Why Do They Play Music in Public Places?Music

First, let’s recognize we all enjoy music.

We may enjoy it when we want to relax.

We may enjoy it at a party.

And we may enjoy it in a movie.

Now, you may have noticed that music is being played in public places, everywhere.

This article describes common situations and the effect they have on you.


Music in Elevators

They play music in elevators so that people can avoid having to talk to strangers.

This is rather benign compared to the situations described below.


Music While Shopping

Loud, vocal music distracts you from logical thinking.

Thus, it discourages reading labels, evaluating products, and making decisions.

In total, it makes you a less disciplined shopper.

It can also ruin the shopping experience.

For example, once I had a headache by the time I left the store.


Music with Ads

Some stores play music with ads.

This is very clever.

Just before each ad, there’s a moment of silence.

As a result, people relax their resistance to the noise. And that causes them to pay more attention to the ads.


Music During Negotiations

Auto dealers play music because it puts the customer at a disadvantage during the price negotiation.

Then there’s another trick they play on customers.

When you go for a test drive, the sales person will turn on the radio. Loud.

This prevents you from doing two important things:

1) It inhibits logical thinking.

2) It prevents you from listening to how the vehicle performs.

Both of these reduce your ability to make good decisions. And bad decisions will always cost you money.

When I test drive a car, I turn off the radio. I turn off the air conditioner. And I turn off the conversation.

I also tell the sales person that I want to listen to how the car performs.


Music in Restaurants

Fast music makes people eat faster. As a result, they eat too much.

It also inhibits conversation. As a result, people finish eating in less time.

So some restaurants play fast, loud, vocal “junk” because it helps them sell more food in less time. While that’s good for profits, it’s bad for you.

You end up eating too much, too fast, without enjoying the dining experience.

Example: Once I asked a restaurant manager to turn off the music.

Within a minute, everybody began talking.

This matters because every relationship is a conversation.

So enjoying conversation during a meal is part of maintaining a vital relationship.

Note to Restaurants: If you must play something, play something that is generic and soothing, such as adagios, nocturnes, or such. Then play it softly so that it stays in the background.


What Can You (the Customer) Do?

You can:

1) Ask the manager to turn off (or turn down) the music.

2) If someone rejects your request, ask to speak to that person’s boss.

3) Walk out. And tell them why you’re leaving.

4) Go outside to negotiate or eat.

5) Shop elsewhere, or shop on-line.

6) Phone customer service. Of course, be polite and be positive.

7) Write a letter.

8) Send them an e-mail with a link to this article.

9) Share this article with others so that they can help you.

10) Wear ear plugs.

While one person may have a small influence, many people can cause change.

Imagine for example, what might happen if thousands of people called a company’s headquarters office to complain about the music being played in their stores.

If enough customers complained, the company would choose silence.


Preserving Silence, One Article at a Time


Find More at:

Why Silence – Blog post on the Power of Silence

Are You as Sick of Loud Music in Stores as I Am? – Article about music in stores