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I work at a retail store. The reason we play music is to drown out conversations between our patrons. If we forget to put the music on we (and other customers) can hear every word of every conversation. Some conversations just are not appropriate but we cannot ask them to stop talking or change the subject. So a little background music drowns out the conversations just enough...

The main purpose of background music in a restaurant is to create privacy for guests. If it's at the right volume, you can still talk over it comfortably but don't feel like you're sharing your conversation with guests at adjacent tables. Some places like to be noisy and use music to get people to talk loud and create excitement. We don't do that at either of our restaurants.

I'm with you on the "music and TV sound together" issue. I'll leave rather than put up with it. A variation on the same theme is the kitchen staff playing hideous heavy metal on a cheap boom box loud enough that diners can hear it.

I'm always amused in that sort of restaurant (Chili's springs to mind) when I go into the restroom and suddenly realize that there's music playing. The dining room is so loud I can barely hear it, let alone recognize it.

Now, explain music in the bookstore, the drugstore, and the grocery store. ;-)

How can background music in a restaurant create privacy? That's the nuttiest statement I've heard in a long time.And why do restaurants have to extend their sound systems into the bathrooms? Are most restaurant bathrooms insufficiently private without loudspeakers?

People who object to "background" music are in somewhat the same position now as people who used to object to the annoyance of second hand smoke.

Eventually restaurants began to provide smoking and non-smoking sections. It couldn't be that difficult for resaurants to provide noisy and quiet areas. Or give some earphones to the customers who want music.

To go into a restaurant and have to listen to music I didn't ask for is like going into a restaurant and being forced to eat nothing but broccoli.

Best strategy. Go into a restaurant and order. If the noise gets to you, leave and refuse to pay. Eventually they'll catch on.

"It couldn't be that difficult for resaurants to provide noisy and quiet areas."

So, then with restaurants that still have smoking areas, the restaurant has to have four areas. Insane.

"Table for two?"

"Yes, we'd like the non-smoking, no music, adult only, cell phone, no sweatsuit, wifi section. Thank you."

Sounds good to me :-)

We were once standing in line at the airport check-in desk in front of two people with a pair of very young children. The children were alternating screaming.

First, we said "Please, go ahead of us."

Then when they had their seating assignments and walked away we said, "Two. Non-smoking, non-screaming please."

Background music is there to enhance sales. Maybe not for you, but it does for most people. If it's the right music for the customer demographic it will make people stay longer and spend more. **The key is getting the right music.**

Also, from the sounds of your description of your -30DB earplugs... either they don't work at all, or you have ultra sensitive hearing (a somewhat common affliction, you should see a doctor about it) I have -15 Db earplugs (the custom $300 kind) that reduce volume tons. -30 DB should almost make you completely deaf if fitted properly in your ear.

There is a wonderful device, small, discreet & inexpensive, called TV-B-Gone, that allows you to turn off almost any TV from up to 50 feet away. When I used mine in a doctor's waiting area, people actually started conversing with one another! You can read about TV-B-Gone on Wikipedia.

I work in a large retail establishment that several years ago subscribed to XM radio (now Sirius/XM) and decided that channel 25 "The Blend" was just right. Well, four years ago, maybe, but it's still playing THE SAME SONGS OVER AND OVER with only an occasional unrecognizable cut added to the mix. Every now and then more intelligent heads will prevail and we'll switch to another channel, but it always ends up back on the alleged "Blend." At Christmas time it's the same 10 songs over and over for a month. I hear this ridiculous channel in other places as well. I was hoping when Sirius merged with the then-struggling XM that they might have been able to afford a few new records but their pathetic, computer-controlled programming continues. The malady lingers on.

If we must be subjected to music everywhere, why don't the establishments respect their customers enough to keep the volume MUCH lower than the current volume of a ROCK CONCERT!?

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