Chat checkout in the Netherlands successful as an anti-stress checkout in Spain?

by Lorraine Williamson

MADRID – Stress is bad for youDespite this factpeople continue to run hard. Spain is inspired by a concept that has been introduced in Dutch supermarkets; the ‘slow checkout‘. Cultural difference and profit seem to be determining factors for success in Spain.

Striving to keep all the balls high, to fill every free moment with ‘useful’ things, and to get the most out of life, brings a lot of stress. Grocery shopping is also one of those things people prefer to cross off their to-do list as quickly as possible. 

Concepts for quick shopping 

To make this happen, supermarket chains in various countries are already developing concepts such as the scan & go or ordering groceries online and then collecting them at a pick-up point. However, it shouldn’t be news that stress is bad for you. Therefore, specialists are constantly repeating the drawbacks of prolonged exposure to stress. 

The Netherlands consciously creates queues at the checkout 

A concept that has recently reached Spain is the introduction of the ‘Chat pay desk’ in the Netherlands; cash registers where queues are deliberately created to give shoppers the opportunity to have a quiet chat with the cashier. Last September, Jumbo opened chat pay desks in more than 200 branches in the Netherlands. These are mainly intended for people who feel lonely and like to have a chat. 

Spain finds the same concept interesting but with a different goal 

Spain also finds this concept interesting. However, it approaches it in a different way. The Netherlands is introducing slow checkout for lonely people. Meanwhile, Spanish chains would rather approach this concept as a checkout where people can unload and escape the hustle and bustle of a stressful and busy life. 

The Spanish news site writes that experts think this model is a good idea for Spain, as the Spaniards not only have busy lives but also because they are also known to talk a lot and like to be social. 

Preventing annoyances in Spanish supermarkets 

In Spain, there are many customers who are loyal to their supermarket and like to queue longer because they know a cashier. When this happens, there is another group of people who immediately start to sigh when someone “sticks” a little too long at the checkout, and the mandatory shopping takes just a little longer than planned. 

How successful can this concept be in Spain? 

However, before this idea can be put into practice in Spain, experts and directors of chains first have a calculation made of how profitable the introduction of this model is. While it will most likely have a positive effect on people’s mental health, in the end, it’s all about money. 

The questions that are asked are, for example, whether the introduction of such a concept has a positive effect on people’s spending patterns. The fact is that if a cashier takes more time for customers, the employee can help fewer people per hour, which would have a negative effect on the income of a supermarket. 

Time will tell whether the busy Spaniards will also be able to queue for a chat or anti-stress checkout. 

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