(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Why is everyone in such a rush? Are we really all that busy? I believe the pandemic exposed the truth about that. Over the past three years, we’ve discovered that a lot of people don’t do much of anything except dance on TikTok. Yet, for some reason, we still demand that everything be delivered to us instantly. Food, clothing, movies, music. NOW! What if daily life could slow down just a bit? What sort of impact might that have on us as humans?

In 2019, a supermarket chain in the Netherlands called Jumbo opened its first Kletskassa, or “chat checkout.” Basically, it’s a slow checkout lane, which to most Americans probably sounds like the stuff of nightmares. According to My Modern Met, the idea was to offer customers who aren’t in such a hurry a slower lane where conversation is actually encouraged. Real human interaction. Imagine that.

The whole idea stems from the Dutch government’s One Against Loneliness campaign. There are 1.3 million adults over the age of 75 in the Netherlands, and 33% of them say they feel at least moderately lonely, according to Statistics Netherlands. The hope was that by offering people a chance to slow down and exchange a few pleasant words with another person in the supermarket, some of that loneliness might fall away. And it seems to be working.

Jumbo received positive feedback about the Kletskassa, and so in September 2021 they pledged to install them nationwide. The retailer plans to open slow checkout lanes in at least 200 of its more than 700 locations, targeting areas particularly affected by loneliness.

What do you think? Would something like this work in America? I have no doubt that a lot of people, and not just the elderly, would appreciate a little more humanity in their day. Besides, there’s always a problem with the scanners at the self-checkout, am I right?

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