Jumbo, a Dutch supermarket chain, has come up with a simple and creative solution to combat the widespread issue of loneliness by opening tills where clients can stop and chat instead of being rushed to pay and gather their shopping.
The very first “Kletskassa,” which translates to “chat checkout,” opened in 2019 in Vlijmen in Brabant. It was part of a health ministry program designed to encourage companies, organizations, and local councils to pick up on the signs of loneliness among the elderly early, and collaborate to come up with innovative solutions to address it.
The chat checkout was so successful that the group decided to plan 200 more to be put into operation in a year’s time, each one placed carefully in areas where loneliness is a significant issue.
“Many people, the elderly in particular, can feel lonely. As a family business and supermarket chain, we have a central role in society. Our shops are a meeting place and that means we can do something to combat loneliness. The Kletskassa is just one of the things we can do,” says Jumbo CCO Colette Cloosterman-Van Eerd.
The Netherlands is home to around 1.3 million people over the age of 75, half of whom report feeling lonely regularly.
“We are proud our staff wants to work the chat checkout,” Cloosterman-Van Eerd declares. “They really want to help people and make contact with them. It’s a small gesture but it’s a valuable one, particularly in a world that is becoming more digital and faster.”
To supplement the chat checkout, several Jumbo supermarkets are also introducing a “chat corner,” that offers locals a space to sip on coffee while catching up with each other.