Sunday, November 21, 2010

If you needed just one more reason to avoid chain restaurants…

From In Pursuit of Silence by George Prochnik:

Customers exposed to slow music spent significantly longer at table: an average of 56 minutes as opposed to 45 minutes.…Stoked with data of this nature, chain restaurants, such as Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Grill, developed computerized sound systems that were preset to raise the tempo and volume of music at hours of the day when corporate wanted to turn tables. ‘A lot of the managers try to turn music down because they think it’s too loud for people eating,’ said Don Blanton, who developed the system for the grill. ‘So we’ve put in an automated system.’

In other words, even if every single customer complains about the sound volume at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Grill, the manager can’t do jack because “corporate” is hell-bent on reaching into customers’ brains and playing puppetry of the senses.

I have written about the subject of unwanted public sound here before, but this paragraph lit my fuse. I am tempted, oh so tempted, to say that if you eat at a restaurant named after a TV show, you deserve what you get – but really, no one deserves this insidious kind of mind rape. Yes, that’s the right word – rape – when marketers invade your consciousness without consent.

Sounds much more horrifying when you think of it that way, doesn’t it?

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