EDITORIAL – Quiet time at the super market just what the doctor ordered

(Image: Mel Rothenburger photo)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

EVER THINK SHOPPING is just too noisy? Are you getting tired of hearing those hits of the ‘60s over the loud speakers at your super market?

A grocery store in Nelson might have just what the doctor ordered — quiet time. The Kootenay Co-op has introduced what’s called “sensory shopping.” From 7:30 to 9 p.m. each Sunday, the music is turned off. Those super friendly staff who chat up customers in the aisles and at the cash registers will still be friendly but now assume a “low profile” on Sunday evenings.

“We’re just letting people shop in peace,” says the store’s communications manager.

I like that. Peaceful shopping. Think about it. You’ve spent a tough day at the office and you need to pick up a few things for the pantry on the way home. Do you really need all that racket over the loud speakers and those cheerful associate managers accosting you in frozen foods asking if you’re “finding everything?”

Imagine silence, broken only by the hissing of the spritzers in the produce department and the occasional squeaky wheel on a shopping cart.

Turns out the Nelson store isn’t the first to try it. It’s been a growing thing for the past couple of years. It started as a gesture toward those with autism, but it has obvious benefits to the shopping public in general.

In the U.K. a growing number of shopping centres are killing their music and dimming their lights for an hour a day. No announcements are made over the loud speakers during that time.

Sobeys in Eastern Canada is doing it, and also doesn’t collect shopping carts during quiet times.

We all need some peace and quiet, and if we can get it while we’re shopping, why not?

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (7715 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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