Morrisons – one of the leading supermarket chains in England – announced last week that they plan to enforce a weekly ‘quiet hour’ into their stores nation-wide. This will take please each week on a Saturday between the hours of 9 am and 10 am.
Morrisons have issued a statement to list what their quiet hour will include:
- Lights will be dimmed
- Music and radios will be turned off
- Trolley’s and baskets will be used only if necessary
- Checkout beeps will be turned down along with other electrical noises
- Posters will be placed outside to let customers know quiet hour is taking place
Reading about Morrisons’ new innovation made my week. It is great to see a huge company making a gesture to help those who are different. I will be taking advantage of the quiet hour at my local Morrisons store.
I go to Morrisons often to pick up ingredients for baking. I will make sure that before I enter the shop I have saved photos on my phone of exactly what I am looking for so that I can get in and out as fast as I can. I want to spend as little time in there as possible; squeezing through trolleys of people chatting noisily amongst a mixture of offensive smells is not a pleasant experience for me. On top of this, I find the product placement confusing and often can’t locate what I need. Rather than ask a staff member for assistance I will panic and leave the shop, empty handed. I wouldn’t feel comfortable informing a shop assistant of my autism and asking for assistance. This may be my error; I assume they would lack knowledge of the condition and not know how to help me.
The quiet hour sounds like it will make my ingredient shopping a more pleasant experience. Morrisons have also said they will be improving awareness of Autism amongst their staff. Hopefully, this will mean when I can’t locate an ingredient during quiet hour a shop assistant may notice and approach to ask me if I require help?
Morrisons taking this leap is massive progress for the Autistic community and I hope other business’ will follow in their footsteps. If all businesses could dedicate an hour a week to a time where autistic people can do their shopping in a quieter, dimmer environment it would make all the difference.
I realise that for most businesses this may not be feasible. But, even if businesses could educate their employees and provide training on autism and what traits to look out for in customers then they could be of vital help should a situation occur where an autistic customer is having a meltdown.
Autism Hour is scheduled for the 6th-13th October this year. This is a brilliant opportunity to educate businesses and the general public on how small changes can have a positive impact for those on the autistic spectrum. For Autism Hour all we ask is that businesses take simple steps – as Morrisons have done – for 60 minutes that will lead to a more autism-friendly world.
To find out more about Autism Hour and how you can get your local businesses involved then click here and to read stories about why Autism Hour is so important to autistic people and their families, including me, please click here.