Down, down stores turn volume down
Three South West stores have chosen to reduce noise, lighting and distractions for one hour per week in a bid to make shopping easier for people with autism or other sensory issues.
Staff at Coles in Australind, Dunsborough and Collie dimmed the lights for Quiet Hour, an initiative between Coles and Autism Spectrum Australia designed to make shopping easier for customers or their family members who are on the autism spectrum.
Australind store manager Ann Curtis said she was happy to join the 20 stores to go quiet, bringing the total to 29 Coles branches across the State that dim things down every Tuesday between 10.30am and 11.30am.
“It’s a really nice feel to the shop,” Mrs Curtis said.
“Both for the team and for the customers.”
During Quiet Hour all store lighting is reduced, the radio is switched off, there are no PA announcements and all registers and scanner volumes are turned down to the lowest setting.
To reduce noise and distractions even further, staff hold off on trolley collections and the use of rolling cages to restock items, and the store enlists extra staff for customer support.
“For some customers the noise can sometimes be too much for them,” Mrs Curtis said.
“This is so much calmer. It is a better environment for them.”
Mrs Curtis said the response from customers so far had all been positive.
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