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7 of 10 part-time workers has faced customer abuse: survey

Aug. 18, 2023 - 14:34 By Yoon Min-sik
Inside a local convenience store (Yonhap)

A recent poll of part-time workers across the country showed that 68.3 percent have been subject to “gapjil” -- which refers to abusing of one’s position to make unreasonable and unfair demands of someone in a lower position -- by customers while on the job.

Employees who work face-to-face with customers are more than twice as likely to experience gapjil than those who do not -- 74.1 percent versus 31.1 percent, according to the survey by Alba Cheonguk, a part-time job search website.

Women are also more likely to be subject to gapjil than men, at 70.9 percent versus 62.6 percent.

The poll also showed that the most hurtful form of such gapjil is customers failing to use “jondaenmal,” or polite speech, when addressing employees. In Korea, it is customary to use jondaenmal when meeting someone for the first time.

That was followed by general disrespect, cursing and expressions of anger -- 17.1 percent, 14.2 percent and 13.4 percent, respectively.

Of the part-time workers who were subjected to gapjil, 72.2 percent said such experiences make them contemplate quitting, while 32.4 percent said they actually quit. For those who did quit, their top priority when looking for their next job was whether it required them to face many customers -- with 33.6 percent of respondents saying so.

The survey also indicated that part-time workers in general are under a lot of stress, with 89.9 percent of them saying they are stressed out during work. The most stressful situation for 39.4 percent of them was dealing with unreasonable customers.