Aldi is a grocery store that prioritizes its customers, which is why the chain is dedicated to offering discounted goods. Aldi is also invested in creating a pleasing and relaxed environment for all its shoppers, as illustrated by a recent experiment in UK locations. According to a press release issued by Aldi, the store implemented "sensory-friendly shopping hours" from August to October in 100 locations throughout the UK. Shoppers seeking a quieter experience were encouraged to visit the store on Tuesdays from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
While quiet hours have since ended, Aldi is using the brief experiment to determine whether the program would be helpful in more locations. As explained by Aldi's Diversity and Inclusion Director Vicky Metcalf, "We are committed to ensuring we are as accessible and inclusive as possible -- both for shoppers and colleagues -- and we look forward to receiving customer feedback on this trial to help inform our approach on a national level." Accordingly, the sensory-friendly hours included changes like ceasing announcements over loudspeakers, as well as a reduction to the noises made by cash registers.
Who Benefits From Sensory-Friendly Hours?
As explained in Aldi's press release, the chain's quiet hours are designed "to help those who prefer a quieter shopping experience or struggle with noisy environments." This includes people with sensory processing conditions, which can cause a person to become overwhelmed by loud noises, as well as things like bright lighting or strong odors, as described by Healthline.
While they can exist independently, sensory disorders often coincide with other neurological conditions. For instance, people with ADHD, autism disorders, and traumatic brain injuries routinely experience sensory issues. Adults also experience sensory disorders, although the condition appears to be most prevalent in children. Therapy can alleviate discomfort caused by certain environments, but avoiding triggers is also helpful.
Additionally, many people without underlying neurological disorders prefer being in quieter environments, particularly when it comes to grocery stores. While essential, shopping for groceries can be quite stressful, and stress is often compounded by the noise level at a given establishment. With quiet hours, Aldi hopes to benefit numerous customers by making their shopping excursion a little more relaxed.
How Can Shoppers In The U.S. Ensure A Quieter Environment In Aldi?
Unfortunately, it's not clear whether Aldi's sensory-friendly hours program will make its way to stores in the U.S. Currently, the grocery chain has 2,341 American locations spread out across 38 states and the District of Columbia. As for the number of Americans with sensory processing disorders, it's estimated that as much as 16.5% of the population could be affected. As a result, lots of people would likely appreciate quiet hours to ensure a calmer and more soothing shopping experience.
Although Aldi doesn't provide quiet hours to U.S. customers, there are steps you can take to avoid crowds and noisy environments. Weekdays are typically best for shopping at Aldi, provided that you stop by just after the store opens or just before it closes. While hours of operation vary from place to place, it's common for Aldi locations to have hours ranging from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday is an exception; however, as this is the day Aldi re-stocks its selection of finds, which are popular items that are usually only available in limited quantities. As a result, shoppers seeking a more low-key experience might want to visit the chain on another weekday.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.