Over the weekend Toys ‘R’ Us branches across the UK turned down their in-store music and fluorescent lighting for what they’re calling a “quiet hour” — which is devoted to giving kids with autism spectrum disorder (and their parents) a shopping experience that truly meets their needs. And no, you can’t go just for a little peace and quiet.
Select stores also stopped their loudspeaker announcements (shut up on aisle this one) and replaced it with less blaring signage. Irritating fluorescent lighting was reduced and lighting overall was dimmed. “Making slight adjustments to stores and creating a quiet shopping period allows children and young adults to experience the fun in a toy shop, regardless of their disability,” Mike Coogan, Toys ‘R’ Us marketing director, told The Telegraph. The only thing that would be better is if they did this for more than an hour.
The idea of quiet hours is great, but also not entirely new. The British grocery store chain ASDA has hosted similar quiet hours before, and they’ve done something similar in Australia as well. Unfortunately, the idea has yet to make it across the pond, despite the fact that one in 68 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with autism. While Americans aren’t known for being quiet, they once welcomed Geoffrey Giraffe dollars. And this is a much better idea than that.
[H/T] The Telegraph