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The Student Media Site of Georgia College & State University

Bobcat Multimedia

The Student Media Site of Georgia College & State University

Bobcat Multimedia

Walmart’s new sensory- friendly hours

will this help make the shopping experience better for all customers?
Isabella McComis / Digital Media Editor

Walmart has implemented “sensory-friendly hours” in its United States and Puerto Rico stores from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. local time every day starting Nov. 10. During these hours, Walmart aims to make the store’s environment less stimulating for those with sensory disabilities.  

The changes include turning off the TV walls, muting radios and music and lowering the lights where possible. 

Individuals with conditions such as autism, post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, are oftentimes affected by bright lighting, loud sounds and large crowds, causing a sensory overload. Walmart hopes to help with this.  

“I think they should add the hours to nighttime as well, for example from 8 to 10 p.m., to accommodate everyone’s schedules since there is no set time that most people go shopping,” said Chris Arnold, a senior management information systems major and Milledgeville Walmart manager. “Our slogan is to save money, live better, so if we can help accommodate our shoppers, it’s worth it!”  

During the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Walmart implemented grocery pickup from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. for those aged 60 and older, first responders and customers with disabilities. The company shared that they received a perfect Disability Equality Index score for the eighth year in a row due to these changes.  

After a pilot initiative conducted earlier in 2023 during the back-to-school season received positive feedback, Walmart decided to extend its sensory-friendly hours to all its locations. 

“I feel like the hours are not as flexible as they should be,” said Annabel Hirst, a sophomore world languages and cultures major. “Who does grocery shopping at those times? If you’re a student, you probably have class then, or you might have work at that time. If they chose better hours, it would be a lot more effective.”

The company acknowledges that minuscule changes, such as those implemented during these hours, can have a transformative effect on the shopping experience for a sizable portion of the customer base.  

“I have a young child with down syndrome, and he often gets overstimulated in Walmart when I have to take him grocery shopping,” said Nancy Hall, a frequent Milledgeville Walmart shopper. “It’s relieving that people are beginning to pay attention to those with sensory disabilities. Both my son and I appreciate this change.”  

A recent announcement from Walmart states customers like Hall’s experiences were the inspiration for the changes. 

“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. “These changes are thanks to those who shared their feedback on how their stores could help them feel like they belong.”  

More customers have begun expressing appreciation for this new feature. 

“As a mother of a child with autism, thank you very much for recognizing needs and being sensitive to them,” said Andrea T., a Walmart customer. “Little things, such as lighting, noise etc. does make a difference.”  

Walmart emphasized its committment to fulfilling the promise of its mission statement — for everyone — and aim to provide a more comfortable and welcome shopping experience for all customers and associates. 

“We’re working hard to create a working and shopping experience accessible to everyone, and we remain committed to continuous improvement,” Walmart said.  



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