If you’re on the autism spectrum shopping can be a confronting experience.
The lights are too bright, the music is too loud, and there’s a lot of people crashing trolleys together.
Not to mention the constant announcements over the PA system and the never-ending repetitive sound of the scanners beeping.
That’s why two Coles supermarkets in Victoria are trialling a ‘Quiet Hour’ pilot program with the aim of making shopping a little easier for people with autism.
The stores in Ringwood and Balwyn East are working with Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) to provide a ‘low sensory shopping experience’ for one hour every week.
The pilot quiet hours will run between 10:30-11:30am each Tuesday until the end of October.
During Quiet Hour the lights will be dimmed by 50 per cent, the music will be turned down, trolley collection will be avoided, customers will be offered free fruit, and even the volume of the scanners will be reduced.
Coles accessibility sponsor Peter Sheean said it was a way to “meet the differing needs” of customers.
“We are always looking at ways we can meet the differing needs of our customers by creating a shopping environment in which our customers and team members feel comfortable. Through Quiet Hour, we hope to make a difference to our customers who find it challenging to shop in a heightened sensory environment,” he said.