Many chains or places that are normally free of muzac have again begun playing it as Christmas approaches. Pret-a- Manger, the sandwich chain, has been in the news recently for playing it. Marks and Spencer, which is otherwise normally quiet, has joined this cacophony. The rationale is that such music creates a seasonally jovial spirit i.e. encourages people to spend even more. That this is not true – that endlessly repeated music drives shoppers who detest it away, to shop online perhaps – is ignored by those responsible, just as they too often ignore the plight of people with hearing difficulties (some 16% of the population), autism, ME and other problems. Hugh Grant has attacked its introduction – ‘Christmas hats and music off please @Pret… It doesn’t make us merry or spend more. It makes us GNASH’ – partly because it is so early in the season.
The natural reaction is to shun such places, but it is far more useful to write pointing out the facts above to the relevant CEOs. That of Pret-a-Manger is: Clive Schlee Clive.Schlee@pret.com
And don’t let’s forget the unfortunate staff working in such places, who may have to hear ‘popular’ Christmas tunes such as Jingle Bells 600 times in the run up to Christmas.