This little gem of a story is guaranteed to turn the edges of your mouth into a smile.
A new supermarket initiative is introducing ‘chat checkouts’ in a bid to combat loneliness, where elderly shoppers are invited to natter while they shop.
Yet thanks to the trailblazing Dutch government, they have proudly launched their ‘One Against Loneliness’ campaign, to encourage people to find solutions to stay connected.
The bright sparks over at Jumbo, a supermarket chain in the Netherlands and Belgium, came up with their idea for ‘Kletskassa’, which translates to ‘chat checkouts’.
They will be rolling out the chat checkouts across 200 stores on a mission to support pensioners.
Speaking about the project, Chief Commerical Office of Jumbo, Colette Cloosterman-van Eerd, said that as a family business they place people at the heart of everything they do.
Colette said: “Our stores 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 our cashiers like to take a seat behind a Kletskassa and help people to make real contact with them out of genuine interest.”
She continued: “It is a small gesture, but very valuable, especially in a world that is digitising and getting faster and faster.”
By 2030, the World Health Organisation [WHO] predict that one in six people globally will be aged 60 years or over. While that might sound aspirational, it is vital to reduce health inequalities too.
The WHO say this can be done in four areas: changing how we think, feel and act towards age and ageism; developing communities in ways that help older people; delivering care and health services to older people; and providing older people with access to quality long-term care.
It seems like Jumbo are well and truly ahead of the game.
Colette concluded: “We want to be more than just a place where you do your shopping.
“Several stores also have a ‘chat corner’ where customers can grab a nice cup of coffee and chat with neighbours.”
Let’s hope other countries follow their lead.