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Supermarket chain store opens slower ‘chat checkouts’ to combat loneliness among the elderly

Many elderly individuals struggle to keep up in our fast-paced, digitalized environment. As a result, they are frequently left out or prefer to remain on the sidelines as mere observers.

Loneliness is a major concern for seniors all over the world, as the majority of them live alone or in retirement communities.

One thing they look forward to is food shopping, which they can’t do at busy times for fear of clogging the lines at the checkout registers.

Image: via Jumbo

Most senior citizens want a less stressful and more pleasurable shopping experience. They want to shop as comfortably as possible while still taking advantage of social connection with other consumers and store workers. Activities like these provide children with a temporary sensation of freedom.

This is why Jumbo, a large Dutch grocery chain with over 700 locations, brought the Kletskassa idea to its stores.

The word translates to ‘chat checkout,’ which is a dedicated lane for elderly or senior clients where they may check out their products without feeling rushed and even have a leisurely and regular discussion with the cashier.

Image: via Jumbo

Slow lanes were established at Jumbo supermarkets in the summer of 2019 to promote the Dutch government’s One Against Loneliness project.

The first Kletskassa opened in Vlijmen, a town in the province of North Brabant.

In the Netherlands, there are 1.3 million persons over the age of 75. Furthermore, according to Statistics Netherlands, 33% of people report feeling at least moderately lonely.

Aside from the Kletskassa, Jumbo features a discussion zone where residents, not only seniors, may sit and talk over a cup of coffee.

According to Colette Cloosterman-Van Eerd, CCO of Jumbo, their company is a family business and supermarket that plays an important role in society.

Image: via Jumbo

Jumbo supermarkets are more than just a place to acquire groceries; they are also fantastic locations to meet, which means they may help battle loneliness.

The Kletskassa is simply one of many things they may do to aid those who are lonely. Much of the praise goes to Jumbo’s kind employees who man the chat checkout stations.

They’re the ones that approach older clients, start up a discussion with them, assist them with their requirements, and ensure they leave the store satisfied.

Although it may appear to be an unusual addition to a supermarket, the slow lane is not a novel concept. Maiya Takizawa, a regional grocery chain in Takizawa, Japan, similarly adopted a relaxed checkout line for its senior population in 2019.

Toshiaki Konno, a local private practice physician, came up with the idea and pitched it to Maiya Takizawa’s chief of operations.

Every Thursday afternoon for one to two hours, the slow lane is available, and more than ten volunteers serve as shopping assistants to customers who want assistance with groceries or shopping duties.

By 2021, 29.5% of Japan’s population would be 65 or older. There are around 12.06 million persons aged 80 and over.

The Kletskassa received such a great response from the public that Jumbo wants to install 200 more of these slow lanes in their stores around the country.

Image: via Jumbo

Localities with a high level of loneliness will be carefully considered when picking Jumbo outlets.

The Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Sport has assisted 355 municipalities across the country through hotlines, home visits, and activity directories for the elderly.

As more individuals approach their golden years, the need for these chat checkouts will only grow. Not everyone is fortunate to have a family that will be there for them and take care of their basic requirements.

Hopefully, additional countries with an elderly population will join this movement to help elders feel less alone, isolated, or lonely.

Like these English discussion benches or this nightclub for the elderly. Often, a brief yet beautiful interaction with someone who cares is all they require.

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