At the Tesco store in Forres in the Scottish Highlands, you will notice a large sign positioned at the entrance to one of the checkout lanes. It reads, 'Feel free to take as long as you need to go through this checkout today'. Best known as the relaxed lane or slow lane, Tesco has created this checkout lane to assist its vulnerable customers.
The checkout allows customers to take the time they need to complete their purchases without feeling rushed or under pressure. The stress-free lane accommodates customers of all ages including those who suffer from dementia, social anxiety issues or are on the autistic spectrum.
Checkout staff have been trained to identify any special needs of customers and operate at a speed that suits them.
Early feedback from customers has been very positive. Although it's a simple gesture, we hope this will make a difference.
Kerry Speed - Tesco Forres
A scheme developed with Alzheimer Scotland
The relaxed supermarket checkout lane was developed by Tesco alongside Alzheimer Scotland. The charity's expertise in dealing with dementia sufferers ensures the lane is suitable for users with memory loss.
The Alzheimer Scotland charity offers personalised support services, community activities, information and advice for people with dementia. Visit the Alzheimer Scotland website for more information.
The relaxed lane is catching on across the UK
Last year, a Tesco branch in Chester become the first known supermarket to implement a ‘dementia-friendly’ checkout. Clear images representing coins and their value as well as trained staff ensured the checkout was as considerate as possible for people with dementia.
The relaxed lane in Forres' Tesco follows suit but presents a model that is easier for other supermarkets to replicate. As a result, supermarkets across the UK are adopting a similar concept to the relaxed lane and hopefully in the not so distant future, the majority of UK supermarkets will have similar facilities.