I read something this weekend that almost made me cry. According to an article I saw on vice.com, a supermarket chain in the Netherlands is going to roll out over 200 'Chat Registers' in it's stores, intended to be used for customers that aren't in a hurry, and feel like talking to a pleasant human being for a couple of minutes.

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These 'Chat Registers' were first put into a Dutch supermarket called Jumbo back in 2019, according to vice.com, as part of an initiative by the Dutch Government to combat loneliness in the Netherlands.

There are times in life now where the only human interaction someone might have is with a store clerk or employee at a local business. I've had those moments where I was happy, sad, or frustrated with something, and there was no one around to listen. With automation, Amazon deliveries, and quarantines, it's tougher to find a kind ear to bend.

I had an initial reaction of sadness when Big Y in Naugatuck installed a big bank of self-checkout registers, same thing at the CVS on West Main in Waterbury. I prefer to have an employee ring me out, take my coupon, and bag my purchases. I would love to see Big Y put a few Chat Registers in.

My mom would disappear for hours at a time when she went grocery shopping at the Town Plot IGA in Waterbury. She'd infuriate the people in a hurry behind her in line at times, but she truly cared about the employees and felt part of their community. When I read about these special registers, I just imagined my mom saying "What a great idea!" I miss her so much.

I think that a "Hey, why are you buying so many Cheetos?", or a genuine smile from someone who is there to listen, instead of just ringing you up, is a great idea. It's a lonely planet for many, and a simple conversation does wonders.

I really hope that someone in Connecticut who has the ability to make a change like this reads what I've written, and thinks it's as good of an idea that I do.

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