The charity Pipedown is at the forefront of trying to quieten everything down a bit. They have already had some success in stopping piped music in supermarkets, and now are trying to do the same in hospitals, where people literally can’t get away. Other noises that disturb are drills, car alarms, people shouting on phones, yawning loudly and slurping. Barking dogs often are due to bored dogs, so keep dogs well-exercised and use positive dog training, and this issue will usually solve itself. Experts suggest creating a quiet room with no electronics for quality sleeping (if pets like to be with you while you work, get a simple quiet laptop and wait until they are snoozing, until you switch on). Dog expert Alexandra Horowitz suggests also replacing LED bulbs with flicker-free versions, as conventional ones can be like a ‘disco bulb’ to pets.
One place where loud noise is really annoying, is if you have to shop in supermarkets. The fact that Morrisons has now had to introduce a ‘quiet hour’ some mornings, shows how irritating many people find it during the rest of the day. And co-op supermarket plays excessively loud music, totally disrespectful to those who don’t like it. And if you don’t live near an organic farm shop, you often have no choice but to shop there. It’s not only annoying, but also disrespectful to their older shoppers, who likely don’t want to listen to blasting pop tunes, while they get their bread and veggies. If you wonder why they do this, why do you think? That’s right, money. Just like McDonald’s using red and yellow colours to increase people’s appetites, if you are stressed and tired, you tend to eat more so will spend more.
I wish my life had background music, so I could understand what the hell was going on. Anon
The Problems of Piped Music
Pipedown president Nigel Rogers says that it’s ‘all rubbish’ when shop owners say you are the only one to complain. Opinion polls show that nearly everyone does not like piped music, it’s just that most people simply leave, rather than make a formal complaint. And people with hearing impairments may also find it almost impossible to hear people talk, if piped music is in the background.
It’s not just shops; piped music is also played in restaurants and pubs (leading to people not being able to hear each other’s conversations), doctor and dentist surgeries (there is proof that people’s blood pressure goes up, if waiting to give blood while listening to piped music) and even car showrooms and would you believe it – funeral parlours? In some countries, piped music is forced into public parks, but at least we don’t live in one town in Indiana (US) where $20,000 was recently spent to install 32 street lamps, which blare out big band swing music to its 52,000 residents.
Journalist Harry Wilson says he could never work in a supermarket that plays loud music all day ‘It is blasting, wailing, thumping, lamenting, caterwauling, clanging and banging at all times – throughout the entire work shift. It would quickly drive me nuts’. Actress Joanna Lumley says that she leaves shops that play ‘hellish piped-in music’. She’s not far off the mark – the American military actually plays loud pop music, as part of their torture procedures to extract information from people they have captured.
Two stores that play very loud music are Co-op supermarkets and B & Q. Co-op says it plays the music ‘to add to the pleasant atmosphere’. How some little old lady without access to a car (so needs to shop at her local supermarket) is going to have ‘added atmosphere’ by listening to loud rap music, when she’s buying a loaf of bread is anyone’s guess. Real food campaigner Michael Pollan says the reason music is used in stores is to encourage people to buy more. Certain beats make people feel stressed and rushed, so they are more likely to buy high-profit junk food. Wonder why the Co-op does not play relaxing classical music at a low volume? Now you know. It’s all about eeking out as much profit as possible, even at your mental health’s expense.
Ban Christmas Piped Music Too
This is even worse: like Finns, we are a naturally happily miserable country, so forcing people to sing along to terrible covers of bad Christmas carols in shops, makes things even worse. The charity Freedom for Animals allows you to complain to them, to try to stop reindeer, owls and other creatures being scared and stressed, when they are forced to sit amid bright lights with loud music, in order to ‘entertain local children’ at Christmas. Reindeer in particular live lives aking to some circus animals, travelling the country to provide entertainment in unnatural environments. No reindeer in nature would eat odd food, sit under hot lights or listen to ‘Jingle Bells’ on repeat. Some have been so stressed, they have tried to escape and been found wandering the streets or venturing into car parks.
Staff particularly suffer during the festive period, having to listen to the same songs over and over again, until it almost drives them insane. helping to get Marks & Spencer to stop playing piped music, with some supermarkets (like Waitrose) not playing it all anyway. Waterstones booksellers have also stopped playing it thanks to them.