Pet Food Supplies in Macclesfield, Cheshire
Pet retailers across the country have been thanking customers for their forbearance during the coronavirus crisis…but have also revealed that not everyone is being helpful.
While the uncertainty and inconvenience of social distancing regulations have largely been met with relief and understanding, a few retailers have taken to social media with reports of clients who have been grumpy or even aggressive.
Some customers have refused to pay by contactless card or have stormed out rather than leave family and friends outside the shop.
Piers Smart, from Scampers Pets in Ely, Cambridgeshire, brought up the issue on his Twitter feed, saying: “We’ve had several couples who we’ve asked if only one of them would come in the shop…and they have walked out! We’re limiting the number of people in store NOT the number of customers. If three couples come in it means single customers have to wait outside. I cut the risk to our team by 50% by having just one person per transaction.”
He also said that some people’s patience appeared to be wearing thin and that taking it out on retail staff was becoming a bit of a ‘worrying trend’, adding: “Customer offered cash, asked, ‘do you by any chance have any other form of payment?’ and the customer walks out!
“But most customers are brilliant and we’re still really happy, just having a bit of a moan…”
The Pet Pantry shop, in Selsey, West Sussex, added: “We had someone in, not so long ago, pull out a handful of change. I said for future reference we are trying to avoid cash and she said, ‘Don’t you think you’re being over the top?’ No lady, I don’t think that actually!”
Another retailer, Roderick Lloyd Rees, of Only Pets and Horses, in Carmarthenshire, was forced to take to Facebook to issue a warning to badly-behaved clients: “Our staff have worked incredibly hard to keep the shop stocked and collating orders. Even though the lockdown has not been lifted, a few customers have been abusive towards staff when they have not been allowed into the shop. Any customer who behaves in such a manner shall be asked to vacate the premises immediately,” he said.
THE EXTRA MILE
And other retail units have agreed that not everyone is fully complying with the restrictions. Four Seasons Pet Supplies, in Castleford, West Yorkshire, operates from a market-style unit and said: “Most customers are adhering to the social distancing rules but some still haven’t got it and we’re quite busy with new customers who won’t queue at the discount stores.”
Others have gone the extra mile to ensure there are no misunderstandings about keeping staff and customers safe on the premises.
Gayle Parks, of Pet Food Supplies in Macclesfield, Cheshire, said: “We’ve had to custom-make a counter for outside our shop. We are serving customers from the door, taking orders over the phone so we can have it ready for customers to collect and offering a free local delivery.”
But she added that everyone had been respecting the social distancing rules and that they were taking card payments rather than cash whenever possible.
And Andrew Knight, of Shanklin Pet Stores, on he Isle of Wight, said: “We also moved the card machine to the door as our shop is too small to let customers in. Lucky for us our website had an upgrade just before this all started and it’s doing well – like others we have reduced hours and are doing lots of home deliveries.”
All the retailers we contacted agree on one thing, however – that most of their customers have been complying with regulations and have just been happy they are still operating.
As Pearl Hamilton of Pearl’s Pet Care in Forres, Morey, said: “We are essential for animal wellbeing and the mental wellbeing of their owners. Here we find social distancing is being observed, there is a rise in contactless payments and many customers are coming in, expressing how grateful they are that we are open at all.”