Creating a friendly shopping environment for autistic people and their loved ones is the main goal of the "Quiet Hours" campaign. Muted announcements, switched-off music and dimmed lights, among other things, are to help. One of the partners of the action is Lidl Poland. And we, as the JiM Foundation, checked how the action looks in practice in one of the chain's stores in Lodz.
The changes can be seen from the entrance. It is definitely quieter and more peaceful.
"For the "quiet hours" we automatically have the music turned off. There are no announcements. Occasionally there will be some, but this is among the rarities. What we notice is that the store gets extremely quiet." says Agnieszka Derenowska, deputy store manager.
All sounds cannot be eliminated. The noise of refrigerators running, self-service checkout announcements instructing people to "put the merchandise in the bin," or the quiet squeaking of wheels at store carts. These are sounds we don't hear every day. They are usually drowned out by the bustle and music characteristic of discount stores. The fact that they can be heard so well shows how much sound was eliminated during the "Quiet Hours."
Setting the hours of action for Friday morning and Saturday evening has another advantage. There are far fewer people in the store than on a Friday afternoon, for example. The alleys are almost empty. This makes it possible to shop without having to pass other people. In addition, you can easily fit in with a baby stroller or by walking hand in hand with another person.
"The Quiet Hours are a major convenience and convenience for autistic people to use commercial services. They are guided by two very important goals. In addition to making it possible for people on the spectrum to shop in a friendly environment, we are first and foremost raising awareness of autism in society." says Tomasz Michalowicz, president of the JiM Foundation.
Quiet hours are a convenience not only for those on the spectrum and their loved ones. Shopping during these hours can be done by anyone who appreciates quiet, peace and quiet, or who wants a break from excess stimuli. This is one of those actions to show that facilities for autistic people are actually facilities for all of us. By creating a welcoming world for people on the spectrum, we are building a space that is comfortable for everyone.
In Lidl, the campaign is valid indefinitely in all stores of the chain in Poland. Silent shopping can be done on Fridays from 8:00-10:00, as well as on Saturdays from 19:00-21:00.