/ Shopping

Your view: background music in shops

Man with fingers in ears

With 260 comments, our debate about music in shops has been making a lot of noise. Here’s a round-up of your comments, including one commenter who actually enjoys listening to tunes while she shops.

Alison finds background music in shops torturous:

‘I regard piped music in shops, public places, restaurants, etc. an invasion into my personal audio space and respond by turning round and leaving. Vote with your wallet is my advice.

‘However, there are areas where it can’t be avoided, such as surgeries, hospitals, and so on which I find intrusive, stressful and unnecessary.

‘It is no surprise to learn that the Americans use loud pop music as a form of torture – personally, I’d spill all the state secrets of which I might be in possession.’

Clare votes with her feet:

‘I don’t go into shops if I can hear music playing from outside and agree with those who regard this as noise pollution. If I’ve entered a shop and there is music I get out again as quickly as possible (sometimes close to panic stricken) and almost always without buying anything at all.’

What’s worse than music in shops? When you can’t escape it. Here’s Malbec:

‘I have decided that the worst culprit of all is Ikea at Croydon. Not only do they play the most annoying trash, you can’t escape quickly because of their maze of aisles stopping one from finding the exit. First and last time I visit.’

Background music in B&Q

B&Q is a popular example in the comments. Alan is one of many to mention them:

‘I have just written to B&Q complaining about the music being played in its stores – I have advised them that I now only visit its stores to view a specific product before immediately returning home and ordering it on-line (not from B&Q) and the product is also invariably cheaper.’

Bob’s fed up with the bad covers in B&Q:

‘B&Q – they cannot be bothered to play original versions of great songs so they use appalling copies. To me it just conveys a message that the company is in such desperate straits that it cannot afford a royalty fee and its days are numbered.’

It’s not just shops, restaurants are invaded by background music too, as Dudley shares:

‘I am tired of music in restaurants. It makes everybody speak louder to their fellow diners and in the end the ambient noise of music and diners shouting at each other is so loud that I can’t hear what others are saying on my table. In the end I switch off.’

Customers and staff singing along

It’s not just the music that annoys Diane; it’s also the customers who sign along:

‘Now I know this sounds curmudgeonly but one thing that I don’t think anyone’s mentioned is that when businesses play music, what’s even worse is that customers and staff alike feel compelled to sing along to the song often in a loud voice. I recently had to endure a customer singing to the song being played and he was totally out of tune, thereby adding to my misery!’

I’d like to end on a counterpoint. Here’s Janet who does like background music:

‘Am I the only one? I quite like background music. Was in B&Q the other day and found myself humming cheerfully along to something from the 70s as I flitted around the aisles. Then I popped into Sainsbury’s, don’t often go there, and noticed how quiet it was; the whole place felt like a ghost town, really depressing, I didn’t stay long. Bring on the Pharrell Williams I say.’

Does background music make you Happy? Or do you long for silence?

Comments
Guest
Alison Browning says:
25 March 2017

I hate modern chart music as its just rap/hip hop and manufactured rubbish it drives me nuts I go shopping to buy food,clothes etc NOT listen to music, even worse in cafes where radio flippin 1 is playing , if cafes are going to have back ground music it should not be so loud you can’t hear your friends talking and it should be pop classics not that hideous rap stuff thats there all the time.

Guest

Its just a “Rap ” for me too Alison all you get now is screeching voices that would never have made it 40 years or more ago but for all the digital “conditioning ” of their voices to pass the modern “screech ” test . In the 50,s the media condemned Rock,n, Roll but at least you could understand the words and the singer at least attempted to be musical . Whats that line that Princess Diane ,s favourite singer said – money for nothing and the chicks for free — I remember-Dire Straits . Most of that terrible “Musak ” plays on Radio 1