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 SmartCompany's senior journalist.

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  • 7thDoctor

    “So there was this one time, I caught the ferry over to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for my shoe, so I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on ’em. Give me five bees for a quarter, you’d say. Now where was I? Oh, yeah — the important thing was that I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. You couldn’t get white onions because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones….”

    Conversation overheard in the “slow lane”