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Five Woolworths supermarkets to go quiet across Canberra

Lachlan Roberts 26 August 2019 80

Woolworths Belconnen will take part in the weekly quiet hour. Photo: Supplied by Westfield Belconnen.

For one hour every Tuesday morning, five Woolworths supermarkets across the nation’s capital will go quiet.

Between 10:30-11:30 am every Tuesday, the five supermarkets will dim the store lights, turn down the radio, lower the volume on the registers, remove roll cages from the shop floor and won’t make announcements over the PA, unless in an emergency.

The quieter environment might not seem like too big a deal for most, but for customers with specific needs and in particular autism, it will make the groceries run easier.

The rollout of the low-sensory “quiet hour”, which is sweeping across the nation, is hoping to reduce the anxiety and sensory stress for customers with specific needs. Woolworths in Tuggeranong, Calwell, Majura Park, Belconnen and Cooleman Court are taking part in the hour, along with 255 Woolies supermarkets across the nation.

The initiative was developed in consultation with disability service providers Life Without Barriers and was trialled with success at stores in New South Wales.

Life Without Barriers executive Chris Chippindale believes the hour will be welcomed by staff and customers alike.

“If you went into any Woolies store at any time of day and really opened up your eyes and listened, I reckon you will find that it is really bright and really loud,” he told Region Media. “Then times that by two, three or even four for someone who has autism, it must be overwhelming.

“The hour is so nice and calm and I know that people living with a disability will respond so well to the welcoming, non-threatening environment. It is tremendous.”

Mr Chippindale said the quiet hour gives people a way to do their shopping and increase their independence in an environment that is not stressful and overwhelming to them.

“We would certainly encourage Woolworths to think about running quiet hours throughout the day,” he said. “Quiet hour gives people with specific needs lots of confidence and it gives them the ability to shop in what sometimes can feel like a threatening environment.

“You and I take shopping at Woolies for granted but that is not normally the case for people with autism. Woolworths have really thought it through and have done a great job.”

Coles also introduced the quiet hour at its Woden store in December 2017. 

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80 Responses to
Five Woolworths supermarkets to go quiet across Canberra
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7:49 am 30 Aug 19

Why can’t the music be turned off completely? It’s only played to for psychological reasons to encourage more buying

9:35 am 29 Aug 19

I’m triggered by the colour green. Can Woolworths please change their logo for my specific needs? End chromophobiaphobia now!

7:17 pm 28 Aug 19

Danielle Dillon,our store has been doing this for quite a while now,it works well😀

    8:20 pm 28 Aug 19

    Catherine Brown problem is the stores we use are doing it during the day when Liv is at daycare lol, typical!

    8:32 pm 28 Aug 19

    Danielle Dillon they should trial a night time hour too😀

    9:51 pm 28 Aug 19

    Catherine Brown they should at the very least do an hour a day or something to that effect.

    We are just lucky Liv is a sensory seeker so grocery shops don’t bother her lol

1:24 pm 28 Aug 19

Anabela Firman a good time for us to go shopping

1:04 pm 28 Aug 19

Some of these comments... wow.. I hate the fact I live and my kids have to grow up around such members of the community. Grow up.

8:46 am 28 Aug 19

This sounds great but you cant always time it right to go shopping with your children. Kids are kids and most mums do their shopping in the day or straight after school, as that is an easier time as kids are already in the car. Have your quiet time by all means but dont go restricting parents from taking children shopping. What about the single parents they have their children with them 24/7. I am not a young single mum but nearly 72 and i wouldnt go shopping in a quiet time because the stores are darker, harder to read the labels and also other safety factors. You would also have to watch your security as well. Just commenting thats all.

8:07 am 28 Aug 19

Also Queanbeyan - not in Canberra I know, but close enough to it and helpful for those that live over the border 😊

8:45 pm 27 Aug 19

Pete Francesca imagine if coles did this. 😂

6:25 pm 27 Aug 19

Shlee Mihailakis first Qatar airport, now woolies.. hope no one loses their child and they ban announcements 😂 (side note, I’m all for this)

12:17 pm 27 Aug 19

Hedda Wilson Do VIC Wollies ever do this? It would be great if they did it for you ! X

10:53 am 27 Aug 19

But we need more than one hour a week

9:44 am 27 Aug 19

Woden Woolworths has been doing Tuesday quiet hour for months. Where’s our mention?

7:57 am 27 Aug 19

Why can't it always be like this? 😌

10:58 pm 26 Aug 19

All that noise that we encounter as we move around is not only a challenge for people with special needs. I wish they would turn it down permanently.

6:59 pm 26 Aug 19

Great when I need this I might be able to actually shop

6:46 pm 26 Aug 19

This sounds fantastic

6:24 pm 26 Aug 19

It would be great if the kids would be quiet then as well. I hardly go to supermarkets but had to yesterday nightmare with screaming kids all round!

    7:39 am 27 Aug 19

    Mary Giacca just imagine how our parents would have fixed us being shits anywhere, did it hurt us.

    11:38 am 27 Aug 19

    Mary Giacca, you’re funny! forgot what it’s like to be a young parent? 😂😂😂😂

    9:04 pm 27 Aug 19

    Isabel Wilks exactly we were told to sit and not move certainly didn’t run amok! My favourite is young kids playing near the airport baggage carousel with parent watching!

    9:06 pm 27 Aug 19

    Grace Giacca-Embery no We made sure Dan was well occupied as a young kid and didn’t drag him around the shops all day like they do now!

6:21 pm 26 Aug 19


4:14 pm 26 Aug 19

Five very big thumbs up, Woolworths!

3:33 pm 26 Aug 19

They need to have a few kid free hours as well

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