Supermarket trials “quiet moments”

Supermarket chain Carrefour is introducing low stimulus shopping between the hours of 2PM and 4PM.  These are the calmest hours of the shopping day and shoppers who prefer not to enjoy loud music, aggressive announcements and bright lights are welcome.

For people who don’t enjoy sensory stimuli like loud music, a heaving atmosphere and bright lights supermarket shopping can be an ordeal.  Carrefour is now introducing “quiet moments” while rival Delhaize too has a pilot running.

Lights will be dimmed, the music turned off and no more announcements will be made through the supermarket’s sound system. The supermarket says it wants to create a peaceful atmosphere for highly sensitive people or people on the autism spectrum, who can befit from a quieter atmosphere.

The concept already exists in French Carrefour stores and is a hit. 

Fleur Van Groningen discovered she was highly sensitive at the age of 26.  “It’s a personality trait” she explains. “It means you have a different brain.  The stimuli you receive are processed far more profoundly.  Brain scans will show that far more brain areas are active when you process stimuli”.

The trait has advantages and disadvantages: “You will show greater empathy and attention to detail, but the problem is that when so much information reaches you at the same time, you are overstimulated and a kind of indigestion results” says Fleur.

Excessive stimulation can impact on your buying instinct.  It can lead to a loss of control.  Overstimulation can result in exhaustion and make you more open to impulse purchases.

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