Tag Archives: restaurant

“I Gotta Have My Tunes!”

31 May

Attending a fancy birthday party recently, I was amused that everyone was inside… away from the DJ blasting in the backyard. If you wanted the music, then why are you avoiding it?

For me, someone with ADHD, I’ve come to accept the world is too loud for me, but most people don’t notice. At my favorite bar, I remember one of the regulars noticed the jukebox had stopped, and she called out, “I gotta have my tunes!” She proceeded to throw money in the machine, but then continued her conversation. I was thinking–how did she not notice that it was harder to talk with the music on?!

My main theory is that “it’s not a party without music;” that they’ve been conditioned to equaling having fun with playing music. However, it could be something simpler; it could just be “I need something in the background.” Then maybe most people’s volume levels are set higher than mine.

The common excuse did restaurants having their music too loud is “nothing attracts the crowd like the crowd.” People are loud, so if the music’s loud, more people will come. But people might be less inclined to come back.

I could be completely off base here… What do you think? Is there another reason people need their tunes? Let me know in the comments below!

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!

Missionary Chefs

9 Oct

One of the few restaurants we go to as a family is Loving Hut. It’s a chain of vegan restaurants that are spread all over the world. However, they’re not just interested in selling food – they want to convert you to follow the Supreme Master.

I did not make this up – there is a Vietnamese woman who lives in Singapore who is the leader of this religious group calling herself the Supreme Master Ching Hai. Why do I know this? Because they have their own television channel which is played constantly in each of their restaurants, which has 5 minute snippets to attract you to the wit and wisdom of the Supreme Master.

There are books available of her philosophy. There are pamphlets that talk about the joys of veganism and meditation. And that’s the real reason why they use restaurants as their outreach – to show that turning vegan does not mean having to live on kale and bean sprouts. Their menu is excellent, but I have to admit, I’m a little disturbed by the images lauding this middle-aged woman from Asia.

This technique has actually been done before. I’ve been to inner-city Atlanta and found a vegan soul food restaurant run by Black Hebrew Israelites… which is another faith that came out of the turn of the century (1900) where African Americans decided to reject Christianity and turned to new faiths where they felt more at home. This is also where the Nation of Islam and Rastafarianism emerged. This particular group believes in strict veganism and consider themselves true Jews. However, the State of Israel disagrees, and yet allows a couple thousand of them to live illegally in their country.

In Thailand, the local Chabad (missionary Jews who do outreach… to other Jews) ran a restaurant in downtown Bangkok. This is because Thailand has strict anti-missionary laws and the rabbi can’t work as a rabbi in a country that’s 96% Buddhist. So he worked as a “kosher consultant” and had someone run the restaurant that he owned. So missionary chefs are not as uncommon as you might think.

I’ve worked with missionary teachers, missionary doctors, missionary secretaries… and if you think it’s hard for regular missionaries to raise the funds to go overseas, try being a missionary secretary. India makes it difficult to be a missionary, but you can get visa to be a teacher or a doctor. The other thing my friends pretended to be tourists and just leave the country every six months to renew their visa.

What do you think? Is it more palatable to be another profession that is also a missionary? Or is it something that rubs you the wrong way? Or is it a necessary evil? Let me know in the comments below!

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