In 2019, Jumbo, a supermarket chain in the Netherlands, implemented a new system of slower checkouts. The purpose of this change is to provide customers with additional time not only for payment and packing, but also for engaging in conversation with the cashiers. The objective is to address the prevalent issue of loneliness, particularly among the elderly population. Currently, 200 out of the 700 “Jumbo” stores in the Netherlands have implemented these conversational checkouts.
Loneliness is a common issue experienced by elderly individuals globally. They often face challenges such as family members relocating, the loss or illness of friends, and the added difficulty of navigating unfamiliar technologies and procedures in their daily lives. In urban areas, this sense of isolation is intensified by the impersonal nature of interactions. Even a simple trip to the supermarket requires leaving the comfort of one’s home, only to be met with the pressure of swiftly completing the checkout process. A brief exchange of greetings is followed by a hurried task of packing groceries and making payment, creating a stressful situation.
Jumbo stores in the Netherlands have implemented “chatting Checkouts” to combat feelings of loneliness.
In 2019, the Dutch supermarket “Jumbo” experimented with a novel approach. In line with the Dutch government’s initiative to combat loneliness, they implemented slower checkout systems.
Based on a survey, it is reported that 10% of individuals in the Netherlands experience feelings of loneliness. Among the population of 1.3 million adults aged 75 and above, approximately 33% express experiencing loneliness.
The government’s initiative targeted senior citizens, urging them to engage in activities. Additionally, it encouraged the general population to pay attention to their own older family members and neighbors residing in their homes.
The supermarket chain has found its own solution to the issue. With over 700 stores across the country, they have implemented a “Kletskassa” or “chit-chat checkout” to alleviate payment stress and provide an opportunity for conversation. The initial installation of these cash registers took place in Vlijmen and received such positive feedback that the company has now introduced chattering tills in 200 stores nationwide. Furthermore, designated chatting corners have been established where customers can gather for coffee. Additionally, the supermarket chain’s staff members are trained to identify individuals who may not be feeling well and engage in conversation with them.
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