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A Grocery Line Where Slower is Better

1.3 million people in the Netherlands are older than 75—and one large supermarket chain is making sure they’re not getting too lonely in their elder years.

The Dutch government with its campaign, “One Against Loneliness,” has galvanized towns, companies, and individuals to find solutions. The grocer giant, Jumbo, is doing their part with its innovative chatty check outs.

The idea for the “Kletskassa,” which translates to “chat checkout,” originated more than two years ago—and in the summer of 2019 the first chat checkout was opened. This resulted in many positive reactions from customers—and now Jumbo is expanding the initiative further. In 2022, there will be chat checkouts in 200 stores across the country where people can go for a conversation.

Colette Cloosterman-van Eerd, CCO of Jumbo, is closely involved in the initiative. She says,

Many people, especially the elderly, sometimes feel lonely. As a family business and supermarket chain, we are at the heart of society.

Our stores are an important meeting place for many people and we want to play a role in identifying and reducing loneliness. We are proud that many of our cashiers like to take a seat behind a “chat checkout.” They want to help people to make real contact out of genuine interest. It is a small gesture, but very valuable, especially in a world that is digitizing and getting faster and faster.

Hopefully the Dutch national movement towards supporting older people will catch on in many more countries around the world.

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