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.