Has this happened to you? You walk into a nice restaurant and are seated at your table. You settle in, looking forward to a pleasant dining experience. Then it hits you – there is some loud music playing and, to make things worse, it’s music that you can’t stand. You attempt to ignore it and converse with the others at your table but each new song seems to get more and more annoying. You find yourself talking louder because the music is forcing you to raise your voice so the others can hear you. To make matters worse, the restaurant is half empty and what could have been a relaxing, peaceful experience turns out to be anything but.
This happened to me twice recently. The first time was early in the morning when my mom and I went out to a diner for breakfast. There were only a handful of customers sprinkled around the usually bustling diner and my first reaction was “Oh, this is going to be a very relaxing breakfast!”. But then I heard it – some awful, loud music coming out of the ceiling that you just could not ignore. After a few minutes of trying to deal with it, I finally got up and asked the manager to please turn it down. She reluctantly did so and my breakfast was much more pleasant as a result.
The next day I went out for an early dinner at a popular, moderately priced restaurant. Since it was before the dinner rush, there were many seniors taking advantage of the less hectic atmosphere. Yet, the restaurant was playing fairly loud, fast paced music that I’m sure none of the patrons liked. While tempted to ask that the music be turned down, I did my best to ignore it. It would definitely have been a more pleasant dining experience had the music been less loud and not as “bebop” .
What I’ve seen in restaurants, stores and even hotels is that the music playing is often what the help wants to hear and not what the patrons want to hear. . What used to be called “background music” is no longer. Now the trend is towards loud, in-your-face music that is hard to talk over or ignore. Plus a lot of it is geared towards the twenty-something crowd. That’s okay if the majority of the patrons are in that age bracket but this is often not the case. But some places get it right. There is a nice Italian restaurant chain that I like that plays music with an Italian theme, some of the lyrics are even in Italian. This really adds to the dining experience.
So what can you do about this? Of course you can stop patronizing these establishments but you might be missing out on what otherwise is a great restaurant, store, etc. What I suggest is that you politely complain to the manager. Quite often, they will turn down or turn off the music. If enough people do this then a strong message is being sent that the music is NOT being enjoyed by their patrons.
What about you? Have you found yourself in a place where the music is really making the dining / shopping experience less enjoyable? Did you do something about it?