Dutch supermarket introduces a unique "chat checkout" to help fight lonelinessBy Michiel De Gooijer
Oct. 4 2019, Updated 11:24 a.m. ET
FIGHTING LONELINESS BY TAKING THE TIME
In the Netherlands (and in many other countries) loneliness amongst elderly people is very common. According to research, about 50% of people 55 years and older, experience loneliness.
This inspired the Dutch local Jumbo Supermarket in Vlijmen to launch two great initiatives, namely an "All Together Coffee Corner" and a "Chat Checkout".
ROLE OF THE LOCAL SUPERMARKET
The 94-year-old Christien Smits and Dutch Minister Hugo de Jonge officially opened the All Together Coffee Corner Wednesday last. The goal is to create a meeting point where elderly people can meet locals and volunteers of the "Alles voor Mekaar" Foundation.
The Foundation, which is fully dependent on local volunteers, has been operational for one year and has been a huge success. They bring volunteers and lonely elderly together. The volunteers help out by doing shopping, lending a hand in the garden, etc.
The Jumbo in Vlijmen wanted to contribute positively and happily hosts the All Together Coffee Corner. But that is not where their contribution ends...
Introducing the Chat Checkout
As far as we know, this could very well be the world's first "Chat Checkout". People who would like to have a little chat, can take this special checkout where things may take a bit more time, as the cashier makes time for some chit chat.
Official opening of the Chat Checkout and the All Together Coffee Corner
The "All Together Coffee Corner" was officially opened Wednesday last. Alexander van Weert (initiator) has high expectations. “We will regularly visit the Coffee Corner to get into contact with those who are in need of some support. Just looking out for each other." Liesbeth Geveling is already a supporter and volunteer. Every week she visits the 94-year-old Christien Smits. “I go and have a drink with her or do some shopping, we've become real buddies."
TAKING A STAND AGAINST A TREND
The trend in the supermarket business is to introduce more and more technology with the aim to cut costs and push consumers towards self-service. By letting customers scan their shopping themselves and then pay at a self-service counter, we have less and less human interaction. So what the Jumbo Supermarket does is really taking a stand against this trend, and play a positive role in the fight against loneliness.
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