Life has never been both as crowded and as lonely as it is right now.  Medical experts call loneliness the epidemic of our time.  They also say loneliness is as detrimental to our well-being as smoking.

A Netherlands-based supermarket chain called Jumbo decided to combat loneliness from a common front: the grocery store checkout.  In over 700 stores they introduced a Kletskassa, which translates to a “chat checkout,” a lane dedicated to customers who are not in a rush and who could use a little talk with the cashier.

These “slow lanes” were launched in the summer of 2019 as part of a wider initiative called One Against Loneliness, launched by the Dutch government.

Response has been so positive that many stores now also have a “chat corner,” where local residents can gather for coffee and a little conversation.

The best part of the Kletskassa is that it’s not exclusively for seniors.  Anyone whose day could improve by taking it slow and having a little chat is welcome.

Going slower allows us to be human with one another, to see and be seen.  Thank you, Jumbo, for reminding us how to be human.

Would I use the Kletskassa lane?  Would you?  Truth be told, I most often use the automated check-out lane, trying to get in and out of the grocery store as quickly as possible!  For those of us drawn to the fast lane, how might we be a slow lane for someone today?

Because I have a hunch that if Jesus were shopping at Jumbo, he would use the Kletskassa lane.  That sounds like something Jesus would do.


Are you drawn to the fast lane or the slow lane?


-Written by Rev. Ann Palmerton

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  1. Jodi Jarrett January 18, 2023 at 6:35 pm - Reply

    If we had a chat lane, I would use it, sometimes I’m chatty sometimes not.
    I remember when I worked at a grocery store that some people just needed a chat.

  2. Pam Schirner January 18, 2023 at 8:04 pm - Reply

    I would use the Kletskassa lane. It’s nice to chat a bit with the clerk. Being retired and in the winter, I can often go an entire day without speaking to another person.

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