Boxing day 2005, I was recovering from a lovely lunch with my family and my beautiful partner Renee and feeling like a bit of retail therapy, as if getting christmas presents wasn’t enough. So I decided for the first time in my life to go for a browse through the Melbourne CBD to peruse the Boxing day sales.As we wandered around marvelling at the lovely designs and logos on the shopping bags people were carrying, I felt an urge to look at some clothes. Being a guy and statistically not a browser I knew exactly where I wanted to go and what I wanted to buy. been to this store once before and liked what they did; street wear with clean lines that avoided the baggy look which I so detest. I also remembered that they were playing cool drum n bass tunes on my first visit so I felt right at home.
So off to the store we go- we walked around three floors to find it, eventually finding it exactly where Renee said it would be two floors ago. Cool… lots of funky 20 somethings in the shop checking out clothes- I’m only 31 but I already feel like I’m living vicariously through youth culture. This time the store was playing rap another favorite when done well and with a bit of funk and soul, now thats definately a title for another article.
So we’re looking at clothes flicking through the racks, sales assistants dutifully standing at the ready, and suddenly I notice that the music is really, really loud. So loud in fact that if I’d wanted to buy something which I did or if I wanted to discuss anything with the staff or my advisor,I wouldn’t have been able to- well not comfortably at least. And that is the point I started to feel uncomfortable. Not because of the style of music but because of the sheer volume.
A few reasons as to why the style and volume of the in store sound track might have been chosen:
to attract a certain customer;
to compete with all the other shops in the complex;
the staff had free reign over the sound system and knew that with music this loud people wouldn’t talk they’d just shop or
the staff where just indulging themselves.
This experience was very different to my first experience, arguably not in the choice of genre or sub cultural affiliations but in the volume of the music and the subsequent mood of the retail experience.
Anyway I decided not to buy anything and people certainly weren’t lining up to give over their hard earned cash for the heavily discounted items on offer.
Turn the music down and you’ll hear your customers better.
Listening is fun
Sam h February 6, 2006
Hey Marcel, Like your blog.