The 7-Eleven is taking a controversial approach to deterring loiterers and shoplifters at their Austin, Texas, locations. They’ve started playing classical music over the store’s loudspeakers.
The theory is that the music creates a more pleasant shopping experience for customers, making loiterers and potential shoplifters feel out of place.
It’s not the first time a business has used classical music to deter unwanted behaviour. London’s underground system and some grocery stores have also implemented the strategy.
While it’s still early days, franchisee Jagat Patel acknowledged that the nonstop music probably makes it tough for homeless people to sleep at night. “But at the same time, I have to protect my business. This is my bread and butter. And if my customers don’t come, then that’s a problem,” says Patel to the Washington Post.
It remains to be seen whether the strategy will be effective in the long term, or whether it will be adopted by 7-Eleven stores in other cities. But for now, shoppers in Austin can enjoy a little Mozart or Beethoven while picking up their Slurpee.
Music as a crime deterrent
- This isn’t the first time that classical music has been used as a crime deterrent.
- In the past, cities and businesses have used classical music to reduce loitering and criminal activity in public spaces.
- Studies have shown that classical music can have a calming effect on listeners, making them less likely to engage in disruptive behaviour.