Despite the fact that we started the self-scan en masse because it couldn’t be done fast enough, some people miss chatting at the cash register. At the same time, the unit starts. Jumbo 200 wants a new “chat counter” during the year where things don’t have to go too fast and the cashier (the star) has time to chat.
Jumbo wants to open 200 modern cash registers in the Netherlands within a year. Jumbo spokeswoman Pauline Streeter was not yet able to provide any details on Belgium. In the summer of 2019, . was released The first chat box has been opened in Flegemin in the Dutch province of North Brabant. According to the company, there have been many positive feedback from customers. It is time to expand the initiative, including in Belgium.
Colette Klostermann-van Erd, Head of Jumbo Division and the driving force behind the Dutch National Alliance Against Loneliness, is closely involved in the initiative: “Many people, especially the elderly, sometimes feel lonely. As a family business and supermarket chain, we are at the heart of the community. Our stores are an important meeting place for many people and we want to play a role in defining and reducing loneliness. We do this in a number of ways, including with our Chat Counters.
Personal experience or fruitless conversation?
KU Leuven Associate Professor Marlies Maes is moderately positive. “I don’t think small talk is enough to mask loneliness,” she says. Rogier de Lange, a philosopher of economics at the University of Ghent, puts it more clearly. If such a conversation is sterile and impersonal, he believes that self-examination is not a bad alternative.
To get a truly personal experience, according to De Langhe, you have to go into retail. Local Bakers and Butchers, “Those who know you, know your children, and tell you gossip.” But he points out that it is precisely these who have been neglected by supermarkets in recent years.
Brochure and chat corner
Jumbo himself realizes that this concept is not a panacea. “It’s a small gesture, but it is very valuable, especially in a the world that digitizes And it gets faster and faster,” according to Klostermann van Erd.
In order to “signal a sense of unity among clients and set up local initiatives,” the company put together a brochure, she says. “The different stores also have a conversation corner where customers can have a cup of delicious coffee and chat with the neighbours.”
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