Retail

Why Tesco is adding a “slow lane” to its supermarkets

Emma Koehn /

Customers have praised Scotland’s Tesco supermarkets for developing a pilot program of “relaxed” checkout lanes to help shoppers with dementia.

The initiative is being tested in a supermarket in Moray, the BBC reports. The idea was developed in partnership with Alzheimer’s Scotland as a way of addressing the challenges vulnerable people face in modern supermarkets, where speed can be prioritised over service.

“Early feedback from customers has been very positive. Although it’s a simple gesture, we hope this will make a difference,” Tesco representative Kerry Speed told BBC News.

The idea has caught the public’s imagination this week, with several shoppers expressing gratitude for the recognition that traditional retail stores can be stressful and unpleasant for those with anxiety, disability or illness.

“This should be made mandatory in every supermarket,” said one shopper on Facebook.

“Wonderful to hear of a simple idea well executed,” said another.

The “slow lanes” are designed for those who want to take their time organising and paying for groceries without feeling rushed by other customers, with a trained Tesco staff member on deck at these lanes, ready to provide assistance.

This is not the only measure the supermarket is taking to make its stores more inclusive for all shoppers; this week the company also wrote about changing the wording on the signs for its disabled toilets to remind shoppers that not all disabilities are visible.

Australian shoppers have asked local supermarkets to think about similar measures today, pointing Coles towards the program and asking them to give it a go.

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Emma Koehn

Emma Koehn is a former senior journalist at SmartCompany.

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