A supermarket chain in the Netherlands has launched a new initiative within several of its stores, in order to try and combat loneliness amongst locals. The stop-off points at checkouts, known as ‘Kletskassa’s’, will allow customers to stay for longer and give them more time to enjoy socialising during their supermarket visits. Customers will be able to choose between these and a normal checkout. There is hope that with more sociable options being readily available, it will help to combat loneliness within the local community.
The idea originated more than two years ago when the first Kletskassa was opened in Vlijmen in Brabant, where it was extremely well received among customers, with swathes of positive reviews flooding in. This positive feedback from customers has helped to push for the expansion of the initiative, with over 200 more Kletskassa’s planned for launch throughout various stores over the next year.
Staff have also expressed their passion towards the heart-warming project, with Colette Cloosterman-van Eerd, CCO of Jumbo and who is also closely involved in the project, saying:
“Many people, especially the elderly, sometimes feel lonely. As a family business and supermarket chain, we are at the heart of society. 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 Kletskassa's. We are proud that many of our cashiers like to take a seat behind a Kletskassa. They support 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 getting faster and faster.”
The Netherlands based supermarket chain is also involved in a number of other initiatives to help combat loneliness, including their active presence and membership within the National Coalition against loneliness. This is an initiative known as the ‘One Against Loneliness Action Program’, where companies, organisations, government institutions and the National Coalition are joining forces to find solutions to tackle the problem.