(Nantes) Every morning at 9 a.m., Gisele, 72, “cheats loneliness” at a hypermarket checkout in the Nantes Convention, west of France. She always chooses “blah blah checkout” which is intended for customers who do not speak or bother.
Posted at 7:00 p.m.
In front of the counter, a blue sign marked “We are taking our time here” invites talking customers. And warns impatiently.
“I’m talking about the rain, the good weather, my grandchildren coming on vacation,” said the retired man, who wore an elegant navy blue jacket.
Outside of school vacation periods, Giselle’s daily excursion to the HyperU Store is the only opportunity to “see people” during the day. So she “changes herself beautifully” before she goes there.
“I have a bridge club, but with COVID-19 I don’t want to go there anymore,” she said.
Behind her checkout counter, Rosen Charpentier, 52, scans products in the chain while chatting with a customer in her sixties, angry that she “did not park so much” for “taking PV yet”.
Look at the 60-year-old activist who won “150 Bullets at the Millionaire”, the Scratch game and two young men playing ball guns in the parks. “Be careful anyway,” the hostess slips over to them.
“At the‘ blah blah box ’I let myself engage in conversation. Usually traveling customers like it, ”says Rosen Charpentier, a bright pink uniform jacket.
Like her, the hostesses of “Bla Bla Box” are all volunteers and take turns to pursue it throughout the day.
In contrast to the six automatic checkouts, “Slow Checkout” was opened just two years ago to “re-establish the nearest link” with all customers, explained Regis Defontaine, HyperU’s Communications and Animation Manager.
“Exchange between customers and merchants? We found nothing. But today a social bond is lost and some regret it. It’s not Amazon here, ”said the young man with a smile.
In fact, he admits, this fund is especially popular among seniors who are more lonely and less vulnerable.
The same system exists in other brands such as Auchan and Carrefour, of which 150 hypermarkets now have “blah blah blah checkouts”. The system was normalized in January.
“It responds to the expectations of some customers who like to spend their time and discuss,” said Pierre-Emmanuel Vassier, director of Carrefour in the Angers area, 90 kilometers east of Nantes, who said he would not target specific audiences.
His new fund was launched just a week ago. In the queue, some customers are surprised.
“What to say? Asked, in his sixties, a well-groomed white hair and an ironed shirt. “Is there a time limit? », Launches an enthusiastic client.
“You’re so charming you have to chat,” a man slipped into the young cashier.
Behind him, a customer hesitates in front of a sign indicating “blah blah blah checkout”. “I’m not a smooth talker,” he murmured before pushing his cart to another counter.
Here, too, the new fund is well-liked by seniors.
Mary-Luke Lefuevre-Justie, 82, “gossip in stores”, courtesy and “to divert his attention”. “But people are always in a hurry to complain. Here, we are not bothering anyone.”