Supermarket giant Coles began the initiative to introduce a low-sensory shopping experience for customers on the autism spectrum.
Coles partnered with Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) to develop the program in November of 2017 to help make a difference by supporting customers with special needs to find a more accessible shopping solution.
Recently, major competitor Woolworths followed suit and announced that Quiet Hour will now be rolled out into 260 Woolworth stores across Australia, in addition to the 263 Coles stores already running the program.
Woolworths is working in consultation with Life Without Barriers on their program, after a successful trial in NSW and ACT stores.
Across all participating supermarkets, between 10.30 am – 11.30 am each Tuesday morning, Quiet Hour kicks off and staff are required to make the following changes to their stores:
• Reduce lighting
• Switch radios/music off
• Reduce the volume on all registers and scanners
• Cease all trolley collections
• Limit PA announcements to emergencies only
• Staff to provide shopping assistance and support to customers
This program is ideal for participants or carers working with clients on the spectrum who find the stress of shopping centres overwhelming.
It’s great to see recognition from the two largest supermarket retailers of the challenges that autism presents and how it affects the daily shopping experience.
To find a Coles store near you currently running the Quiet Hour program please click here.
Or to read more about this fantastic initiative, please find more information on the Coles and Woolworths websites listed below.
Coles, ‘Quiet Hour’, http://bit.ly/quiethourcoleslocator
Woolworths Group, 2019, ‘Woolworths rolls out Quiet Hour to select stores across Australia’, Friday 23rd August, http://bit.ly/2lCIztJ