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Holiday shopping can be fun for a lot of people — with all the decorations, music and sparkling lights. But for those with sensory sensitivities, it can all be a bit overwhelming.
That’s why Walmart announced it would set aside two hours each morning to make all its stores in the United States and Puerto Rico more friendly and inclusive for those with such sensitivities.
During the back-to-school season, the company created the less stimulating environment for shoppers for a couple of hours each Saturday. The TV wall in electronics showed a static image, the radio was turned off and the lights were lowered wherever possible.
According to the company, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
Now, from 8 to 10 a.m. every morning, these sensory friendly changes will return. This time though there’s no end date.
“During these hours, we hope our customers and associates will find the stores to be a little easier on the eyes and ears,” Walmart said in an announcement on its website. “These changes are thanks to those who shared their feedback on how their stores could help them feel like they belong.”
The changes are not just to provide a better experience for shoppers, the company said. Sales associates with ADHD or anxiety, or on the autism spectrum said they appreciated the calmer atmosphere too.
“Several associates expressed the desire to continue this program all year,” Walmart store manager Tyler Morgan told the company. “We have associates with Autism, ADHD, etc. in the store and one associate made the comment that this is the first time the company did something just for him. I know we could all use some calm during the stressful holiday season, so I hope this program can continue.”
The changes are currently planned only for Walmart retail stores, the company told CNN, and not at Sam’s Club locations.