Some 7-Eleven stores across the country, including in Texas and California, have begun using blaring classical and operatic music as a tactic to deter homeless people from marching in front of their windows.
One Texas 7-Eleven owner says the goal is to deter homeless individuals from being there and harassing customers. Some customers say they’re all for the music, while others are nervous about it.
The store’s owner, Jagat Patel, said no one from the Austin Police Department has come forward, even though officials have received numerous complaints about him playing classical tunes. He doesn’t know if the actual decibel level meets the city ordinance, but told FOX 7 he plans to lower the volume.
Patel says the homeless population has been a big problem.
“Especially many of my female customers and my young customers are afraid to come here because they constantly ask for money in the parking lot,” he said.
He says he has to pay a professional to clean the needles. Others who work nearby say they have been attacked by homeless people.
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“I have to carry this big old knife with me just for protection, it’s a shame you have to do that,” Joe Miranda, who works nearby, told Fox 7.
Patel says he started playing the music about 10 days ago and got the idea because other shop owners around the country started doing the same.
“Studies have shown that classical music is irritating, opera is irritating, and I guess they’re right because it works,” he said.
As Patel and other nearby businesses began playing classical and operatic music, they noticed a difference.
“Now with this music going on, we have less traffic with the homeless out here,” local business owner Joe Miranda told Fox 7.
Miranda says she thinks it’s the right solution.
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“It helps, it’s not annoying to us because it doesn’t bother us, but it probably bothers them because they’re on drugs,” he said.
Others disagree, calling the music “obnoxious” while shopping and filling up on gas.
“I believe just talk to them and tell them not to hang out or not live, whatever it is, I think that’s the best solution,” said Frederick Carter, who lives nearby.
He says he started going to a nearby 7-Eleven store that doesn’t have music.
“This music is not very good, it’s loud, it’s disgusting to me, I don’t like it, you can hear it from far away, it’s very disturbing,” he said.
Texas convenience stores aren’t the only stores to take advantage of Mozart, Bach and Beethoven, and California-based 7-Elevens is following suit.
In Los Angeles, California, the owners of a 7-Eleven started playing classical music to help employees and customers feel safe amid the continued rise in homelessness in the area.
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Sukhi Sandhu, owner of a California 7-Eleven, told The Modesto Bee that she started playing opera and classical music last year to try to drive panhandlers and other loiterers out of the store.
“Once the music started, the riffraff went away,” Manuel Souza told a local newspaper. “It’s hard to communicate, gossip and joke.”