Dutch supermarket experiments with quiet hour
The Albert Heijn supermarket in Sint-Michielsgestel, Noord-Brabant is going to hold a quiet hour next Tuesday morning between 8 and 9 am to the benefit of autistic people and anyone who cannot handle the level of noise in a typical supermarket. The lights will also be turned down.
There won’t be any cash register noises, calls on the intercom or any kind of noise other people don’t really notice. However, too bad it is during the work week, as these folks are not at work and come from an institution, but then again I imagine it was tough to find an appropriate time.
Cashiers will ask less questions (we get asked for our ‘bonus card’ [loyalty card] or if we collect stamps, and keep it much simpler – not a bad idea for all of us. The entire idea was copied from the UK that apparently already does this, according to the Nederlandse Vereniging voor Autisme (‘Dutch Association for Autism’). Besides noise, supermarket staff will also make sure that pallets aren’t blocking the aisles – typically Dutch supermarkets fill the shelves when the store is open, not before of after like in other countries – and will make sure personnel don’t creep up on folks unexpectedly.
It seems to me I would love quiet hour and I’m sure a lot of you would, too.