Four in five Britons: No Mobiles at Checkout

July 05, 2013, 2:10 PM GMT+0

80% of the British public say talking on the phone at a checkout is unacceptable – and the majority think the shop assistant who refused to serve a customer for doing so was right

A public debate on the etiquette of mobile phone use has emerged after a Sainsbury's checkout assistant refused to serve a customer who was talking on her mobile. Even Nick Clegg weighed in, saying he had a “sneaking sympathy” for the worker. Now, YouGov can reveal the public's opinion on the issue.

Eighty percent of the British public say that it is not acceptable “to have a conversation on a mobile phone while being served at a shop checkout.” But while fewer than one in six (16%) view it as acceptable, the young are significantly more likely to feel it is alright.

Sainsbury's has formally apologised to the customer, Jo Clarke. However the majority (56%) of Britons say the checkout assistant was “right not to serve the customer” while 38% say she was in the wrong. Again, this correlates with age.

YouGov’s social media analysis tool, SoMA, found that on the day of the incident 13.1% of the Twitter population had been exposed to mention of Sainsbury's compared to 8.2% the day before. And YouGov’s Opigram system, which collects public opinion constantly and in real-time, shows that compared to other supermarkets fans of Sainsbury’s are skewed slightly towards the older generation, the group most outraged by the incident.

See the full poll results

Join YouGov today! Your views can shape the news…