Have you ever been in line at the store and rolled your eyes at the person chatting away with the clerk instead of getting their things together and leaving in a timely manner? That’s most of us. But for some people, that trip to the store may be one of the primary sources of socialization. That’s why the Dutch have invented “chat checkouts” (or Kletskassas). They’re primarily geared towards elderly people who want to take their time and chat people up at the store.
What are chat checkouts?
Chat checkouts are a type of Kletskassa, or social gathering, for older people. Community centers, cafes, or other public spaces often play host to these events. They provide seniors with an opportunity to socialize, make new friends, and engage in various activities such as playing games, singing, and chatting.
The goal of Kletskassa is to help combat feelings of loneliness and isolation among older people and provide them with a supportive community. So it makes sense to open up this opportunity in a place where everyone needs to go – the grocery store.
Jumbo’s nod to elderly shoppers
Dutch supermarket chain Jumbo announced the program in 2021. It said it plans to introduce 200 “chat registers” in its stores. These are for customers who aren’t in a hurry and want to have a chat during checkout, according to VICE (cited below).
“The initiative, announced by the popular supermarket chain Jumbo on Monday, is meant to combat loneliness—especially in the country’s elderly population. According to Statistics Netherlands, a government organization, 26 percent of Dutch people older than 15 feel at least moderately lonely. That proportion rises to 33 percent among those over 75.”
Customers were delighted by a pilot program Jumbo did of the chat checkout in 2019. The Dutch government will help sponsor it as part of their “One Against Loneliness” program.
“The Kletskassa is a checkout especially for people who are not in a hurry and feel like having a chat,” a Jumbo representative wrote in an email to Motherboard. “Many people, especially the elderly, sometimes feel lonely. It’s a small gesture, but a very valuable one, especially in a world that is digitizing and getting faster and faster.” — WTF fun facts
Source: “Grocery Store Opens ‘Chat Registers’ for Lonely Customers” — VICE