I remember stopping one time when it was twenty below zero this winter, no one was at the pumps and the same commercial was playing and not a single pump's sound was in sync with another. I felt like I was in a movie about a dystopian future.
Somewhere out there, advertisers are paying dollars for those commercials, and in many cases no-one is listening, or worse - it's causing active irritation to the people who are.
If you think of the commercials as oil, and the speaker systems and infrastructure as pipelines, then cases like this where commercials are on incessant loop are like an unbridled oil spill.
Unfortunately, many advertisers likely aren't metric-savvy enough to realize they're being scammed and not getting a return on their investment; the folks selling the airtime likely take a skim of their deals and use it to wine and dine the advertisers' own staff.
Purchase and persuade one or two layers of staff and management, and you're unlikely to get too much organizational pushback.
Instead, there should be costs placed on the measurable negative externalities here: the stress caused to people who experience this noise pollution, the devaluation of the otherwise quiet, productive environments it seeps into, and the opportunity cost from the resources wasted on building the infrastructure to make it possible in the first place.
Visuals you can look away from. Audio is a form of torture.
I really appreciate Costco gas stations for their no bullshit, pay money, fill gas strategy.
Kind of like an open plan office, you mean.
Actually, you're in the dystopian future itself, it's just that "it's unevenly distributed." https://duckduckgo.com/?q=Future+unevenly+distributed&t=fpas...
The movie will come later.
Assuming they'll still make movies afterwards.
It's from a well-known Gibson quote. Using it the way a3n did is the hacker equivalent of a literary reference, easily recognisible to the well read.
Although in this case, it's simple enough to understand just by reading. Disengage google. Engage self.
Did they mean that they were holding in their hand, somehow, the actual future? That their hand was in tomorrow? No, they did not. What they meant was that the item they were holding would become commonplace in the future.
Think of a technology that became widespread from small beginnings. Let's use electricity as our example. There was a time when electricity was only available to the consumer in some large cities. One could have then said that electricity was the future. When people said that, did they mean that electricity had someone traveled back in time? No, they did not. What they meant was that in the future, electricity would be more commonplace, more widespread. In that situation, in some places - place with freely available electricity - the future had already arrived. In some places - places without freely available electricity - the future had not yet arrived. The future was unevenly distributed.
This isn't Metafilter.
It is Hacker News, though. Expecting people hanging around Hacker News to be familiar with some of the Hacker canon and culture isn't unrealistic.
From a practical perspective, try pressing the second button down on the right. This will mute on most models.
"Okay. I'm gonna get your money for ya. But if you don't get the President of the United States on that phone, you know what's gonna happen to you? You're gonna have to answer to the Coca-Cola company."
At least in my country you'll get into trouble if you tear down billboards, alter advertisement panels/electronics and alike.
I'd link to the relevant Black Mirror episode, but I'm sure we've all seen it.
> Dear <CUSTOMER NAME>,
> Your gas filling experience has been subsidized by our advertising partners (though of course the price went up 10% because we have to build tech to support this), as a result we are currently unable to supply gasoline while the pump based advertising is not being observed. You may contact your local gas station attendant but sadly due to our desire to comply with <HIPAA/other unrelated regulation> they will be unable to abort the ad servicing. Please be aware that the Terms of Service for this pump may change without warning and that by using our gas pump you have agreed to purchase at least one item featured in the advertising roll - failure to do so will be considered a breach of contract and may result in a fine of up to $100,000.
> Here at Friendly Gas we're all about maximizing the value to the customer!
> Thank you for your service,
> John Smith, Friendly Gas CEO
And... it might be a bit hard to enforce the breach of contract portion, but pretty sure everything else in that is legal in today's world.
source: learned by mashing all of those buttons in blind rage trying to get it to stop.
I was not happy.
And I wish I was exaggerating. Seven seconds.
Pro tip I came across online a bit back: pressing one of the buttons on the right will mute the screen. In my experience the button one down from the top on the right works.
> If I have to listen to ads, that means the gas is free.
Two subtly different but related (and debatable) definitions of the term.
It's like one of those companies that feels the right to force a full page ad on websites that needs to stay up for x seconds, or requires some special user interaction. It is (very unfortunately) effective and making people remember your brand but people hate you for it.
or, go to a random non-high-end department store or supermarket in Japan. Every couple of meters there's a ghetto blaster advertising something with "background" music on full blast, while there is already loud background music from the store itself. Extreme levels of cacophony and one of the couple of things I hate about that place with a passion.
Nowadays, I get irritated when I've burned through a 2 hour playlist twice at work and need to find something else to listen to, but I totally take the ability to change my music for granted.
They did not like this. For whatever reason, which they refused to explain to me, they insisted I played their stupid mix that had been playing for months. As I was given no good reason, and was paid minimum wage, I just kept doing my thing and playing newer and better music.
One day I showed up and they had duct-taped the lid of the CD tray to the stereo so no one could open it with a note in all caps saying "DO NOT CHANGE THE CD IN THIS STEREO". I promptly went to the hardware aisle, got a box cutter, and sliced that son'bitch open, this time chucking their CD in the garbage, and continued on being DJ.
They gave up after that. lol And surprisingly they didn't fire me, even though they could have easily replaced me with some younger kid who would have done whatever they wanted.
But I quit soon after since the holidays had come and I knew I was going to have to play "Jingle Bells Rock" a thousand times, and I knew I couldn't really get out of that.
When my boss asked me why I was quitting, I said "I found a better job."
Could licensing have been the reason? Not sure about the US, but in Europe, you frequently need a separate license to play songs in stores, bars or really any kind of public venue. I imagine this is probably even stricted in the US. So the crappy mix might have been the only thing they had bothered buying licenses for - and they might have been afraid to get sued when playing anything else.
I still can feel the pain though, and I have no idea why the bosses didn't even bother to give a reason. So I guess quitting was the best thing to do.
My main boss was pretty miserable but loved ordering people around like he was the king. He once tried to convince me to go to a conference about cell phones, on my own time and my own money, because... I don't know, I guess he thought I needed to know more about the devices I was selling. I never had problems selling phones to people or helping people with issues, so of course I didn't do it.
Because why would you empower someone to fix problems, when you can give them just enough authority to act as a glorified day care overseer and only pay them a couple bucks more than their employees?
Maybe if I like 'x' brand, I'll also enjoy their store playlist... could be the key to finding lots of great music.
It actually is. My wife has the sort of job where she spends a lot of time in high-end retail stores, and at that level the music is very important so she's very aware of it.
It's not just selecting the right music, but making sure your company isn't playing the same songs as the competition.
CBS Sunday Morning had a nice long piece about this last year.
Reminds me of working in a big box electronics store during college. One day I answer the phone and the line sounds dead, but I say "hello" a few times and a woman finally acknowledges me and then goes on a long rant about what the world is coming to and she can't believe it. She eventually gets to her relevant question and I answer it. I didn't think too much of it because strange interactions with customers aren't all that rare.
A few hours later I answer another call and it's a teenage boy and he's just laughing but quickly acknowledges me and we sort out his problem. Again, didn't really think too much of it.
The third call I got was from the store manager. "Oh my god. What is going on over there?" "What do you mean?" "Nevermind, go check the hold music CD and change it to something else. Anything else." "Was that it?" "Ya". I go change the CD and carry on.
About an hour later the night shift restock crew comes in. A few minutes later one of them comes out and asks me if I had seen a CD he left in the warehouse CD player last night. My eyes open like I've seen a ghost and he's like, "What?"
The thing you have to know is that the night crew are all West African and they listen to the most hardcore gangster rap you've ever heard in your motherfucking life. The warehouse stereo he's talking about is actually for the store's PBX (phone system). It was in the back warehouse and there was a small bookshelf stereo system next to it with a CD player that was on loop to feed the hold music into the phone system.
After the store closes and the phones stop ringing, the night crew switches the CD to their music. Apparently someone had turned the volume down to take a phone call so they forgot that CD was still in the transport. The amp volume doesn't affect the line out volume so it was still feeding the phone system.
We laughed. Oh, we laughed so hard. Then I paged all the other employees over and told the story and they laughed too. The assistant manager laughed the hardest, then he went and called the store manager. He already knew of course.
The warehouse crew was no longer allowed to use the hold music stereo.
I've a lot of sympathy for retail people since then.
But what I find interesting is back then you just put up with it. Awful repetition was just an accepted part of a minimum wage job then. Nowadays, we question everything. I do think our questioning is a good thing though.
Now after 20 years in Canada, I really miss it. Nothing here is the same as it is in the UK when it comes to Christmas traditions. There's no carolers, the smells aren't the same, the shops aren't the same. Everything that made Christmas Christmas to me is missing. For everything I love about living in Canada, that's been the hardest thing about living here instead of where I grew up.
I actually have a Christmas playlist made up entirely of Christmas songs from when I was a kid to try and kick start my Christmas mood when the season rolls around :D
Growing up in Canada, I thought carolers and olde-timey Christmas themes only happened in movies these days. Are these traditions still alive in the UK?
Speaking more broadly, there has been an effort in many rural areas to maintain and revive particular local cultural traditions. Perhaps the most spectacular such tradition is the tar barrels in Ottery St Mary, but I'm also rather fond of the Royal Ashborne Shrovetide Football game and the multitude of mumming and wassailing traditions.
and the Shrovetide Football with only 1 rule?! :'D That's insane!
Only in England! I miss you guys :D
Another thing I struggled to find this year in my local area was midnight mass. This just doesn't seem to be a big thing here either. The best I could find was a 10pm mass, which just doesn't seem to cut the mustard... plus what's with the singing carols to the wrong tunes?
Grab a couple of neighbors and go caroling yourself. In my experience it can snowball quite rapidly if somebody actually gets it rolling...
No one ever noticed except for us employees, and it was so, soooo much better than hours of the same five songs on repeat.
Playing christmas music is surely the quickest way to drive me away from your store.
Note: I then got Gold/Platinum ranking, started boarding sooner, and so got exposed to the music even more!
Note 2: International flights have much longer boarding periods and usually large plans, so the time intro music is played is long.
This movie was ahead of it's time. :)
By having something similar to the volume of conversation, you make conversation both "safe" and less distracting. Safe since speaking won't break some period of silence that is bound to happen. Breaking silence in a populated area requires a certain amount of social tension, "Why is everyone quiet? Will I bother people if I talk here?" etc. Less distracting since there is no period of silence for someone to break. The two people talking to each at a normal volume no longer become loudest thing in the room and the center of attention, they're just "lost in the noise". Many references can be found for these concepts, but I apologize for not providing them.
Sound masking would be more ideal for concentration, but I'm sure the regular Starbucks patrons would be a bit confused at constant "hoooshhhh" sounds of a noise generator.
You can find a few quiet coffee shops with very quiet music, but it's extremely awkward having a conversation in a place like this. I don't frequent these places with company.
Sound masking is very dubious with respect to the ADA - you're deliberately making it harder to understand speech, which has obvious implications for hearing-impaired guests or employees.
Most retailers want to set a mood that attracts their target demographic groups. In some clothing stores that serve women age 30-40, they play pop music that was in vogue 10-15 years ago, when these customers were in their teens or twenties and had more youthful energy, knowing this music was a very big part of their lives.
It wouldn't surprise me if music were also intended by PR/marketing types to put these customers in the same frame of mind they were in when they were most socially vulnerable (their teens?), when fashion was a necessary way to become more popular... or less unpopular, anyway.
I presume your comment was addressed to businesses, but I've noticed it for people as well; there seems to be a growing trend of believing that it's perfectly OK to listen to music, or watch TV, in public, without headphones, and without even a minimal attempt to lower the volume. I've noticed this increasingly over time in the US on trains and—this one really gets me—in the bathroom. (I suppose I can see watching a video in there, but without headphones?)
Those bloody bluetooth speakers are too cheap. It's so rude IMO to force everyone to be subjected to your noise.
I know that I am weird but this makes me just want to run away,.
They want mindless binge drinkers, not talkers.
It's weird because I feel I'd drink more when I'm comfortable, with music audible but not loud enough to drown out conversation or be too offensive.
I'm friends with a lot of bar owners, and have had a few bars in the family in the past.
Owners don't want someone getting plastered. We want the high functioning alcoholic who orders 3 pints to his partner's 1 and draws his friends to come to the pub with him every night or two.
For 30$, you can make yourself enough very nice booze, flavoured to your tastes, as you would be able to get for $300 or so at a bar.
As for the direct question: different bars have different purposes, which is why there are so many different types.
Bars in the financial district are often vehicles to waste money as a social display. Bars in the artistic sector are often vehicles to meet likeminded poor, but cool, artists and misfits. Bars in residential areas are normally places to relax and have a few pints. Bars in the nightlife areas are normally places to meet people. Some bars have good food. Some bars have cheap drinks. Some bars have great music. Some bars have familiar staff.
There's a bar near where I used to live that offers manicures, male model servers and foot rubs. A few streets down is a sports bar which seems to employ exceptionally chesty waitresses. As you might imagine, the target demographic for each is different.
They might actually be the least efficient retail or service venue for achieving that purpose.
It's not terribly surprising that people that choose to spend a lot of time interacting via text vs. conversation (e.g. programming) could have sensory processing disorders. Research in auditory processing disorder is relatively young, but at least some cases can be objectively diagnosed with FFR https://journals.lww.com/thehearingjournal/FullText/2016/080...
If you have difficulties understanding speech, it's worth talking to an audiologist; you can effectively train for this! https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29056453
It's also worth noting that auditory processing disorder is associated with autism spectrum disorder. I'm particularly interested in the various etiologies of autism, and whether the traits of 'minor' autism are well explained by simple sensory or sensory-processing disorders.
As I was trying to scream in my friends ear, I looked around, just drunk. No one there was exchanging ideas.
Obviously not all places are like this, but I didn't need to go back there.
I know a few people that for some reason feel the need to narrate what I can see with my own eyes.
Some people have a strong urge to socialize. I was on a long drive with one guy like that, there were four of us in the truck. He'd go for almost exactly 3 and a half minutes before he'd start talking, then get an "uh huh" response, and go awkwardly silent again. He was pretty consistent, this pattern repeated a good dozen times.
Don't forget about the Nostalgia Critic-style "review" videos that are actually just an extended summary of the source material.
― Sathya Sai Baba
The big impediment though, is loiterers. If there is a problem with people loitering in or in front of your store that tends to drive away more people than the music will.
eg if I'm going to the mall to buy a shirt, I'm not really interested in how many "loiterers" are in the store browsing, I just want to go in and buy a shirt.
If the music's offensive then I'm not going in at all.
I'm sure they've done studies and focus groups and whatever, it's just odd to me that even with all the comments here to the contrary, businesses still think they're going to make more by making their stores unpleasant to go into.
I have quite a bit of discretionary income so I would have thought I'd be a desired customer, but malls are so unpleasant that I do almost all of my buying online.
Depends. Some places just like it, but a lot of it is to shoo loiterers away.
>eg if I'm going to the mall to buy a shirt, I'm not really interested in how many "loiterers" are in the store browsing, I just want to go in and buy a shirt.
You're not thinking like a status conscious retailer. Some retailers prefer to not have people of certain races be seen associated with their brands. Their target market will be disinclined from shopping there.
Also, in many cases loiterers actually just intimidate people.
Classical music is actually really mentally engaging. I've tried listening to stuff like Brahms or Gershwin while working and it's kind of hard. Chamber music is designed to be kind of ambient and inoffensively bland, but most of what's on a classical album just engages your brain too much to let you focus on what you're doing. Even if people don't realize that's what they're listening to, I can see how just being around it a lot can get agitating unless you can consciously tune it out.
Couple that with the countless people using their phones at max brightness, and I would've just preferred keeping the cabin lights on.
What's wrong with a bit of quiet reflection?
As much as I dislike their music choices usually, I kind of understand why they have it going. Though a redesign of their interiors could probably do a lot to help the empty echoey feeling without constant music.
There are other sites that do a similar thing. This one just has a memorable name.
Anyhow, I used to go into the office and turn off the music at night. The silence you speak of was my entire excuse for turning it off: Corporate expected us to do things in the store at night, yet wait on customers like normal. The added benefit was that the store was sooo peaceful without the bad covers plus adverts they played on a loop.
But this is a surprisingly terrible article. Guantanamo bay, really? Quoting a no-name Adam Johnson with a head shot, unrelated to the source, to weigh in on music? Focusing on Starbucks as linkbait when this is ubiquitous?
> Earlier this year, irritated Starbucks employees took to Reddit to rage about how they had to listen to the same songs from the Broadway hit musical Hamilton on repeat while on the job. One user wrote that if they heard a Hamilton song one more time, "I'm getting a ladder and ripping out all of our speakers from the ceiling."
At a smaller cafe, I'd imagine employees would get much more control over what music to play (often I've noticed it's just some employee's phone plugged into the speakers).
Around that same time, I had my own home recording studio and sometimes wound up recording musicians that were on the scale of bad to downright terrible. If I reacted negatively to the sound they made, that would only make them want to re-record it, which meant I'd have to hear it again. I quickly learned how to keep a straight face and mentally treat the music like background noise or focus intently on the parts of it that weren't too bad.
They had the same 6 songs playing on repeat all damn day, every single day. It was tortuous.
That was the second worst thing about that place. The first being the hourly spray of chemical fumes everywhere for their signature smell.
It was Russian Roulette with the revolver loaded when mom ask what music you want to listen to. You want audio arsenic or audio cyanide?
This makes me think of Groundhog Day, and how brilliantly the film used the repetition of I've Got You Babe to show how the protagonist was going crazy.
cover of Convoy by Mannheim Steamroller
The 1980s McCall-branded reunion album ("Comin' Back for More"?) is good.
That sounds like a really oppressive school. hope you made it out OK.
* White Wedding by Billy Idol
* I Am The Walrus by the Beatles
I may have the order reversed.
You were lucky!
Some of us could only walk through the snow uphill one way!
I don't doubt that this is a problem, but this isn't a good look at it.
The Family Mart welcome song is probably the most recognizable but the same goes for stores like Bic Camera and many others.
Don don don, donki, don quijote...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJyYrrDKYZE (Don Quijote)
Kamera wa yodobashi kamera!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4QSu1ZHunw (Yodobashi Camera)
How do marketers come up with such reliably earwormy stuff? Are there papers I can go read about this?
But yeah, I feel for the retail employees in Japan. Several of the franchises and chains jingles really get to you after a while. I think Don Quixote and Lawson are worse, because they actually have vocals.
It's just on a completely different level. The same 45-something-seconds jingle on loop, perpetually 24/7, interspersed with ads.
There was another time I worked in a factory job for a year, and the forewoman would blast the local Top 40 station throughout the whole factory all day every day. I would hear the same songs 3 or 4 times a day every day I worked there that entire year. To this day I get flashbacks whenever I hear Kylie Minogue's "Can't Get You Out of My Head" (specifically the "la la la, la la, la la la" chorus. Drove me nuts hearing that all the time).
Roughly explained in this excerpt:
> "Corporate big bucks and avant-garde music aren’t the most obvious bedfellows — but throw user experience into the mix, and you’ve got a viable cultural phenomenon: kankyō ongaku. In 1980s Japan, as the country continued to enjoy an unprecedented post-war boom, it became the world’s second-largest economy; companies like Sanyo and Muji pumped cash into the arts to enhance the experiences for its consumers."
For anyone interested I highly recommend the physical editions of the release as they include twice as many tracks (digital rights for japanese music are very complicated), some of them very rare and released for the first time outside Japan. In addition they come with a hardcover book featuring extensive liner notes and an essay explaining the circumstances and setting.
However there are digital versions with a limited track selection: 
In the last year or two, I've noticed Panera has been playing godawful music that makes it nearly impossible to sit down, relax, and work on something.
It works of course, but now I just don't go at all.
SF at 4th and King was the lone exception.
Shame it takes them 10 minutes to make an Americano: they're often very busy washing the sugary goop out of the blender containers...
At some point they moved in to promoting video in store, which got worse. The CDs they'd send were samplers, but the "now play this VHS tape"... the Garth Brooks concert VHS... ugh - however much you like him, having to listen to it 2x/day for weeks... (at least it seemed like weeks)
It took two shifts for me to fill a disc with <cough> backups <cough> of dozens of Disney/Pixar/etc movies. Once I broke 50 hours of video, I stopped being able to recite it at will.
I suppose it depends on the type of Starbucks.
In the United States, a venue can be fined for playing music without a license. An acquaintance of mine has a restaurant and was sued for playing music that was unlicensed.
Not that most of the bars that I go to actually read the T&C's. I've heard Spotify adverts in some...
A lot of bars I go to are basically 'DJ'ing with Spotify taking requests from punters etc.