This Is Why One German Supermarket Is Initiating “Silent Hours”

Supermarkt Symbolbild

No announcements and music: in the “Spar” supermarket in Esslingen (Baden-Württemberg) it goes quiet twice a week. What may seem unusual has a good background.

Every Tuesday afternoon and Thursday evening, supermarket workers in Esslingen dim the lights and avoid loudspeakers. The branch remains open as usual – and is intended to make shopping more enjoyable for some. “Quiet Hours”, first introduced in a supermarket in New Zealand, are intended for autistic people – as excessive hyperstimulation when shopping for them can quickly turn into stress.

“Silent Hours” has now been established in twelve German-speaking branches.

In the German-speaking area, the association “Autism German Switzerland” brought this concept to life. On his website he states that four Swiss “Spar” branches have started a pilot project. Not only should “quiet hours” help make shopping less stressful. “They also draw attention to the needs of people on the autism spectrum,” the association explains. In addition, non-autistic people will appreciate the adjustment, too.

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In addition to less background noise, the lights in the shops are dimmed for one and a half to two hours each time twice a week. According to their own statements, staff have been informed of challenges for autistic people, with personal assistance and assistance dogs welcome. Meanwhile, eleven branches of the supermarket chain have already participated in the campaign. The store in Esslingen is the first in Germany. (MHO)

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