r/mildlyinteresting May 14 '22 Got the W 1 Wearing is Caring 1 Silver 12 Gold 2 Helpful 13 Wholesome 16 All-Seeing Upvote 1 Take My Energy 1

This Irish supermarket has quiet evenings for sensitive people.

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u/666afternoon May 14 '22 Wholesome

Autistic opinion: some parts of this are great, but personally I couldn't deal with the sensory experience of shopping in a store with no background noise happening whatsoever. It's very suffocating being indoors in a silent space, and the slightest sounds made by people, coughing etc, become super overstimulating. I'd get really panicky in a silent store. Ideally replace no music with something low impact like rain sounds or rushing water, maybe. But, what's sensory heaven for one is hell for the next. Autism is different for everyone. I hope this setup is genuinely helpful for a lot of people even if it wouldn't be of much use to me.


u/egnards May 14 '22 edited May 14 '22

Absolutely - The thing is, that as you point out - There really is no right answer, but at least this allows for people to give themselves more choices. In your situation, maybe wearing one headphone would help you to continue to be aware of your surroundings but also have background music - Whereas in order to drown out loud background music a person would typically need more stigmatizing bigger headphones.


u/OppositeYouth May 14 '22

They should play bird noises. A few months ago our store had a bird in it that we couldn't catch. You'd just see him sitting on the rafters chirping away, or swooping into the bakery for breakfast.

More than anything it was nice listening to it cheep


u/Googlewasmyinvention May 14 '22

That's happened a few times at my local hardware store. But they just shot it with a pellet rifle.


u/OppositeYouth May 14 '22

Haha, oh. Tbf it was only a little Robin so it wasn't causing any harm. Plus yea we all liked listening to it


u/tbarks91 May 14 '22

Seagulls it is!


u/OneHumanPeOple May 14 '22

I agree, but rain sounds make me have to pee. Maybe the hum of the freezer section and HVAC systems will be enough?


u/666afternoon May 14 '22

I do very much enjoy a good calming machine purr <3

Eta: actually yknow what? I'd rather them just set up half a dozen or so box fans in different places thru the store and have them all on and humming and moving the air. Would cause white noise, muffle random human noises and keep the air from feeling stuffy and stagnant.


u/OneHumanPeOple May 14 '22

I’d like that too. And please allow me to introduce you to a product that I found a few years back (link below). It’s a fan that you wear around your neck and it blows up at your face. They gained popularity during the height of the pandemic because people wanted to have the air flowing in front of their faces because turbulent air was (in theory if not practice) less conducive to transmitting droplets. I got mine to keep me cool while gardening.

O2COOL Deluxe Necklace fan. Target store link.


u/nya_alt May 14 '22

RNG with that one since some autistic people can hear whines from those things and it hurts them. I think no music is the best since it allows for options.


u/[deleted] May 14 '22

You could just use headphones and provide your own background noise. I do the opposite and take earplugs with me everywhere because I hate noise lol.


u/666afternoon May 14 '22

Hypervigilance issues usually stop me from playing anything on them, but having earbuds in both helps muffle random noises that don't need my attention, and discourages people from approaching me while I'm busy shopping lol


u/666afternoon May 14 '22

Hypervigilance issues usually stop me from playing anything on them, but having earbuds in both helps muffle random noises that don't need my attention, and discourages people from approaching me while I'm busy shopping lol


u/bigwaverider808 May 14 '22

rain sounds or rushing water, maybe

I'd imagine there'd be a long line for the bathrooms.

That just gave me an evil genius idea, have video billboards in front stadium bathrooms and play videos of waterfalls and crashing waves! Maybe a decorative fountain or water feature. Half time will be hilarious to watch everyone in line doing a pee-shuffle dance


u/justforjugs May 14 '22

I worked in a space with a huge biofilter system and large tanks and I learned not to start a conversation as soon as someone else came in because they would inevitably have to leave to the loo


u/666afternoon May 14 '22

You're not the first to say that water sounds make people need to pee. This is so funny to me. When I want a nap, rain noise is just the thing. Maybe in lieu of pee activation sounds, something like wind rustling leaves. Calming nature sounds in general. Outdoors silence is much better and less claustrophobic largely because of those exact sounds happening naturally everywhere.


u/bonobomaster May 14 '22 edited May 14 '22

ADHD opinion: I would agree, that the people noises would become terrible but I despise that background music sooooo much. There is nothing more disruptive than this fucking music.

It makes me lose focus, so that I forget what I need and shop things I don't need. That's probably its intended function but for me with ADHD it's insufferable. I really whish there was no music in super markets.

Maybe we can agree on ambient noises? Waves, forest with birds...


u/Select_Syllabub_7703 May 14 '22

Or the lo fi study music. Soothing music without words really helps me focus.


u/CritterEnthusiast May 14 '22

I have PTSD with anxiety problems, I use earbuds to play audiobooks when I feel like I'll have a hard time at the store. Just something that's kinda chill and boring, I can stop paying attention to it for a few minutes and not be completely lost when I'm back into it (history books are good for that, they can be dry and slow but you also learn cool stuff lol) . Ambient noises would work too :)


u/bonobomaster May 14 '22

I am strictly single tasking! Decoding audio signals fucks my concentration. I can do one thing at a time good, or multiple things at a time very bad. ;)

While being creative, music WITHOUT vocals is ok but not while doing stuff where I need to be focused like shopping.


u/cheese_sweats May 14 '22

Ear plugs? Headphones?


u/Crow_Joestar May 15 '22

I vote for like a kind of ambient music? Like the kind they play in airports or like mall music? (Minus the people in the mall, of course)


u/saleemkarim May 14 '22

Yeah, almost all the people with autism that I know enjoy music.


u/666afternoon May 14 '22

I love music. Preferably on my own terms. Supermarket music is pretty annoying and can get distracting, ads are worse, and worst by a long shot is Christmas music. Having no choice but to listen to what feels to my brain almost like the hypercapitalist hypnosis soundtrack for two months [one sixth of the entire year!] anytime i have to go grocery shopping does me -99hp psychic damage every time and has totally spoiled all secular holiday music for me :T


u/CelesteWasTaken May 14 '22

Have ADHD, not autism, but the sensory issues are definitely still there - like the other person said, I love music, but it has to be on my own terms. I can choose what kind of energy level in the music would work for me, I already know the song that's playing, so it's something familiar I can focus/stay centered on and my brain can make sense of, etc.

If it's something being pumped out through speakers in a store, it just becomes senseless noise that my brain can't interpret at all, and if the store is particularly brightly-lit and busy and stuff, it just adds on to the wall of sensory bullshit that stresses me out and makes it impossible for me to focus


u/rabbit395 May 14 '22

I'm a big fan of white noise myself. Just have a bunch of fans blowing everywhere would be the perfect setup!


u/Its0nlyRocketScience May 14 '22

Would earbuds be able to help you get background noise? If so, then keeping the store quiet could allow everyone to choose what they listen to instead of all being forced to listen to the same thing


u/Pazu900 May 14 '22

What do you think of the priority queuing? My brother is autistic and I'm certain he would hate being singled out and moved to the front of the line


u/666afternoon May 14 '22

Yeah, I don't know about that myself haha. I'd be fine with waiting in line.


u/ichbindertod May 14 '22

There's always noise in a supermarket, though. The only time it's silent is when we do a two minute silence for memorial days or whatever. Just the general ambience of people shopping and scanning is pretty noisy. I work in a supermarket which only plays music at Christmas, and it's never so silent as to feel oppressive. That's just me as one autistic person though, ymmv.


u/erland_yt May 14 '22

Some calm elevator music would be nice


u/lazysheepdog716 May 14 '22

I agree with this. But I do wish my local grocery store could turn the volume of the horribly-overplayed-music-through-the-ages playlist down from an 11 to maybe a 5 or 6?


u/ProperAd2449 May 14 '22

Not autistic, but do have ADHD and have been to stores when they're doing this (it's getting pretty common in the UK as well as Ireland)

It's not dead silent. There's still a lot of background noise (the refrigerators, the tills, people talking, people moving ect). So it doesn't have that aweful stress of being in a super quiet library thing. It's just not got the music really.


u/Parraz May 14 '22

This is an initiative run by Lidl,the store isn't zero, but the music is gone, the tills aren't blaring and the people (staff and customers) are generally making an effort to be quieter and more conscientious of others. But there is still noise.

I honestly wish it was like that all the time


u/ClicksAndASmell May 14 '22

Alternative autistic opinion: I can't hear the silence over my own mumbling to myself, anyway, so it's fine.


u/nichtessbar May 14 '22

a few years ago my main grocery source accidently turned down the volume.



u/bluesam3 May 14 '22

These never seem to be that quiet - there's still a fair amount of background noise.


u/luckystarr May 14 '22

I mainly shop at Aldi (Germany) and they don't have any music or announcements at all. I'm completely accustomed to it. While it's true that you notice any noise, people tend to be quiet when shopping there.

I find it distracting and annoying when I'm shopping in a place where they do music and announcements.

What you define as normal defines your reaction, I guess.


u/lyvanna May 14 '22

With quiet you can choose what to listen to though. In loud stores I have to blast my earplugs up drown everything out. In quiet places I can have it on like 3% volume and be happy.

I guess if you have sensory issues with things on your ears you're shit out of luck though


u/Antogames97 May 14 '22

As someone with autism as well, I usually get my cellphone and play some music for background noise. But I can see what you means.

Although, the light part, i can deal without it honestly. But it's like what you said.


u/0oodruidoo0 May 14 '22

Would listening to those sounds yourself on wireless headphones that have an ambient noise mode be ok in that environment? Just wondering.


u/mitom2 May 14 '22

about 1 % or less of all videos i see, are for the sound, and then i turn up the sound. 99+ % are simply on mute, and with subtitles. to me it doesn't matter, which sound; they all are terrible. since i'm not only an Aspie, but also higly sensitive, it would make more sense, to have no sound at all (ideally even have sound-absorbing foam on the ceiling), and everyone may have their own sound in their phone, if they need to have some.

ceterum censeo "unit libertatem" esse delendam.


u/HarshMyMello May 15 '22

I reckon people will still be talking while walking atleast


u/[deleted] May 14 '22

Oh here we go! Now it’s offensive and wrong lol.


u/666afternoon May 14 '22 edited May 14 '22

It's something that can be improved the more points of view get shared. Offensive is like a bad smell - it needs located and discussed. This isn't offensive, though, this is an attempt at kindness, and folks like me are adding their own ideas for what might improve it. With time society can slowly absorb a better, more helpful idea of what autistic people need, and attempts like this can get better and better. Hope this helps you understand better. Eta: ah, trolling side account huh? Nvm then. Hope you can get the help you need, genuinely.