Life in the Slow Lane

Life in the Slow Lane

Food & Drink

Life in the Slow Lane


The ten-items-or-less express checkout lane has become pretty universal in U.S. supermarkets, catering to people in a hurry who don’t want to get stuck in line behind someone whose cart is crammed to overflowing.

Now a grocery store in Finland has taken up the cause for those who are not necessarily in a hurry, but who have other special needs. K-citymarket has introduced the slow lane. We found out about it at the website

K-citymarket’s relaxed checkout lane targets the elderly, disabled, or anyone who desires a more leisurely shopping experience.

Inspiration for the new, slow checkout came from a survey of mentally disabled youths living in Espoo, according to a press release from K-citymarket parent company Kesko. The survey showed that many of those surveyed felt stress at supermarket checkouts, which led to the pilot test by Kesko in cooperation with Aalto University’s MIND research group.

At the slow-lane checkout, the checkout assistant assists customers “according to their needs,” Kesko explains, which can include putting goods on the conveyor belt for them, helping customers make payments, and packing. The process is undertaken at the customer’s pace, and allows time for conversation; an armchair is on hand for customers to relax in while they’re awaiting their turn.

At the conclusion of the pilot, Kesko will decide whether to expand the project further, according to the company.

Sounds to us like a very progressive customer-centric idea. But we wonder whether something like this would ever be attempted in the U.S. For now, we’ll watch and see how the test program goes over in Finland.

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