Workers at Tauranga alcohol stores say a recent spate of armed robberies have left them worried for their safety.
Super Liquor Cameron Rd manager Sue Edmunds said things had "definitely gotten worse". "It's scary, and there's nothing you can do about it. You just have to live with it."
Ms Edmunds said she was not alone in her concerns.
"We've all got our concerns ... We all know what we are doing in case it happens, but that's all we can do. We need to look after ourselves. The security of our property is up to us, but what are we meant to do?
"As far as I'm concerned there is no solution to this problem. We haven't got enough police as it is, but they can't drive around looking after every retail store."
Super Liquor Te Puke duty manager Andrea, who did not want her last name used, said the recent robberies were a major concern.
"God yes. We've had robberies, not armed, but yes - it's a sign of the times, unfortunately."
Andrea said the store got a lot of local trade, so staff became wary of strangers in town.
"We make sure we are very vigilant if there is someone who looks suspicious. With our staff, we look after each other."
Shona Delaney who works at a suburban liquor outlet, which could not be named, said she has been in the industry for three years.
"As much as you do your training ... I feel concerned. We are closing late at night. You don't know what drugs they're on."
Ms Delaney said thieves and robbers had become blatant and brazen in their offending.
"They just don't care because they know there's nothing you can do about it."
Ms Delaney said she would like to see alcohol stores staffed by at least one male and one female at all times.
Aggravated robberies were of such a concern for Ms Delaney that she had an arrangement with a friend who she texted every time she was closing up and then again when she eventually gothome as a precaution.
Liquor store workers, who did not want to be named, said they were also concerned they did not have any options available to them. Some admitted to storing baseball bats under their counters in case they were targeted.
Other retailers such as Choice Good and Spices manager Michael Sami said it was better to give robbers what they wanted rather than lose their life.
However, Cafe 359 owner Tony Bagley said he was prepared to stand up for himself.
"If they were armed with a firearm, it might be different, but otherwise I would not give in easily to the robber's demands."
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