*As someone who once worked for New York’s Metropolitan Opera, I wonder if I should be offended. But I’m not. I actually think its quite funny that a 7-11 franchise in Modesto California got so sick and tired of panhandlers and bored teens loitering outside their doors but still on their property, they came up with the idea to blast opera music…24-7.
Turns out I’m not the only one who finds this idea intriguing. A reporter at the Modesto Bee was so intrigued he dug deeper. He learned that it wasn’t because Franchise owner Sukhi Sandhu, who operates the store located at store at McHenry and Morris avenues near downtown, has love for opera music — quite the opposite. He knows he is not alone, and knows people won’t be hanging out listening to it. They will keep it moving.
“Our classical and opera music, the one that we’re hearing in the background, it gets played 24-seven,” Sandhu told the reporter, speaking loudly enough to project over some very boisterous singing. “The whole idea behind this was to discourage people from loitering and panhandling, and most importantly to provide a better, positive environment for our customers to shop at our stores and obviously for them to feel safe.”
One man has already proved the store owner’s theory is on point.
“Once the music started, the riffraff left,” a homeless man, who considered himself part of that riffraff, told the Bee. “It’s hard to hang out and gossip and joke around.”
As it turns out, the effective strategy to discourage loitering didn’t come from Sandhu at all. He said the music is part of a larger 7-Eleven program aimed at using non-confrontational methods to reduce loitering.
“We test a variety of programs in our stores that promote an excellent experience for our customers,” 7-Eleven’s corporate office conceded to the Bee. “We have received very positive feedback from our customers about the atmosphere created by the music devices piloted in several 7-Eleven stores across the US.”
Take a look at the video below.