A branch of Sainsbury’s is trialling a “relaxed” check-out lane for people who want a less hectic shopping experience.
The Prestwick supermarket’s “relaxed lane” - lane 24 - is open from 10am to 6pm and also features a hearing loop and staff trained in working with dementia sufferers.
The hope is that the lane will make the shopping experience more pleasant and less stressful for the elderly and those who simply would like a bit more support and time paying for their shopping and packing their bags.
“Our aim is to be the most inclusive retailer and we want all of our customers to have a great shopping experience in our stores,” a spokesperson for Sainsbury’s told The Independent.
“There are many aspects of a visit to the supermarket which can be stressful for those with dementia, so by trialling a slow shopping option we hope we can make their lives easier.”
The trial is set to run for a month and the move has been widely praised on social media after a picture was tweeted by Michelle Miller, the national improvement lead for Focus on Dementia, which seeks to improve the lives of those suffering with dementia in Scotland.
It’s not the first time the retailer has run something similar though - in 2016, a branch of Sainsbury’s in Gosforth, Newcastle-upon-Tyne trialled a concept called “Slow Shopping”, which has now become permanent.
It runs on Tuesdays from 1-3pm and was designed to help vulnerable shoppers: people who want to use the service are greeted at the entrance to the store, where a Sainsbury’s colleague is on hand to assist customers with their shopping.
Chairs are also put out at the end of aisles to enable people who struggle to stand all the way round the shop to have a rest.
Schemes such as these offer a stark contrast to Lakeside Shopping Centre in Essex, which last November introduced a “fast lane” corridor for shoppers in such a hurry they didn’t want to be held up by dawdlers.
Sainsbury’s “relaxed lane” may also offer relief to Aldi shoppers - the budget supermarket is known for its particularly speedy check-outs and actually prides itself on its efficiency, claiming its tills are 40 per cent quicker than rivals.
But for dementia-sufferers, the elderly and other people who are in less of a rush, a relaxed checkout can be preferable to ultra efficiency.
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