Need to know
- From almost 700 nominations, we selected six businesses that went above and beyond during the height of the COVID-19 crisis
- Small, local businesses gave back to their communities, and people say they'll remember their kindness
- Some big organisations made a big difference
It's been a little over a month since we put out the call for nominations for our Shiny Awards. As we said at the time, "The Shinys will celebrate those businesses whose authentic acts of kindness have helped Australians through the current crisis. It's something we all need more of right now."
We weren't disappointed in the response, receiving nearly 700 nominations from across the country. In reviewing the entries, we gained insights into what Australians think about the businesses who stepped up their support during this time.
What you think about businesses during COVID-19
Australians love their supermarkets
Almost 100 nominations were for supermarkets, with Coles, Woolworths, Aldi, IGA and other smaller grocers being commended for their response to the current situation. The main praise was for prioritised opening for vulnerable members of the community, and many of you expressed gratitude for the caring behaviour of individual staff at many stores.
Time and again we read about two types of small businesses going above and beyond.
It seems many local chemists organised for delivery of medications to community members whose health concerns made them wary of venturing out. More than once, the nominator mentioned that the pharmacy also happily included other essential goods with their deliveries at no extra cost.
Similarly, butchers were also praised for helping with supplies of meat and other essential goods for people who were forced to isolate at home, and many were praised for offering to include other items in their deliveries, all for no extra charge.
Doing it hard, but still time for kindness
One sector that COVID-19 undoubtedly hit hard is the hospitality industry. But despite the hardship, businesses in this industry responded by going above and beyond to support their communities. From providing free meals to people in need, to fundraising for the elderly and vulnerable, to simply finding ways to entertain during lockdown, many hospitality businesses were praised for their efforts.
Big, but caring
Although small local businesses received the bulk of nominations, some larger businesses were also applauded. Their behaviour set them apart from others due to the thoughtfulness and generosity of their response to the crisis.
And the winners are...
In choosing the winners we were looking for action that showed genuine care and concern for the community. It was also important that we were able to see that the actions taken went beyond what similar businesses who received nominations were doing.
Kindness will be rewarded
One of the overarching themes that came through in the nominations was your determination to reward the businesses that stood by your communities.
People told us many times over about their newfound commitment to supporting those who supported them.
- "A life support system in our time of need. We will not forget."
- "They will get my business in future, but in the meantime I truly am grateful for their generosity."
- "I will always buy from them now."
What next for Australian businesses?
While it was heartening to see the widespread kindness being celebrated with Shinys nominations, unfortunately there's still plenty of work to do to keep businesses accountable.
Sadly, along with the large number of entries for our Shiny awards, we've also heard about businesses that have failed to support their community during this period. Price gouging and panic marketing are two activities that have caused unnecessary distress.
While some have risen to the challenge with compassion, others have chosen to exploit people at their most vulnerable
"We've seen the best and worst of businesses during this crisis," says CHOICE campaigns director Erin Turner. "While some have risen to the challenge with compassion, others have chosen to exploit people at their most vulnerable. CHOICE will be keeping up the pressure on business and government to do better by consumers in good times and bad."
That's why in 2020 we'll be once again running our Shonky awards to call out those businesses that deserve to be named and shamed for taking advantage of Australian consumers. Nominations will open soon, but in the meantime, if you've spotted some poor behaviour you can let us know by posting in our CHOICE Community.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.