The hastiness of modern society is no more prevalent than at the tills of certain supermarkets (no names mentioned), but one chain in the Netherlands decided to buck the trend by slowing things down.
The idea is to offer customers a slower lane where chat is encouraged for those people who aren't in such a hurry. In particular, it was hoped that it could help to combat loneliness, because quite frankly some people would rather take their time and have a chinwag than have their veg launched at them at a 100mph.
After a trial at one Jumbo supermarket received positive feedback about their Kletskassa (chat checkout), they pledged to spread them nationwide, with an aim of opening 200, targeting areas where there was a prevalence of elderly shoppers.
Colette Cloosterman-van Eerd, chief commercial officer of Jumbo, said: "Many people, especially the elderly, sometimes feel lonely. As a family business and supermarket chain, we are at the heart of society. Our shops are an important meeting place for many people and we want to play a role in identifying and reducing loneliness. We do this in various ways, including our Kletskassas. We are proud that many of our cashiers would like to take a seat behind a Kletskassa."
"They have a warm heart for the initiative and want to help people to make real contact with them out of genuine interest. It is a small gesture, but very valuable, especially in a world that is digitizing and accelerating."
Wouldn't it be lovely if all supermarkets everywhere introduced chat checkouts?