Quiet shopping hours

I know many of us neurodivergent folk really appreciate online shopping, for a multitude of reasons. But for those of us who dare to attempt in-person supermarket shopping, if we manage to navigate the car park, the doors, the trollies, the people and all of the other stress-inducers that we face, it is worth knowing that there are now quiet hours in many of the main supermarket chains (larger stores only, generally).

During these times you should find that the tannoy announcements are less often and quieter. The checkout bleeps are softer and the lighting is softened. Some promise to have no tannoy announcements and no dreadful music. Some promise less trolley and basket collecting too.

These are on fixed days and times each week and they vary from chain to chain. Just to make things more confusing for us, the different chains refer to these hours by different names!

This, my friends, is an opportunity for a glorious list! So, in no particular order, as of September 2023, here is a non-exhaustive list:

  1. Tesco Quiet Hour – Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9-10am
  2. Asda Quieter Hour – Monday to Thursday from 2-3pm
  3. Morrisons Quieter Hour – Saturdays from 9-10am and the first hour of trading on Sundays
  4. Aldi Sensory Friendly Hours – Tuesdays from 6-8.30pm (currently being trialled in certain stores until the end of October 2023)
  5. Sainsbury’s Autism Hour – appears to have taken place on 2 October 2017 and not since! Please do contact me if I’m wrong on this
  6. Lidl – Autism Aware Quiet Evenings – Tuesdays between 6-8pm at all their Northern Ireland stores. I can find nothing on the rest of the UK
  7. Curry’s – Quiet Hour – every weekday morning until 11am
  8. Selfridge – Quiet Hour – every Wednesday from 10-11am

So, Waitrose and Sainsbury (who describe themselves as a ‘truly inclusive’ supermarket) get a proper thumbs down here, as far as food shopping is concerned.

I’d better add a disclaimer here, that these days and times are subject to change and any or all of these retailers could stop or start offering quiet hours. I’m not monitoring this! By all means update me – you’ll find the email address under the About Me button at the bottom of each page.

Some of these stores will provide us – FREE – with the hidden disabilities sunflower lanyard – that I know I’ve mentioned elsewhere but goodness only knows where! Tesco, for instance, claim that we can simply ask for one, without proof of need, at the customer service desk. These are supposed to indicate to staff that we may require additional help. I have not tested this in supermarkets as yet.