The Dutch supermarket chain Jumbo has introduced slower checkouts. The idea is to give customers more time not only to pay and pack, but also to talk to the cashiers. The aim is to counteract rampant loneliness, especially in old age. In the meantime, 200 of the 700 “Jumbo” stores in the Netherlands have such chatting checkouts.
One problem faced by older people worldwide is loneliness. Family members have moved away, friends have died or fallen ill. In addition, hectic schedules and unfamiliar techniques and processes make everyday life more difficult. In urban areas, this is compounded by anonymity. Going to the supermarket means getting out of one’s own four walls. At the same time, everything has to happen quickly at the checkout. A quick greeting, then you have to quickly throw all the groceries into the shopping bag and pay – that’s stress.
Jumbo stores have “chatting Checkouts to fight loneliness in the Netherlands
In 2019, the Dutch grocery chain “Jumbo” tried something new. As part of a campaign against loneliness by the Dutch government, they installed slower checkouts.
According to a survey, one in ten people in the Netherlands feel lonely. Of the 1.3 million adults over 75, as many as one in three say so.
The government’s campaign addressed older people on the one hand, encouraging them to get out and do something. On the other hand, it appealed to everyone in the population to take a look at their own elderly relatives and neighbors in the house.
The supermarket chain has addressed the issue in its own way. The chain has over 700 stores in the country and has set up a “Kletskassa,” or “chit-chat checkout,” to take the stress out of paying and give people a chance to talk. The first of these cash registers were installed in the town of Vlijmen. The idea was so well received that the company introduced chattering tills in 200 stores nationwide. In addition, chatting corners have been set up where customers can meet for coffee. The supermarket chain’s employees are also trained to recognize when someone is not feeling well – and to talk to them.