Teenager working at Coles abused by a furious customer. Picture: Kate Munn
Teenager working at Coles abused by a furious customer. Picture: Kate Munn

Supermarket mistake that needs to stop

A mum has detailed the moment her teenage daughter was abused by a customer while working on a Coles checkout.

Kate Munn said an "aggressive" shopper called police on daughter Hayley Evans on Saturday while at work in the Sydney beachside suburb of Manly because she wasn't wearing any gloves.

The use of gloves is not a requirement under the Federal Government's COVID-19 Hygiene Practices For Supermarkets.

"She was working on the checkout on Saturday and was questioned by an irate and aggressive customer who demanded to know why she wasn't wearing any gloves," Ms Munn told news.com.au.

"She was a bit shook up by it, but she explained gloves were optional and she had been using hand sanitiser."

Kate Munn shared her daughter’s experience as a checkout worker. Picture: Kate Munn
Kate Munn shared her daughter’s experience as a checkout worker. Picture: Kate Munn

Ms Munn shared the experience in a Facebook Group where many were furious by the way Hayley - who is working part-time while studying from home - was treated.

But Ms Munn said it highlights how "uncomfortable" Australians are feeling in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Coles have been very supportive, she had managerial support. One of the other staff members heard the customer calling the police. It was crazy," she said.

"It's so indicative of the level of discomfort and unease in society at the moment. We may have overcome our toilet paper panic buying, but we've got out of one discomfort into another."

Ms Munn said she shared the story to let people know the situation facing our supermarket workers. Picture: Kate Munn
Ms Munn said she shared the story to let people know the situation facing our supermarket workers. Picture: Kate Munn

Hayley is doing "fine" but Ms Munn said she shared the story as it's important people know the situation facing our supermarket workers.

NSW Police told news.com.au the incident wasn't a police matter while Coles said it "does not tolerate abuse or disrespect" against its employees.

"The safety of our customers and team members is our most important focus and we continue to work closely with the Australian Government to review our health and safety arrangements for store team members in line with their recommendations," a Coles spokesperson said.

The supermarket giant said it was spending an additional $1 million per week to "extensively clean" stores and increase the number of security guards to keep people safe during this time of unprecedented demand.

Coles added team members are not required to wear gloves when working at the checkout.

The Australian Government's COVID-19 Hygiene Practices for Supermarkets state that washing hands regularly or using alcohol-based hand rub will offer more protection against COVID-19 than wearing gloves.

Official advice also states that wearing gloves can lead to "complacency and reduced hand washing, potentially increasing the risk of contracting the virus".

Sadly, Hayley's story is one of many sad stories emerging from Australian supermarkets at the moment. Last week another worried mum shared a photo of her teenage daughter after finishing a shift at Woolworths.

Debara Nydrle, from Townsville in Queensland, shared a snap of her 18-year-old daughter Jordyn collapsing on the couch in floods of tears while still in her green Woolies uniform.

In a furious post, Debara urged people to think about the way they are behaving during the coronavirus crisis.

"Thank you to all the Freaking A' holes who thinks it's OK to abuse your Woolies staff to the point you break them … daily … multiple times a day … abusing them for things that they do not control … How freaking Un Australian," she said in the post shared Monday.

This heartbreaking photo shows the brutal reality of working in a supermarket during the coronavirus crisis. Picture: Facebook/Debara Nydrle
This heartbreaking photo shows the brutal reality of working in a supermarket during the coronavirus crisis. Picture: Facebook/Debara Nydrle

The gut-wrenching photo was shared more than 3500 times and received a stream of comments from equally frustrated friends.

Continue the conversation @RebekahScanlan | rebekah.scanlan@news.com.au



TOTAL FIRE BAN: Fireys issue warning for Friday

TOTAL FIRE BAN: Fireys issue warning for Friday

Ballina, Byron, Tweed, Richmond, Clarence, Lismore, Kyogle affected

THE WINNER IS … Find out the Clarence’s spunkiest mullet

Premium Content THE WINNER IS … Find out the Clarence’s spunkiest mullet

Who has the spunkiest mullet in all of the Clarence Valley? The results are in!

Coffs Coast beckons as Surfer Groms Comp Series arrives

Premium Content Coffs Coast beckons as Surfer Groms Comp Series arrives

The 2020 Woolworths Surfer Groms Comp Series hits Coffs Harbour this weekend