Some supermarkets have introduced ‘quieter hours’ to support a more accessible and relaxed in-store shopping experience for customers who may find the environment challenging. It’s a dedicated time where lights, noise, and other stimuli are reduced to accommodate individuals with sensory sensitivities or a preference for a calmer environment.
A trip to the supermarket can be distressing for some autistic people – the unpredictable, busy, and loud setting can become overwhelming very quickly.
In an effort to make it less stressful, the following supermarkets have welcomed the ‘quiet hour’ scheme:
Asda first trialled having a ‘quieter hour’ in stores in 2018, and they have since become a permanent fixture.
During the quiet hour, lights are dimmed and sounds are reduced to make the in-store experience more accessible and welcoming for customers with additional needs.
They occur between 2pm to 3pm on Mondays to Thursdays to help alleviate the pressure and stress of shopping and increase inclusivity for those with hidden disabilities.
From 9am to 10am every Wednesday and Saturday, Tesco have a quiet hour in their stores to enable a calmer shopping experience for those who may need it.
During this time, the lights are dimmed and checkout noises are lowered in all of their large stores. In the future, they also hope to reduce the noise of self-service tills and Scan As You Shop devices, too.
They also offer an autism-friendly visual guide to shopping at Tesco and a visual shopping list which can be downloaded by clicking on this link and scrolling down: https://www.tesco.com/zones/invisibledisability
Morrisons’ 'Quieter Hour' takes place every Saturday in all stores from 9am to 10am, designed to help customers who currently struggle with music and the other noise associated with supermarket shopping.
During Quieter Hours, their stores will dim the lights, turn music and radio off, avoid making tannoy announcements, reduce movement of trolleys and baskets, turn checkout beeps and other electrical noises down, and place a poster outside to tell customers it’s Quieter Hour.
*For any queries, please contact the retailer directly.