopper and expected better ”

        Yep Trevor that is neo liberal slavery that you support right there. I hope you take your complaint and find that you are frustrated at every level of the corporate hierarchy which is designed to dissuade you from taking or reaching someone who gives a shit.

        Wake up and acknowledge this corporate profit first level of service that you expect but are not going to get.

        Don’t they do it so much better in the U.K ? Sunak is overseeing the new capitalist dawn so feel free to head home.

    • well queeny the attitudes of the employers squeezing all enjojment and initiative from jobs thus creating the situation you complain of.

  6. Random assaults on staff have nothing to do with the public, this is an internal employment matter. Supermarkets are there to serve the customer unconditionally in supplying the essentials of life, they should not be used for political grandstanding (staff as victim or staff as gatekeeper) especially if this creates excessive barriers to access (such as during the Covid period). If supermarket staff feel unsafe then they should minimize the interaction between themselves and shoppers, such as keeping out of sight in a private cubicle until requested by the public to OK their alcohol purchase. If staff feel overwhelmed by public interaction they could request to be rostered on at quiet times (Wednesday 2.30-3.30). If staff refuse to work in what they perceive as unsafe conditions then they should be given the appropriate severance package and their vacant position filled by an indigenous New Zealander with the talent, drive and stability to grow the company. Other tips for supermarket staff include smiling at all times, not blocking exits (being body aware), avoiding non work-related conversation with other staff if there is a chance the public may hear, keeping trolleys and vehicles out of the way of shoppers as they move through the shop (public should have the right of way at all times), tending to self checkout issues immediately (the public’s time is their money) and avoiding buzzing around shoppers like a blowfly and invading their personal space to pick up baskets, wash checkouts or pack shelves.

  7. The other day, in the Warehouse, been to the backend, getting plants and snail reppel, looking for a knife sharpner, this clown in his 30 odd years, came charging at me saying, his hands up, did you take my sunglasses, he said the security cameras are grey picture, but your cloths look alike, are you having a laugh, at a 70 odd scot in the knife department, in a store, so a said, pal not I. As he turned to walk away, he turned and glanst back, a said pal, you owe me a sorry, he said sorry, no pal not enough, proper sorry, he said, ah just did. no it should be unresreved. Arsehole, years now gone, would have been a diffrent outcome.

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