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I work in a Telecommunications company and deal with very aggressive and abusive customers EVERY DAY. I have been called any name you can think of, I have had my life threatened and I have been personally insulted. 

But something new happened today that I never thought would happen. We had a man (who is a doctor) raise his fist and attempt to physically assault the staff in my store and we were all left terrified. Security took so long to come, the whole situation had diffused by then and the police did not arrive so 2 hours later, we went into the police station to make a statement because we couldn't keep waiting around. The store was filled with bystanders and the scene attracted a huge crowd, and from the security, police and HUNDREDS of bystanders, there were only three people that assisted. The worst part was that this is just my job- staff in retail are just supposed to take it. 

The amount of abuse that retail staff deal with is incomprehensible and should not be tolerated. I know that retail is the second most popular occupation in Australia and there are millions of workers that deal with verbal and physical abuse EVERY DAY. 

Many studies are devoted to assessing the implications of working in retail and over the past 18, evidence suggests that the mental health and mental state of retail staff has gotten dramatically worse. It's a surprise you're even presented with a smile anymore. 

Retail workers have reported significantly higher rates of psychological distress than any other profession, and psychological distress is not something that is or should be taken lightly. To qualify for that condition, employees have proven that they often felt “worthless” and “so depressed that nothing could cheer them up”. They also discussed the extent to which these negative feelings left them “totally unable to work or carry out” their normal activities, or with physical and psychological ailments that prompted them to see a medical professional.

There needs to be laws regarding this issue. We are calling on The Australian government to better protect retail staff by implementing an effective law that prevents people abusing (whether physical or mental) retail staff. Retail staff should be able to detain the person until police arrive and action needs to be taken against this person. No retail staff member likes to argue with customers for no reason- it would make our life easier to give them what they want and have them leave but sometimes the stubborn, hot-headed and irrational people refuse to believe that.