Awesome: Grocery Store Opens a ‘Chat Register’ for Lonely Elderly Customers

A popular supermarket chain from The Netherlands claims they’ll introduce 200 chat registers throughout their stores and they will be intended for customers who’re not in a rush and are looking for a chat during checkout.

The initiative announced by the Jumbo chain is said to be part of their effort to reduce loneliness, particularly in the elderly residents.

In fact, according to data provided by Statistics Netherlands, an organization funded by the government, 26 percent of Dutch people who’re older than 15 said they feel at least moderately lonely.

This percentage increases to 33 percent among people over the age of 75.

Kletskassa’s Launch Actually Happened in 2019

The first so-called chat register or kletskassa in Dutch was launched in 2019 and got a lot of positive feedback from their customers.

This move came as part of the government-sponsored program named One Against Loneliness.  This program, among other things, released a 24/7 hotline.

The chat checkout is for customers who’re not in a rush and are looking for a chat, according to a representative of the chain.

A lot of people, especially older ones, often feel lonely. Although it’s a small gesture, it’s a worthy one, particularly in a world that’s becoming faster and more digital.

Jumbo Explain that They’ll Carefully Consider Areas where Loneliness Is a Big Problem

According to the chain’s representatives, they will make a good estimation of the areas where loneliness is a big problem when opening their 200 chat registers in branches in The Netherlands, but also in Belgium.

And, there’s more to it than just registers to chat-they’ll also launch cozy chat corners. Here, the customers can enjoy a cup of coffee and a chat.

They will donate ingredients to the Oma’s Soep initiative which brings the elderly together with students from the university to make soup.

Bigger supermarkets in the Netherlands like Jumbo have improved their digitalization over the years and this ongoing improvement includes self-checkout counters and facial recognition cameras.

The Netherlands & Belgium Care for their Elderly

Interestingly, this isn’t the first effort in the fight against loneliness in the Netherlands and Belgium. In fact, one Dutch nursing home offered the students rent-free housing if they spend 30 hours per week being good neighbors to the elderly residents.

What’s more, in the lockdowns because of the pandemic in 2020, The Netherlands advised its citizens to arrange a “sex buddy” whereas Belgium allowed its citizens to have a “cuddle buddy”.