There is no doubt that shopping can be either one of the best things or one of the worst things to do for anyone. But imagine if you had the added stress of not being able to get around as easily? Or bright lights, loud bangs and difficult walkways causes you anxiety? Or you simply find the entire environment and experience overwhelming to your senses?
People with disabilities can often struggle to get a great shopping experience due to a lack of support in shopping centres. That is why Union Square has a desire to help those with disabilities by having awareness event, Purple Tuesday on Tuesday 12th November 2019.
Union Square has described the day as “an international call to action focused on improving the customer experience for disabled people”. They are using the day as way to acknowledge that people with disabilities do come across issues all the time in public spaces and that these inconveniences shouldn't occur.
The activities that Union Square will be hosting are listed below:
Union Square will have two quiet hours which are from 11am to 12pm and from 4pm to 5pm. They are asking the shops to turn off their music, encouraging them to make as little noise as they can and to switch off or dim lights where it is possible to do so. The complex will turn off their sound machines- which omit bird noises- in the east and south mall during quiet hours.
Union Square will also have a quiet place available in Shopmobility as well as the newly refurbished family room. Their duty teams will be on hand to help anyone looking for a quiet place if required.
The shopping arcade will be switching off their Christmas lights for the entire awareness day to help those who struggle with sensory issues.
In Union Square, the Customer Service Desk and Shopmobility Aberdeen will be providing fidget toys, ear defenders and sunglasses if needed. The mall stated that these sensory masking devices will be available throughout the year.
Shopmobility Aberdeen will also be explaining the equipment available to hire out during the shopping experience in Union Square and they will speak to the public to raise more awareness of the services they can provide. The charities aim is to increase independence, freedom, self-esteem and choice for people with disabilities.
One Stop Shop will be in the south mall of Union Square outside of Deichmann promoting the charity and what their purpose is as well as displaying art created by people on the autistic spectrum.
One Stop Shop are in partnership with Triple A in order to give an informal training session on understanding autism and its symptoms to their security and cleaning teams on Monday 11th November and Tuesday 12th November. Union Square said this will improve their customer service and accessibility to the shopping centre.
The shopping centre also provides a quiet hour every Sunday from 11am to 12pm.
Here’s hoping that Union Square can continue their initiative to both boost awareness of various disabilities and make people affected by disabilities more comfortable when shopping in the future.