To echo the excellent Mr Murray’s fine piece (MW last week) about the lack of quiet and calm in the environment, perhaps the totally irrelevant use of music in supermarkets should also be addressed.
Surely the multibuy offers, loyalty cards and various Bogof campaigns through which all the supermarket groups try to increase our expenditure would not be needed if only they were prepared to cease broadcasting at us as we try to shop.
With the ever more complex information on food labels, metric and imperial measures, pricing, new products, special offers and whatever else all contributing to an increasingly stressful shopping experience, I cannot be alone in finding decision-making harder when my auditory sense, and therefore my attention, is being blocked by distorted screeches masquerading as music.
Don’t get me wrong, I play and listen to music frequently, but through good quality equipment and at my time of choosing to help me relax.
Who decided that the one element that was absolutely necessary for every shopping trip was someone wailing at the top of his or her lungs while harrassed shoppers try to choose between fat free, virtually fat free, 98 per cent fat free and all the myriad other choices involved in the weekly shop?
Has any work ever been done to show that stressed and harassed people having to squeeze a two-hour supermarket run into their ever-shrinking week do not respond well to distorted and intrusive music played at them?
It surprises me that none of the big supermarkets or their suppliers have tried switching off the music at advertised times to see whether sales increase. Why not have a poster or two in the premises with “Thursday’s quiet evening shopping experience will be sponsored by (insert product here), who will be offering (insert percentage here) off all marked prices of their goods”.
Go on, someone be brave. It won’t cost you anything.
National Railway Museum
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