/ Shopping

Which shops play the most annoying background music?

Fingers in ears

We’ve had lots of requests to cover annoying music in shops, from radio stations in supermarkets to pop hits in tech stores. So we want to know which shops and music irritates you the most.

A bunch of Which? members have been in in touch to tell us how annoying they find it when they’re forced to listen to music in shops.

I must admit, I only ever notice if it’s a song I particularly don’t like – or if it’s too early in November for me to be able to stomach festive pop.

I’ve got particularly fond memories of Gorillaz’s ‘Dare’ coming on in a clothes shop, and all the customers and staff spontaneously dancing along. But, for me, shop music is generally something that usually washes over me. Or does it?

How music in shops affects you

There have been numerous studies that have discovered that the volume, speed and type of music played does have an effect on a shopper’s behaviour.

Unsurprisingly, loud music makes people spend less time in a shop. If you’re in a supermarket, music doesn’t affect how much you buy, but it does mean you make your way through the store more quickly. This means that the supermarket can get customers in and out more quickly, freeing up space in the car park and at tills, without seeing a drop in profits.

Slower music is likely to result in shoppers spending more time in a store, and thus buying more. And classical music is more likely to make people spend more compared to pop.

But if a shop gets the type of music wrong (the latest pop hits for over-25s, or easy listening for under-25s) then customers reportedly think that they’ve spent more time in store than they actually have.

So, with all this research to hand, which shops are getting their music wrong and what is it that’s irritating their customers so much? Are there any particular shops that stand out for you for their poorly-chosen, too-loud music? Or are you a shop worker who’s being driven mad by the same songs being played on a loop?

And do you feel the same about music in restaurants and pubs?

Comments
Guest
Christine says:
10 December 2014

Well so much for our little protest on the Co-op Facebook page, most of it has been removed! Were they finding it too hot to handle I wonder?

Guest

But well done for trying. Even when they disagree with something, it’s a rare person that doesn’t turn it around in their head and wonder whether they are doing the right thing. And as they say: constant dripping wears away stone . .

Guest

Don’t think the comments have disappeared, Chris. I can still access them. In fact you have a new comment!

Guest
Christine says:
11 December 2014

Yes you are right Dave we are still there, just a bit further down in the pecking order. No comment yet from the Co-op team though, unless I can’t see that either!

Guest

Enjoyed reading all the comments on your Co-op Facebook thread last night, Christine, especially the final one from the employee who was retiring after so many years and couldn’t wait to escape the music. However, when I went back in this morning to add a comment, the thread had disappeared. Just a solitary one from you, Christine. Couldn’t work out if this was a new thread or your last comment on the old one. Seems a shame if you have lost the remainder of the conversation. Can anyone else access it? (I have added to your latest comment).

Guest

Ah, I can access the Co-op conversation again, Christine! Don’t know what happened yesterday. And don’t know why this particular conversation on the Co-op has been split into two sections. Let’s keep up the pressure!

Guest
Adrian Rudge says:
10 December 2014

I wonder if I, and perhaps others, have the nerve to go into ,say, Marks and Spencer with large headphones on with stickers on each side saying ” I hate piped music”!

Guest
lizbie says:
10 December 2014

They would treat you with contempt.

Guest

Good article in today’s “Times” by Carol Midgley. She has written about piped music in shops before. She thinks the situation is getting worse and highlights an actual DJ in the entrance of Kurt Geiger.