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Charity shop volunteers - standing up

(49 Posts)
boheminan Fri 17-Jan-20 15:37:53

My friend, who's worked for years in one of the large charity shops as a 2 day volunteer, told me she's given up working as they now expect all till workers to do their (sometimes few hours) stint standing up - and her legs couldn't do it. Apparently a couple of other volunteers have left for the same reason.

I can't understand why this is happening - especially as these good folk are giving their time free. Do customers expect, nay demand, the person that serves them should stand to do so? Has anyone in GN land any idea why this should be hmmconfused?

Liz46 Fri 17-Jan-20 15:41:25

When I was well enough to volunteer in a charity shop, I used to sit by the till. I had worked in a bank for 19 years so the manageress was happy to leave me to it.

tanith Fri 17-Jan-20 16:03:15

Not saying this is the reason but I’ve visited a few in my time and have had to ‘interrupt’ a conversation between 2/3 ‘volunteers’ to get attention to either pay or donate. Could that lack of attention be a reason? I know they are volunteers but do feel they should be paying attention to customers not having a gossip. Shall I take cover now (ducks)🤣

Auntieflo Fri 17-Jan-20 17:33:44

I volunteer, one half day a week, and we are provided with both a stool and a chair, for when we are on the till.
As most of us are of the very retired age group, I don't think we could manage without. (One of us is in her early 90's)
But, when we are serving, we mostly stand.
We have some DOE students and Saturday younger staff, and even they sit when not busy.
Why not?

boheminan Fri 17-Jan-20 17:42:32

'Why not'? My question exactly Auntieflo. It seems pretty regular practice now for paid shop servers to stand at tills all day (though I don't really mind if they sit) it must play havoc with their legs. tanith - come from behind your covergrin why should standing and chatting make a difference to sitting and chattinghmm

Marilla Fri 17-Jan-20 17:54:40

I think it makes common sense to be able to sit when not serving customers. People who have volunteered are giving up their free time willingly and it doesn’t make any difference to me whether they are sitting when I go into the shop.

Shame on the charity who expects volunteers to stand throughout their shift.

Marilla Fri 17-Jan-20 17:55:40

Which charity is it?

janeainsworth Fri 17-Jan-20 17:56:42

I am sure Grandad43 will be along shortly, but this is from the Health & Safety Executive's website:

"Workstations and seating
Workstations should be suitable for the people using them and for the work they
do. People should be able to leave workstations swiftly in an emergency. If work
can or must be done sitting, seats which are suitable for the people using them
and for the work they do should be provided. Seating should give adequate
support for the lower back, and footrests should be provided for workers who
cannot place their feet flat on the floor".

Although it says 'workstations' I think this applies to shop situations too. However, at the end, it says this describes best practice & is not compulsory.

sparkii Fri 17-Jan-20 18:01:32

dear me, what a sad state of affairs when ladies with a life time of experience and a healthy dose of common sense, are unable to volunteer because somebody decided they must stand up in a voluntary job

BlueBelle Fri 17-Jan-20 18:04:36

The person on the till in our shop can sit
I don’t work on the till and I m on my feet for all 20 hours a week I work, however that’s my choice if I wanted I could have a break and a sit down but to be honest if I once sat down I d never get up again😂😂😂

boheminan Fri 17-Jan-20 18:22:38

Thanks for that janeinainsworth. The way I read it is that having a chair in a close workspace could be a hazard in an emergency...but it's ultimately up to the management whether a worker (voluntary or otherwise) can sit or not. I seems to be regular practice now with till operators in big supermarkets and even a lot of workers in small shops are being made to stand (I know this from my nephew who works in a tiny shop and has to stand at the till all day).

Doodledog Fri 17-Jan-20 18:29:50

Is it something to do with health? I remember standing desks being talked about a while ago. I zoned out, as there is no way I was going to spend all day on my feet - my job did involve a fair bit of standing and walking about, but when I was in my office I wanted to sit down.

I have no issue with people being offered the option of standing, but (and IMO it is irrelevant whether they are volunteers or not) it should be up to them whether or not they take up the option. Not everyone is able to stand all day, and not everyone wants to do so. What difference does it make?

MerylStreep Fri 17-Jan-20 18:39:29

Most of these large charities are loosing sight of who does the work. You please yourself in my shop.
I have to say we have to keep reminding the younger volunteers how to conduct themselves 😉

NanaSuzy Sat 18-Jan-20 09:55:19

Tanith - you don't need to take cover from me cos you make a fair point grin. Some of the rudest women I've ever met were 'serving' in a certain charity shop. But this is all on a par with the National Trust alienating their volunteers making them wear a certain item they object to, and other evidence of the Nanny state with its 'woke' attitudes. Yes probably health problems are caused by a sedentary lifestyle, but people who have got out there and volunteered for a job are not likely to be sedentary in attitude or behaviour. A sit-down between customers can do no harm surely. The ladies concerned should offer their services where they'll be appreciated.

BazingaGranny Sat 18-Jan-20 10:04:21

I might be entirely wrong, but I thought I read somewhere that if people stand rather than sit behind a till or a desk there is less backache.

It seems very fashionable for newsreaders to stand and I saw a tv programme recently, where the audience was also standing.

If I volunteered in a shop, I would certainly like the option of sitting behind the till. Otherwise I might be tempted to sit in the storeroom and sort! 🪑

polnan Sat 18-Jan-20 10:05:21

I am likely to start a rant on charity`s.. o.k. slight change of thread,, but this is how I tend to converse.... if all the charity`s that help homeless and the Government got together, we could solve the homeless crisis.. .. I find that volunteers can be treated just the same as paid employees, and why not? I work in a church cafe,,, volunteering, and some volunteers will say" well I am only a volunteer" I think we should all be treated the same... imo

Grosvenor Sat 18-Jan-20 10:17:55

This rule is not new. Sixty years ago, as a student, I had a Saturday job in Woolworths. We were not allowed to sit down on the tip-up seats provided behind every counter.

Humbertbear Sat 18-Jan-20 10:26:14

Like Grosvenor, I had a job in a ladies wear shop on the glove counter and were expected to stand all day. But staff on check outs in supermarkets sit down so why not volunteers on the till in a charity shop?

Saggi Sat 18-Jan-20 10:29:00

I work in a Tesco Express ...we always have to stand behind till...they can’t be worked sitting down. Sometimes it’s 3.5 hours straight off until we get a break ..... it’s very tiring sometimes. I certainly wouldn’t ‘volunteer’ for such conditions.

Fernbergien Sat 18-Jan-20 11:09:19

Grosvenor it could have been me writing that. Seats but not allowed to sit. Woolworths was far from the best place to work in general. At least I got given special jobs - no extra money though.

SillyNanny321 Sat 18-Jan-20 11:12:09

I have volunteered for over 20 years in a very well known charity shop. We had a memo round a few years ago stating that till operators were not to be seated behind the till.
This caused so many ladies, not just in our shop but others also, to say that was it they would leave. Silly memo was ignored by one & all & all our till operators sit if they need. Some ladies prefer to stand & move around others sit. I prefer to keep on the move so as not to stiffen up.
Most of us think that those running the business now have no idea what it is like to work in our shops as a Volunteer.

Bluebird64 Sat 18-Jan-20 11:19:13

I don't like charity shops at all. They're full of tat because the staff cream off all the good stuff. Your donated goods aren't welcomed because they mean work. I too have had to spend hours on my feet as a charity shop worker because another (very young) employee 'could only work on the till' and so occupied the only seat. Charity shops are a waste of time and make our High Streets look miserable.

nanamac77 Sat 18-Jan-20 11:20:25

Am wondering if this is an insurance/politically correct or tactical thing. Is it a way of filtering out those who are less fit and who might be considered less useful by some, without actually saying so? Is there a new young manager/ess?
Not approving, just guessing.

acanthus Sat 18-Jan-20 11:23:59

What a daft idea. The volunteers have to stand up to use the till anyway. Perhaps there's a hidden agenda here - to filter out ladies of a certain age? If so the charity will regret it - retired ladies are the life-blood of the charity shops in my town!

Phloembundle Sat 18-Jan-20 11:26:24

I would have thought that alternating between sitting and standing is the healthiest option in a long working day. I agree with most other comments that since the majority of volunteers appear to be post retirement age, there will soon be no-one left to staff the shops. Is this yet another example of elf and safety gone mad?