Should grocers open slow checkout lanes for seniors?
A university study from the U.K. recommends that grocers establish a slow checkout lane to improve the shopping experience for the elderly.
The suggestion would address a primary shopping gripe from my 90-year-old mother, who feels rushed after checking out in having to quickly put the keys containing her loyalty keyfob, credit card and change in her purse with some shopper lurking behind her.
The study from the University of Hertfordshire found “over 60s” largely desired slow checkout lanes in order to talk to grocery staff.
Indeed, Hertfordshire residents aged between 60 and 93 interviewed as part of the nine-month study stressed how much they valued the opportunity for social interaction that comes with shopping trips. No one interviewed shopped online for food, even though most households regularly accessed the internet.
The authors concluded that encouraging the elderly to shop online could have unintended consequences, potentially increasing social isolation and reducing opportunities for community interaction and exercise that shopping brings.
“Our research shows older people are more likely to have a wide range of factors working against them when it comes to sourcing, buying and preparing food,” said Wendy Wills, director of the Centre for Research in Primary and Community Care at University of Hertfordshire.
Other insights from the study:
- More seating and toilets would help older customers shop in comfort.
- Encouraging older people to shop at quieter times of the week — by introducing special offers for the over 60s during specific time periods — could make the supermarket a less stressful and more enjoyable environment.
- Too many deals tied to BOGO or minimum-purchaserequirements favor families. Older generations need deals for items they can carry home easily and help them minimize waste.
- Nutrition advice is biased towards preventing obesity. The elderly need more information around avoiding malnutrition and dehydration and ensuring food is safe to eat.
- Supplementing shopping trips with online purchases of heavier and bulkier items could support the benefits of social interaction while “prolonging their independence.”
- Food industry and government need to do more to protect older people’s food security, research finds. – University of Hertfordshire
- Supermarkets could get ‘slow lanes’ for elderly who like to talk with staff – The Telegraph
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What are the pros and cons of offering slow checkout lanes for the elderly? What do you think of the other recommendations from the University of Hertfordshire study? Can you add any other ways stores could better cater to the “over 60s”?