Time for stores to stop the piped music

Would you linger longer in a store if it no longer played music while you shopped? Picture: PA

Would you linger longer in a store if it no longer played music while you shopped? Picture: PA - Credit: PA

Somebody complained the other day that the full stop is becoming redundant on social media. It's not just the full stop. Vowels and the odd consonant also seem to be disappearing at a rate of knots, as in r u thr F? - are you there Fred or Fortescue or Fay?

There's always somebody wanting to do away with something that the rest of us feel is useful and necessary.

While victoria was on the throne, the headmaster of abbotsholme public school in derbyshire campaigned vigorously for the abolition of capital letters the absence of which you may have noticed in this sentence as well as also being determined to cut the use of punctuation especially commas which he decided slowed everything down and was completely unnecessary but he did find it useful to employ the occasional full stop thank goodness.

Leaping lightly from one subject to another - there is another type of full stop of which I thoroughly approve: Marks and Sparks has banned piped music in 300 of its stores, so we can now purchase our night-shirts or knickers without having to endure the incessant hypo-allergenic melodies that few of us hum along to.

The big question now is how many other stores will follow suit? They will all be watching carefully to see what effect this has on M&S sales. Hopefully, they will go up. But canned music probably divides the nation. Young people, I suspect, like it. We oldies mostly don't.


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It must be difficult choosing what to play, finding something with real musical value that a wide range of the population might like and which could produce what is known to experts in the business as 'customer dwell time.' The longer people dwell in the store the more money they are likely to spend. I have a theory that few people would complain if most shops, restaurants etc turned off the background music. I have a friend who will not use any eatery that has piped music and I have an on-going joke with Bob, the landlord of my local about his choice of background music.

For fun I gave him a CD of the Boswell Sisters, close-harmony rivals to Bing Crosby in the 1930s, with numbers like 42nd Street and Lullaby of Broadway and it has become a sort of signature tune. He puts it on when I'm in the place and, in my estimation, it's a real elbow lifter.

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