Tuesday, April 03, 2018

"Noise-ick": Must We All Listen to the Same Music in Stores?


In recent posts, I have reported the happy change in some restaurants and stores regarding the music (or Noisic, which is what we are calling the jarring, unsettling, upsetting absurd racket we are forced to hear). 

While  I am sure there has always been street music throughout history in the shopping areas, and the 19th century Victorian-era  shopping experience may have also been noisy, I do not know if it was as obnoxious as it is today. Parents notice their children are fussier and many people suffer from hearing loss today. There might be a connection with the horrid sounds of "popular music" we are all forced to listen to inside the shops.

Above: Late 1800's shopping.


Today I'm giving a flower to Target stores in our area for their silence. There has been no music in Target for several weeks and I have been able to actually think better and make better decisions about my purchases, which is a nice change, since I usually can't wait to get out of the store. I am attracted to their organic bedding, sheets, etc. and I like to take my time.

The silence in the Target stores was so pleasant that I made it a point to compliment every employee and manager I met throughout the premises, as well as leave a good review at Target stores (for their noise management) online.

Above: Late 1800s ladies shoe store. I wonder what kind of music they had to listen to.

Several employees told me that Target management was studying the issue of music (Noisic) to see if shoppers lingered and children were quieter.  I can already observe there are not so many children screaming. I wonder how hard modern music is on these babies and children's ears.

So this is a note to say I had a pleasant time at Target and really enjoyed looking through their linens, both the organic, the cotton-linen blends, the old fashioned percale sheets, and all the woven fabric comforters and blankets were so soothing to see and touch.  Target didn't pay me to say this. Of course I don't know how long this is going to last. Incredibly, there are some people so addicted to Noisic they actually complained that the store was too quiet.


On the other hand, the same day I visited Walmart and flunked them in the noise department. The din was so bad I couldn't hear my cellphone when Mr. S. was trying to find me. When I discovered he had called and I finally connected with him, I couldn't hear a word he said.

We can bring our own music these days, and we need not have to listen to someone else's music. It isn't as though we are too unintelligent to pick out good music.  And besides all the Noisic in Walmart, people were having to increase their own voice volume to be heard by their companions or the cashiers or other employees when help was sought. As much as Walmart studies the market, they ought to be able to pick up on what people are saying about the Noisic issue.  There were a lot more children screaming, and babies crying.

Because we have been in several places with better music and silence, Mr. S. and I cannot help thinking that word is getting out regarding this assault on our ears,  as some customers stay home and order from the web, in the pleasant quiet of their own homes. These places also stand to lose customers who just avoid shopping altogether. There are many people who don't like shopping the web because they can't see the item for what it really is.

There are noise laws prohibiting loud music from cars within a certain distance of residences, so why is it allowed in stores where there is no protection for our hearing? We have choices of where to park, and what to buy in the store. Should we not have a choice about the music?

If anyone really wants that music in a store, they can listen to it on their own earphones.  Even on an airplane, they have figured out how to choose your own music channel without making the person in the seat next to you listen to it. As successful  as some of these businesses claim to be, it's amazing they can't figure out the music issue.

17 comments:

Christine said...

Lydia,
I wholeheartedly agree with you on your opinion about the noise in so many shops and restaurants these days. Even in my doctor's office, they have a radio tuned to a station that is more appropriate for a club or bar. It is certainly not appropriate for the number of older people and middle aged (like myself) who attend for an appointment. I cannot imagine that the majority appreciate sitting for the lengthy period one is often forced to wait to be called, and there is no escape from the assault of shouting singers and obnoxious base. Some months ago, I took the step of emailing the practice manager, but nothing has been done.
I have no objection to music in stores, clinics, restaurants, but perhaps they could all take on board what providing a more relaxed environment it would make for their shoppers/clientele if they could be a little more selective in their choice of genre.
I am happy to hear that your experience with Target was so pleasant. Perhaps, they will set a precedent which others will follow.

carol said...

I agree totally. The music at my local Publix is ridiculously loud. And why are there TVs in every doctors' office, hospital lobby (even ERs) and even the Rehab Center where my husband was? When people are ill or in distress, is this supposed to help them? I vote for total silence.

-carol

Anonymous said...

Thank you Lydia for speaking to management about this issue. I was in Macy's last year and there was horribly loud music with very vulgar lyrics blaring in the store. It was so disturbing I left the store. Maybe next time I will speak to management myself. Lady Liza

Lydia said...

I have learned It is quite effective to post on their website online or on a place specifically designed for reviews for them. There may be places for emailing the store, amd this is helpful, besides contacting them directly. Noise is pollution to the ears and causes brain trauma, just as smoke was pollution to the lungs. Smoking was banned years ago in public places as a health hazard. It is time for noise to be banned because of the health hazard. It's against the law to play loud music from a vehicle when passing through a neighborhood, as it is a disturbance. It should be applicable inside any building, because you are a captive audience and subjected to noise torture.

Lydia said...

We don't need the rv's and such in doctors offices and stores, unless they are selling screens and tvs. People have their own cell phones and if they need to watch something they can being up what they want while waiting. Having tvs in waiting rooms is archaic and behind the times. They are still living in the past.

Jana Crawford said...

As a Christian woman of God striving daily to walk in God's holy spirit and not in my flesh, it's most disturbing to my spirit man and to the holy spirit of God that dwells within me to walk into a store or restaurant that is playing worldly music. Myself, I love music, but only music that glorifies the Lord. And yes, sometimes I like to get away and have some me time, shopping or having dinner with a friend. And sometimes there's enough racket at home from the hussle and bussell of family and everyday life, that's it's nice to enjoy some peace and quiet. But I do want to add something different to the subject. I have found a few places where I know that I can go and enjoy a nice dinner with a friend that plays soft christian music at a low volume that is soothing to my soul. And as astounding as that is, they are generally always packed with customers. One in particular is closed every Sunday in rememberance of the Sabbath day, and has been doing this for years. The twisted side to things like this is that people can come against Christianity because they find it offensive, and they have been known to many times succeed. But when we as Christians come against the ungodly things of this world, we have a battle on our hands so to speak.... I guess there can be found both good and bad in just about anything, but I'm thankful that there are still a few places people can go and enjoy soothing Christian music which sets the atmosphere. You can walk into a place of business that plays secular music and watch the spirit of others and listen to their conversation. Then go to a place of business that offers soothing Christian music that lifts up my Lord and you will see for the most part a difference in behavior and language from others within the store. Who knows, what if the message ministers to someone that the holy spirit of God has been drawing to Himself and God uses that to save a lost soul.... I guess there's always a different angle to just about anything.... I truly am thankful for this ministry you have Lydia. It has blessed me in more ways than you know, and I'm thankful.

MonicasDaughter said...

I agree with you. There are stores I've stopped going into because of the noise pollution.

My H travels a great deal for work and he has informed me that restaurants and other businesses have televisions (multiple) all over the place all blaring away non-stop.

I know of people who leave their TVs on night and day in their own homes. They are completely unhinged by silence.

What does this say about their mental health let alone never being quiet enough to hear the still, small voice of our Lord?

Lydia said...

I notice some people keep tv on all the time because they are not communicating verbally with their children, grandchildren, parents. Old people are left alone too much, young people leave home unnecessarily and they all miss each other's voices. A tv left on is at least the sound of human voices. This is where it is crucial to raise your family talking to each other.

Outdoors said...

I have always been very sensitive to noises. I hate big shopping malls and their loud music, especially on christmas time. I am sure people would actually by more if stores were silent and cozy, little bit like a library in some Oxford college. :)

Jenny said...

Lydia, Target is so good about not having music on. I always found it unusual but very welcome. I have a very difficult time thinking critically with background noise. Before I had my second child, I was always unnerved after a school vacation. I got so used to having my son around during the day, that when he was gone, I needed to have the radio or tv on. After a few days, I was able to tolerate quiet. Now with my toddler, it is rarely quiet.

Janet Westrup said...

I took my mother in law shopping and out to lunch yesterday and noticed the only two stores that had peaceful music was Goodwill Inustries,Sunrise Enterprises and a quiet Asian restaurant that we had lunch at.
It was a very pleasant day in those businesses and we lingered for 6 hours. The came home and had a peaceful cup of tea together.
Thank you bringing up this subject.
Janet Westrup.

Josephine's Girl said...

I am a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) and the mother of a child with high functioning autism. I can assure you both personally and professionally that the modern retail environment is difficult for many individuals to find comfortable. You have only touched on the sensory issue of sound, but lighting is also a tremendous issue. My son, when he was very young, was having nothing short of a sensory melt down in a local super store. The cashier, ignorant of his diagnosis and sensory processing issues, felt compelled to offer her opinion on my parenting skills. It was a sad, hurtful moment for me. My boy, when exposed to a quiet, gently lit environment recovered quickly. So your observation about less screaming children is most likely very accurate. Our culture frequently assaults our sensory systems and it is difficult for many. Thank you for calling attention to this issue with your experience.

Lori Alexander said...

It bothers me most in restaurants. We go out to be able to have good conversation together and usually music is blaring away. I always ask if they will turn it down and they usually do but it is quite annoying to have the music so loud and then all of the other people talking so we can hardly hear each other talk. This is why I much prefer having guests to my home to eat rather than going out. Plus, I know where the ingredients of my food comes from and it is usually more tasty!

Lydia said...


Lori, we eat at hme and we have guests, for the same reasons. But it sometime happens we have to be out, or on a long road trip, and decide to have one hot meal at a restaurant, since there is often a long trip ahead of us. In a Mexican restsurant once we were disappointed there was no Mexican music. Instead, a noisy "salad of pop music. I tuned my phone into a mariachi band and we listened to it T our table. Other people seemed to enjoy it too. Like I said, we can bring our own music and so can other people. It would have the desired effect, and the restsurants would soon prohibit music.

A few weeks ago we had a long errand/shopping trip involving many stops, so we ate at a Mongolian Grill. The music was 1950's and you could hear the words.

Lydia said...

I got online and gave them a good review and said the softer music made the difference between dining and eating.

There is nothing worse than feeling sick or having a headache and then for some reason being around that Noisic

joanie said...

I have been told that managers of many of these stores like Walmart and Krogers etc... don't control the music, the inventory, or whether or not air conditioning or heating is used - their corporate office controls it all. I suppose if one finds this is the case leaving the corporate website complaints is an option. I have left complaints at Kroger's website for a couple of things over the years, but the problem didn't get resolved. I was polite and not demanding in any way, but it fell on deaf ears.. I was considering complaining about the music because it has been so disturbing on many levels for me and for my son who has an illness that is exacerbated by stress, but I wonder if they might view me as someone who just looks for things to complain about. I feel out of place because I have never heard anyone else complain in there about it and it just seems like most employees and some regular shoppers have adapted to the music and every change that comes along. The ones who are not Christian, who, these days seem to be the majority based on behavior I frequently witness.

One good thing I read about Walmart is that they have removed the magazine Cosmopolitan from the check out aisle. So, it does pay to complain and reward, as you did the employees of Target. I shop at Krogers almost daily and have become very familiar with many employees and they work so hard!!! For so little. They amaze me with their good attitudes when I know they are not treated right in many ways. I let them know how much I appreciate them.

Alex said...

I couldn't agree more on this! I hate the blaring noise that passes for music in some of our superstores...I prefer to shop in our small town's individual stores. Besides which, I get frequent visual migraines and this is made worse by the incredibly intrusive 'white noise' you get, whether you wish it or not!
When I take my 95-year-old father out for a treat lunch, we have to ask for music to be turned down a little, so hear can just about hear ~ I realise this may not please everyone, but I think he deserves it as he has helped others all his life. But when we do ask, the waiters/ waitresses always give 'that' look!!
Thank you for raising the issue ~ so glad there are others who feel the same.

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