Shopping

Scottish supermarket tests ‘relaxed checkout lane’ for shoppers with dementia

Tesco employees Iris Beveridge and Kerry Speed are seen behind the relaxed checkout lane.

Tesco employees Iris Beveridge and Kerry Speed are seen behind the relaxed checkout lane.  (Tesco)

For certain shoppers in Scotland, grabbing groceries is about to get much easier.

A Tesco supermarket in Forres-- a town in the northern part of the country-- is testing the idea of “relaxed checkout lanes” to create a less stressful environment for customers with dementia, reports Today.

Described as the antithesis of an express lane, Tesco’s relaxed lane will allow shoppers the opportunity to slow down while ringing out, ask for help, and just avoid feeling rushed while running their errands.

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The idea was first pitched by Tesco employee Kerry Speed during a dementia awareness seminar at the store.

“It was highlighted to me that people living with dementia can feel under pressure when they reach the checkout and it struck me that this could be true for others as well,” Speed told The Sun shortly after the program’s launch in January.

In addition to those with dementia, the store hopes the slower checkout lane will be helpful for those with autism or social anxieties.

Wendy Menzies, the dementia advisor who hosted Speed’s seminar, told the BBC she's proud of the store's efforts.

"We welcome this new pilot scheme which will help people with dementia to feel confident in continuing to shop independently in their local community for longer," Menzies said.

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The Forres Tesco’s relaxed lanes currently operate on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, and they’re manned by cashiers who were trained by Autism Scotland to better understand the customers' needs.

“Feel free to take as long as you need to go through this checkout today,” reads a sign near the register, along with a message to “please be aware that you may experience a wait to complete your transaction.”

So far, Tesco's Forres location is the only store with a relaxed checkout lane, but Speed says the idea is already well-received.

“Early feedback from customers has been very positive,” Speed told The Sun. “Although it’s a simple gesture, we hope this will make a difference to our customers’ shopping experiences.”