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Shop staff exempt from social distancing?

(53 Posts)
Xedd Fri 19-Jun-20 10:05:15

I ventured to homesense on a retail park, fully expecting to queue and follow whatever new guidelines were in place, but to be safe.

I was given a lecture on the rules before entering, by someone who had obviously been told to do it as part of their job, but didn't really understand the reasons for what they were saying or the inconsistencies in how they were behaving. I watched her from back in the queue lean way into people's personal space and speak directly into their faces about the need to sanitise their hands!

Inside, the stairs had been split in half by tape, but were physically not two metres wide, so only really useable for people going in one direction at a time, just like in a house. Their ingenious response to this? A sign or markings declaring them one way only? A stop/go system like temporary traffic lights narrowing the road? Sort of. But not from a distance. This was a member of staff without any additional preventative mask standing on the yellow line in the middle of a 1.5 metre space, forcing people to basically brush shoulders with him as they passed. A teenaged boy gesturing and saying it was 'safe' for me to use the stairs because nobody was coming the other way, oblivious to that fact that he was in a prime position to pass on anything he picked up to everyone who went upstairs, connecting everyone who had queued at a distance around the building and dodged each other inside.

I left instead and I asked the manager if he was really supposed to be in the middle of the stairs and she just looked at me like I was being dramatic. Why are people who apparently are following social distancing properly happy to cut corners? If he'd been serving on a till, facing a great many number of strangers in quick succession through throughout the day (like on the stairs), he'd have been behind a screen for everyone's safety according to company policy.

OP’s posts: |
Hobbesmanc Fri 19-Jun-20 10:25:46

Honestly, just dont go to the shops. If you are that concerned then you are able to get everything on line without getting yourself so stressed. Leave the shops to those of us with a little common sense. The 2 metre rule is so arbitrary at best. Transmission is very unlikely just by walking closely to someone.

I really dont know what people expect- surely you remember what shops looked like before- they weren't designed to accommodate social distancing. And retail staff are only human too.

Just stay home

Sparklingbrook Fri 19-Jun-20 10:29:37

It must be horrible to work in retail at the moment.

NannyR Fri 19-Jun-20 10:29:56

The chances of you catching covid from passing someone on the stairs is vanishingly small. Queuing with a two metre gap makes sense as you may be in the queue for 10-15 mins plus, but I don't get too concerned about walking past somebody.

Xedd Fri 19-Jun-20 11:06:42

I understand that passing someone is not as bad as coughing on each other etc. But my point is they took it upon themselves to say that customers couldn't pass each other on stairs, but we could all take it in turns to pass this one person. Who had no need to be there. If it's imperative we queue to limit numbers inside to be able to stay away from each other, surely they should allow you to stay away from them!

OP’s posts: |
vanillandhoney Fri 19-Jun-20 11:08:49

I am so, so relieved I got out of retail before all of this kicked off.

I have ex-colleagues going back next week who are absolutely dreading it, and I don't blame them. It will be hell.

ItsInTheShed Fri 19-Jun-20 11:09:00

Christ it’s their first week open isn’t it?? Give them a bloody chance

What did you need from homesense that was so important?

Sparklingbrook Fri 19-Jun-20 11:14:54


Christ it’s their first week open isn’t it?? Give them a bloody chance

What did you need from homesense that was so important?


Xedd Fri 19-Jun-20 11:20:13

Give them a chance to do what? Spread their germs? They're open, so it should have been planned for properly.

OP’s posts: |
Sparklingbrook Fri 19-Jun-20 11:21:20

You are all heart OP What were you buying?

Starbuggy Fri 19-Jun-20 11:21:41

Oh give them a break it’s the first week they’ve been open and they’re not paid enough for this. It’s an imperfect situation. Passing one person on the stairs is preferable to passing half a dozen customers on the stairs.

If you’re going to get this stressed about it then just stay home and order online.

Fatted Fri 19-Jun-20 11:24:43

No one needs to be in Homesense right now.

Either go and accept that the people in there are being paid peanuts to do the best they can in a lose/lose situation or just stay at home and order your soft furnishings online.

Hysteriawhenyourenear Fri 19-Jun-20 11:28:07

I work in retail and it has been a nightmare.
We have been swore at, things thrown at us and of course the jokers who have had to wait in a queue outside that cough as they walk past the marshall on the door. The rules are there to keep people safe, but everyone does their own risk assessment and sadly tend to think only of themselves. They might think its "utter bullshit" as we are told numerous times a day and not adhere to the rules, but the person you get close to might feel different or have health issues so it should be about others, not just yourself. People moan when there is a queue to get in, more get let in and then they moan its too busy. Ive been swore at more times in the last few months than in my whole life, but we are just trying to adapt to this just the same as the customers, we have to shop too!
On the other hand some people are amazing and when they are nice and thank us, i wont lie it chokes us up! Thats why we are here, for them not the woman who called me an effing bitch last week or the man who squared up to my collegue an inch from her face (for just asking him to wait while a lady put her trolley away, 30 second wait, max)

BlueJava Fri 19-Jun-20 11:29:33

I personally don't believe it's possible to be 2m, or even 1m, apart at all times when shopping. If you are a bit concerned wear a mask, if you are concerned just don't go and shop online would be my advice. In my experience most people are forgetting to distance now (as am I) so if you are worried you will find it a bit stressful.

Personally I don't go shopping much anyway, but did go to M&S last night and apart from the queue to get in and some staff wearing masks you wouldn't know any different.

FluffyKittensinabasket Fri 19-Jun-20 11:30:33

Stay home if you are concerned and get deliveries?

LadyMonicaBaddingham Fri 19-Jun-20 11:30:56

Just out of interest, how is the age (or sex, for that matter) of the 'teenaged boy' relevant here?

Agree with PPs that HomeSense is hardly essential shopping; especially if you are going to bitch and whinge about other people - including the actual staff - being there too.

People are really showing who they are at the moment...

BogRollBOGOF Fri 19-Jun-20 11:36:45

Just let the shop staff get on with their jobs. They are the ones in the potentially compromised position compared to the customer.

If you don't like the risks, shop elsewhere or don't bother at all.

CorianderLord Fri 19-Jun-20 11:40:06

I mean they have to do their job while people are shopping... if they waited or shut off aisles etc they'd never get anything done

ItsInTheShed Fri 19-Jun-20 11:40:37

Well that’s you told op!

Sparklingbrook Fri 19-Jun-20 11:45:19

Yes those pesky 'teenage boys' and their working for a living with the general public in the middle of a pandemic. Tut.

woodhill Fri 19-Jun-20 11:46:25

Yes, I didn't queue today and definitely more people in the shop than previously but most people social distancing

vanillandhoney Fri 19-Jun-20 11:48:48


Give them a chance to do what? Spread their germs? They're open, so it should have been planned for properly.

Christ, you're full of sympathy aren't you!

dontgobaconmyheart Fri 19-Jun-20 11:50:20

Working in retail is actually very hard OP. I've been a retail manager for large companies and a teacher and found the former significantly longer hours and stress (though both were difficult jobs, with a lot of unpaid overtime, before I ignite the teacher row)

Unlike the poor food retail workers who have been risking their safety and the safety of their family this whole time so they can pay their bills, high street retailers have not (and were nor allowed) to bring in workers to train during furlough, they've had very little time to get this together and physically can't change the dimensions of the store/stairs/back areas or till areas. They aren't mobile fixturess. All they can do is impose as much social distancing as they can, any expectation it will be 100% possible in a shop is silly. I can assure you, customers often wont adhere to anything that isn't enforced by a member of staff or where one isn't visible and it is best to supervise to avoid things getting out of hand.

Very petty to reference him as a teenager as though that makes him some sort of idiot. If you have such high concerns about covid 19 don't pop out to bloomin' homesense, or moan about unnecessary interaction with a staff member and then go yourself and seek out the manager. Why not go home and call and avoid the contact? Did you wear a mask?

Nicknacky Fri 19-Jun-20 11:52:45

Do you really think you will catch Covid walking past someone?

Hysteriawhenyourenear Fri 19-Jun-20 11:54:34


Give them a chance to do what? Spread their germs? They're open, so it should have been planned for properly.

Just as you know there is a pandemic which you should have planned for before you decided you needed an essential photo frame/candle

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