ICYMI: Coles Is Launching "Quiet Hour" to Make Shopping More Inclusive

Nicole Singh

Getty Images / Patrick Kovarik 

Sure, we all agree that grocery shopping (particularly on a Sunday afternoon) can be one of the worst chores. But what’s less thought about, is how this experience can impact those with disabilities. While we take for granted a "quick trip" to the store, for individuals on the autism spectrum, bright lights, loud sounds, and busy aisles have the potential to cause sensory overload.

But now, in a welcome move from the Australian community, Coles, has introduced a “Quiet Hour” in 68 supermarkets, in the hope that the shopping experience can be made easier for those on the spectrum. The rollout will look like this: The volume of registers and scanners will be set to their lowest setting, grocery trolley collection will be temporarily paused, and use of the PA system will be reserved for emergencies only, and free fruit will be handed out.

This iniative was a response based on customer experience feedback— which just goes to show that speaking out, whether in a formal letter, or a Facebook post, has the potential to ignite widespread change.

Autism Spectrum Australia community engagement and operations officer, Linzi Coyle has said of the modifications, "We're achieving a 'no-judgement' shopping space where people on the spectrum and their families can feel comfortable and welcome whilst grocery shopping," also adding, "With autism affecting one in 100 Australians, expanding this low-sensory shopping experience … will have a significant improvement on the lives of many children, young people and adults on the spectrum, as well as their family members."

The program will take place between 10:30am and 11:30am every Tuesday at 68 stores, and all customers are invited to participate. We're giving Coles a standing ovation for this one! 


Learn more about the Autism, read The Autistic Brain

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