Woolworths says there has been a 131 per cent rise in physical assaults against its staff in the last six months, compared to the same time last year.
The supermarket chain, formerly known as Countdown, is launching a campaign calling for respect in the lead up to the holiday period.
It's also spending tens of millions of dollars on safety measures such as walkie-talkies, fog cannons and body cameras.
Head of health, safety and wellbeing Denva Wren says in the last week alone staff have been spat at, called names and shoved. She's telling customers to stop it.
"Actually [customers] considering their body language, their tone and how they approach a situation - whether that's a gap on a shelf, product quality or a genuine query. Just actually thinking and considering how you might do that when you follow up with one of our team."
As for the additional safety initiatives, Denva says she's sad things have got so bad that $45 million has to be spent to ensure stores are safer for staff and customers.
She says the initiatives also include double entry gates at storefronts, new cameras at checkouts and trolley-locking systems.
Fog cannons will be trialled in some stores.
"Fog cannons are being implemented in stores that have had multiple break-and-enters. We're obviously seeing break-and-enters feature in the media over an extended period of time, probably since the beginning of the year."
Woolworths stores will give out one gift card a day this week to a customer who shows kindness.