Dance Party USA, whether you want it or not.

24 Jan

Does this sound familiar? You enter a restaurant / café / business and you are barraged by a wall of sound–hard pumping music while you’re trying to get a coffee. You can barely hear the server, they can barely hear you. Why is this a good idea?

There are days I feel like I’m the only one who notices. However, one of my ADD superpowers is that I have an incredible sensitivity to sound, so I can notice sounds that most people don’t actually hear. So when they pump up the tunes, it’s rather painful. As a result I have a couple theories about this little phenomenon.

Nothing Attracts the Crowd like the Crowd

This is the actual theory behind most bar managers and restaurant owners–if you have pumping music in your store, it sounds like people are having fun and there’s a lot of them in there. That means more people will come into your store to buy stuff. And maybe–they won’t want to stay after they buy their crap, because it’s too damn loud to hear themselves think! Quick turnover.

However, when I go into a Starbucks or a Panera Bread, they take the opposite opinion. Go with soft indie rock, because you want people to stay, sit down, and buy more of their product. Sometimes they still keep the volume up too loud for me to be comfortable, but I’ve simply learned to carry a set of headphones in my pocket. I just plug myself in, and from looking around, so do half your customers.

I Gotta Have My Tunes!

I specifically go to a bar that has either has no music or the music is low and in the background… like it’s supposed to be. However, every time one of the regulars comes in, she has to hit that damn jukebox, and crank out her favorite tunes. Why? Because to her, a bar isn’t a bar without loud pumping music. However, since the average age of the bar patrons in this particular bar is 60, I don’t think they come in for the tunes. The problem is that I can barely talk to anyone once the jukebox is playing… which is the main reason I go there.

It doesn’t matter if they’re good tunes or not, if you’re having to shout over the music to talk to folks (which includes, by the way, the barfly in question), it’s not that good. I think it’s an acculturation thing; she’s spent most of her life working in bars, so loud music = bars. Duh. However, when she’s riding in on her motorcycle to the most sappy pop music imaginable, I question her theories… and her taste in music.

So whether business thinks its good for business or whether people expect music in the background, doesn’t really matter, I’ve simply stopped asking the manager to turn it down. Because they just… don’t… get it. So if they look askance at why I’m wearing big headphones in a sports bar, all they have to do is ask to find out why.

Am I the only one who finds the pumping music annoying? Am I overreacting? Let me know in the comments below!

3 Responses to “Dance Party USA, whether you want it or not.”

  1. rebecca s revels January 24, 2021 at 4:15 pm #

    My son and to a degree me as well, have that same super hearing. He hears sounds most people never notice, such as the high pitched tone from street lights. If he is in a store or restaurant where a timer goes off, you would think someone was shoving ice picks into his ears. Like you, I prefer background music to be background music.

  2. Silk Cords January 24, 2021 at 6:14 pm #

    Completely agree. It’s even worse when you can hear nothing but bass.

  3. Mal January 25, 2021 at 10:37 am #

    I think I’m akin to this. It’s not always that the sound is too loud, but I fixate on it. I can’t focus on anything else. It’s all I hear, so it’s like choosing not to hear someone I’m talking to, though I’d rather be part of the conversation. Or TV. I stay away from sports bars or restaurants with TVs because I will fixate on them and not my company.

    It’s definitely an over stimulation thing, so the brain conks out and just zones in. Kinda awkward, really. :/

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