Thursday, September 30, 2010

Landscape behind a petrol station, Santa Monica; music in public places

Landscape behind a petrol station, Santa Monica, oil on card, 13.1 x 10 cm

Another beautifully sunny day.

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Today I became annoyed about music in a shop: I love music and the stuff they play in shops and restaurants is rubbish. In bars they often play it at such a loud volume that is it difficult to converse without shouting: I don't understand what's wrong with silence.

Moveover, I like to be able to choose when I hear music. There is a campaign against this aural pollution in the UK, but I don't know if there is one here in Brazil.

I often ask for music/muzak to be turned off. There are several usual responses-

1. Patronising, pseudo-concerned: "don't you like this music?" The best response here is, "No. Please turn it off". Usually when you get the pseudo-concern it's a technique to fence you off.

2. "Sorry this is our policy". No further discussion: muzak stays on.

3. "It isn't up to us-it's a head office policy"- muzak stays on. Ask to see the manager and are briskly told the same thing, and given a whole load of bollocks about some survey they did.

4. They turn it down, but not much. So you ask again. If they think you're going to be bolshy, or leave, or you are certain to spend a good sum of money or are the only client you've a good chance of getting the music off alteogether for the period you are there.

5. They turn it down for about two minutes, then turn it back up- as if you won't notice! In this case you ask again. And again, until they realise not to take the piss.

6. They turn it off altogether. This happens occasionally.

7 "But the customers/clients prefer it": an amusing thing to do on getting this line is to ask one of the other customers near, "do you mind if this muzak is turned off". They invariably say "I don't mind if they turn it off, no problem", and continue with whatever they are doing.

As with all complaints, the thing is to be cheerful and polite. This is often difficult as the muzak itself is such an irritant. I often don't enter places with muzak but sometimes they are impossible to avoid.

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