A kind supermarket chain has put in “Chat Checkouts,” which are slower checkout lines where people can take their time and talk to the person at the register.

As part of a project called “One Against Loneliness,” one of the largest supermarket chains in the Netherlands, Jumbo, put in place chat checkouts.

Colette Cloosterman-van Eerd, CCO of Jumbo stores, said that a lot of people, especially older people, sometimes feel alone. “As a family-owned business and a chain of grocery stores, we are at the center of society. Our stores are important places for many people to meet, and we want to help find and get rid of lonely people.

“We do this in different ways, such as with [chat checkouts. We’re happy that a lot of our cashiers like to sit down at a [chat checkout]. They agree with the idea and want to help people get in touch with them because they are interested.

It’s a small thing to do, but it means a lot in a world where everything is becoming digital and getting faster and faster.”
More than 1.3 million people in the Netherlands are over 75 years old, and studies have shown that loneliness is on the rise, especially among older people. More than 33% of people over 75 say they feel a little bit lonely. Many seniors spend most of their time with other people in the few minutes they spend with grocery store workers. We can’t say enough about how important it is to have a safe, friendly place where our beloved older people can talk to each other regularly.

Customers and good-hearted people from all over the world have praised Jumbo’s chat checkouts, and because of their success, Jumbo plans to put them in 200 more stores over the next year.

“At Jumbo, we want to be more than just a place where you can shop. For example, we give our stores a guide to help them spot customers who are lonely and set up local programs… Colette said, “Several stores also have a chat corner where people can get a nice cup of coffee and talk to their neighbors.”

“The [chat checkout] is a checkout for people who don’t need to be in a hurry and want to talk… People, especially older people, often feel alone. It’s a small thing to do, but it means a lot…”