Callie, 30, is a supermarket store assistant, from Yorkshire. Callie had to leave a job that they loved after a series of abusive experiences.
“Just before lockdown, a customer was being a bit disruptive, banging the metal ‘next customer’ till divider on the checkout. I thought he was just getting impatient but there were children around and I could tell they were getting scared, so I asked him politely to stop. He refused, so I asked him to leave the store and he whacked me across the face with the metal bar, knocking me out cold for a couple of minutes. It all happened so quickly, a manager detained him, and paramedics and police arrived and put him in the van.
“I was told I was lucky where he hit me because any higher and it would have been my temple, any lower it would have been my eye socket. I had a black eye for weeks, bruising around my eye and nose. Having to explain it to my young child was horrible. When I watched the CCTV footage afterwards, he hit me once, I fell to the floor, and he raised his hand to hit me again, so once wasn’t good enough. I later found out he had a knife in his pocket, so it could have been much worse.
“I was offered witness protection and the police were supportive, but unfortunately Covid hit and I was told it wasn’t a strong enough case, so he never got charged.
“I fell out of love with my job after that, and my confidence dropped. As a manager, when you hear the security bell it’s your job to go and make sure your staff are ok, but I couldn’t, I would hide in the warehouse or office. Seeing somebody that remotely looks like him gives me a sick feeling, even now.
“Luckily, people in retail have access to the Retail Trust because to be honest, you don’t get a lot of support otherwise. I’ve been spat at in my face, a guy threw a bag of flour at me, I’ve been followed home and I’ve been sat at my till when a customer came up to me and said, “I know you live over there, I saw your uniform on your washing line,” pointing at my house.
“Eventually, I had to leave a job that I absolutely loved. I still work in customer services; I still love people, but I work in car sales now because people treat us more like humans.”
Would you put up with this?
*Image posed by a model