Fun Fact Woolworths Limited was founded in September 1924
Fun Fact Coles supermarket was founded in 1914 in Collingwood, Melbourne by George Coles
Fun Fact Aldi Based in Germany, was founded by brothers Karl and Theo Albrecht in 1946. They opened their first Aldi Australia in Sydney in 2001
I know I am spoiling you with all these facts (*please note there is no prizes for guessing the answer to this next bit)
Ok so can you tell me which of those three supermarkets above is operating a quiet hour each Tuesday between the hours of 10.30 and 11.30 specifically for the Autism community?
SMALL PAUSE WHILE I DRINK MY TEA
Ok I’m back
Did you guess it?
It is *insert drum roll*
But wait there’s a problem
Before we look at what the issue might be let’s look at the positives first
173 of Coles supermarkets are participating √
There won’t be any trolley collections during this time √
Staff won’t stock shelves √
And announcements made over the PA system will be kept for emergencies √
Now for the negatives
Your local Coles may not be part of the quiet hour remember they’ve only rolled it out to 173 of their stores across Australia which leaves 634 stores who aren’t running the quiet hour program.
Lucky for me that my local Coles is running this initiative.
The main issue with shopping in a supermarket is that it feels as if from every angle every part of my senses is being attacked it’s a bit like I am
“Being intentionally slaughtered with bright lights and music to influence my buying decisions add to that loud PA announcements, crashing trolleys, changes in temperature, smells from the bakery, deli, gardening department, butcher, seafood, staff with their large oversized trolleys parked in aisles in the way filling shelves that you have to carefully manoeuvre around… and it attacks me from all angles.
Look I am applauding Coles here don’t get me wrong (out of the other major supermarkets within Australia they’ve at least taken the necessary steps in putting something like this into action)
And yes sure look it’s going to have its teething issues, people are going to complain, but let’s look at this from another perspective shall we?
We and by that I mean the Autism Community haven’t really had this in place for us before, it’s hard enough for us navigating every day daily life, we shouldn’t be looking to pour scorn on this we should actually be encouraging it.
It should be noted that Coles have said they have trained staff to support people with Autism and their families. (And no I wasn’t the trainer, which is a shame. I am available and can email them my rates if need be)
Look it’s a start and I hate to see articles online complaining about this, yes it doesn’t suit everyone’s busy lifestyle, sure it’s only on a Tuesday at a certain time, but it’s in place.
All that Coles can do from here is reach out to the Autism community and ask them what’s going to work best for you, and as I say at least it’s a start something which the other supermarkets should be taking note of and be looking to implement it into their stores.
Because the other supermarkets right now are just sitting on the sidelines deciding if it’s something that they’ll eventually participate in.
Carry on the Conversation
What are your thoughts? Have you shopped on a Tuesday during the quiet hour? What did you think? Would you go again? What did they get right? What did they get wrong? Where you happy with the experience?
Let me know in the comments below.
As always, I can also be found on Twitter: @AutisticNick9 and at my email email@example.com
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Thank you for reading and I will see you next time for more thoughts from across the spectrum.