What’s your hurry?

Pastoral Messages | January 12, 2023

There’s likely no place where people are in more of a hurry to get out than at the grocery store. Most of us, I’d guess, arrive at the store with list in hand (or at least some idea of what needs to be purchased). We grab a cart—or possibly tempt fate by seeing if we can carry everything with just our two hands. We calculate the shortest distance between the salad dressing aisle and the frozen pizza. And then carefully select whichever appears to be the shortest check-out line that will guarantee a timely exit.

If all of that sounds somewhat familiar, I might suggest to you a new approach to shopping offered by the Dutch grocery store chain Jumbo. A few years ago, they introduced the checkout option labeled “Kletkassa” which roughly translates to “chat checkout.”

A driving force behind the idea was to combat loneliness, especially among the elderly, widowed, or people who otherwise might feel somewhat isolated. For those who would enjoy some human interaction, however brief, they can choose the chat checkout lane with employees specifically trained to strike up a conversation and engage customers. There’s no rush here, as one item after another goes past the scanner. For some, it might be one of the few meaningful conversations they get to have that day.

These special checkout lines have seen such a success that they’ve now been introduced in more than 200 of their stores throughout the country. In addition, “chat corners” have also been installed in a number of locations—where customers can grab a cup of coffee and enjoy conversation with a new acquaintance.

I’m not suggesting that all of us will suddenly slow down our pace the next time we find ourselves at the grocery store. But I do think the Dutch might be on to something here. How much meaningful interaction or enjoyable conversation do we miss out on simply because we’re in such a hurry? Not just at the store but in all sorts of settings.

Just look at the way Jesus went about things in his daily life. To my recollection, of all the instances when someone approaches him with an inquiry, or asks for a few moments of his time, or wonders aloud if he might be willing to sit down and chat, never does Jesus say that he’s too busy.

Instead, over and over again, Jesus pauses right in the middle of whatever he’s doing or wherever he’s headed. He looks the other person in the eye (I’m imagining…) and listens intently.

I can’t quite imagine that there will ever be a “chat checkout” line added to any of our American stores any time soon. But we could still find our own ways to slow down and notice those around us. Who knows what enjoyable conversations might await us.

-Katy Warren, associate pastor

8 Comments on “What’s your hurry?”

  • Vida Luth

    January 14, 2023 at 3:34 pm

    I don’t mind going to the grocery store. I have made it a point to talk to and get to know the people who work in the different departments. Asking them questions about the products they work with always brings a friendly conversation. John , in produce, offers me samples of some weird fruits, Marsha, in the meat department, has shared stories about her husband and their farming operation. Another young man, named John, shared that eventually he wants to manage a store. I know the manager, but he doesn’t know me. I just observe how he goes about the store helping his employees, talking to customers and straightening up the shelves when they need it…..All of these people, and there are others , work hard to help customers each day. They have enriched my life at the grocery, and I appreciate each of them.
    Maybe I’m spending too much time at the grocery store!!

  • Michele Pittington

    January 13, 2023 at 10:46 am

    This is perfect! I love to interact with others. I learn something new every time I am at the grocery store and any store, for that matter. Thanks Pastor Katy!

  • Vicki Felger

    January 13, 2023 at 8:47 am

    Love this concept….I see many shoppers who appear startled when I say hi, have a great day. Human kindness and warmth are sometimes at a premium (kinda like the price of eggs!) and any little bit we give is almost always received in a positive way!

  • Audrey Keeney

    January 12, 2023 at 3:32 pm

    This is truly something to think about and do more of each day. At the end of the day this is what I remember when I think back over the happening of the day – who and how did I have a conversation with during the day.

  • Sarah Thomas

    January 12, 2023 at 2:51 pm

    The opposite of a struggle with the self checkout lane. Positive interactions! Good idea..

  • Jerry Linn

    January 12, 2023 at 2:15 pm


    Excellent message.


  • KD Kalber

    January 12, 2023 at 2:15 pm

    Well said Pastor Katy! Just by saying hello and thank you to the first line clerks working every day means so much to these folks. It’s better to give than receive.

  • Anne Budde

    January 12, 2023 at 2:04 pm

    Love, love, love – combat loneliness. Let’s all work on that.

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