"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Walmart is introducing “sensor-friendly” early morning hours in stores

November 8, 2023 – From Friday, Walmart Stores across the country will introduce “sensor-friendly” hours from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. day by day to create a “less stimulating environment,” the world's largest retailer said on its website.

“We love being part of a team that can help create a culture where everyone feels like they belong,” Walmart said of “making shopping in our stores more inclusive for people with sensory disabilities.”

During these hours, stores dim the lights, turn off the radio and switch the televisions to still images. The program is the biggest thus far “for people with sensory processing issues, which include autism, ADHD and PTSD.” Axios reported.

Museums and other cultural institutions began special opening hours greater than ten years ago, wrote Axios. AMC Theaters offers “sensory-friendly” movies in collaboration with the Autism Society. The Chuck E. Cheese pizza chain offers “Sensory Sensitive Sundays.”

Walmart had a pilot program this summer with sensory hours for back-to-school shopping on Saturdays.

“These changes may seem small to some, but for others they have transformed the shopping experience,” Walmart said. “Our biggest feedback? Let it run!”

Hours will probably be offered at every store within the U.S., including Puerto Rico, starting November 10, with no end date planned.

“During these hours, we hope our customers and associates will find the stores a little easier on the eyes and ears,” Walmart said. “These changes are thanks to those who provided feedback on how their stores could make them feel like they belong.”

Nuala O'Connor, senior vice chairman and chief counsel, digital citizenship, at Walmart, wrote: “I have a child on the autism spectrum, so sensory overload is a lived experience in our home. ASD (autism spectrum disorder) and other forms of neurodiversity are often an invisible disability. It’s important to so many families that Walmart implements sensory-friendly hours.”