Sports outlet Decathlon introduces Quieter Hour for shoppers with autism
In a first for Hungary, sporting goods retailer Decathlon has introduced a Quieter Hour in all of their stores around the country for autistic shoppers who struggle with music and noise. On the first Monday of each month, between 10am and noon, all Decathlon stores will dim the lights, turn the music off and avoid using the tannoy. People with autism will be allowed to jump the queue and other customers are kindly asked to be understanding and considerate.
During the month of preparation for this initiative, Decathlon was in constant contact with the National Autistic Society, working out the details together. According to NAS president Edit Kővári: “Many people think that turning down the music and the lights solves the problem in a second. However, autism or spectrum disorder is more complex and varies according to individual. This cooperation is unique, as it has made Decathlon employees more socially sensitive, too.”
Back in the summer, UK supermarket chain Morrisons introduced a weekly Quieter Hour in their stores and soon afterwards a Dutch supermarket followed suit. Many such initiatives are much needed in Budapest as well, so Decathlon is now hoping to set an example to other businesses.
The next Quieter Hour is on 5 November.