Do you remember when supermarkets added the “10 items or less” lane? These lanes were an attempt to allow those of us who are light shoppers the peace of mind of knowing that a planned short trip to the store would actually turnout to be a short trip. If you are a grocery store regular, do you remember the first time you got behind a customer who went over the 10-item limit? How close did you come to saying something? And how many days did it take you to stop thinking about the lost time that selfish shopper cost you? Most of us follow the rules and keep it to ten or less. Stores caught on to this and realized they were losing money as customers would put items back, as not to exceed the limit. To remedy this, stores now have signs that display the words “About 10 Items.” https://www.wbaltv.com/article/grocery-stores-relax-the-rules-for-express-checkout-lanes/3851200 Stores soon discovered that one person’s definition of “about” varies from person to person, causing this loophole in cultural courtesy to wreak even more havoc. To compromise further, store owners added another option, the self-checkout. Here customers have total control of their shopping experience as they scan and bag their own supplies in their own time and own way, that is until the scanner stops working for the person in front of you who selected an item with no barcode or has a dispute over a sale item that would only cut .50 cents off the price, RUDE!
Even with all these attempts to satisfy the pickiest of customers, nothing upsets these control freak’s more than getting caught behind a “talker” at the checkout counter. When all you need is a half-gallon of milk and a carton of eggs, no one wants to hear how great aunt Lou is doing in Phoenix or how Rusty’s stint in the Navy is going. (Although we are thankful for his service).
What we fail to realize is that in most of these cases this is the only human interaction that many of these “talkers” receive. Thankfully there is supermarket chain in the Netherlands that has opened hundreds of "chat checkouts" in an effort to combat loneliness. The first ‘Kletskassa’, or chat checkout, as it has been dubbed, was opened in 2019 in Vlijmen in Brabant. Its success prompted the group to open another 200 across their Jumbo branded stores. “Many people, the elderly in particular, can feel lonely. As a family business and supermarket chain we have a central role in society. Our shops are a meeting place and that means we can do something to combat loneliness. The Kletskassa is just one of the things we can do,” Jumbo CCO Colette Cloosterman-Van Eerd said. The Netherlands has some 1.3 million people over the age of 75, over half of whom have said they regularly feel lonely. https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2021/09/jumbo-opens-chat-checkouts-to-combat-loneliness-among-the-elderly/
If the Netherlands has over a half million people who say they feel lonely, how many do we have in America? Stories like these make me feel horrible, not because of what they are doing, but because of what I know I have done. We all get caught up in our own busy world but imagine the difference you might make by investing 2 extra minutes to listen to someone in need. You might not realize the lasting impact your patience might have at the time, but God does.
And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Matthew 25:40
Serving the Savior,
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