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Walgreens Stores in Chicago Play Classical Music to Stop Loitering

Walgreens Stores in Chicago Play Classical Music to Stop Loitering

I wonder if this would also stop people from robbing the stores.

Walgreens stores in Chicago decided to play classical music to stop people from loitering.

I wonder if the music will then stop people from robbing stores. From the Sun-Times:

The Sun-Times this week found classical music greeting customers as they approached the entrance of stores in Greektown, the West Side and River North at 641 N. Clark St. It plays from speakers connected to the building that are covered by a protective screen.

Customer reaction and the results appeared mixed. Carole Hennessy, who said she’s a regular customer at the 111 S. Halsted St. location, said, “It’s always the same couple of selections. There’s a lot more to sample. I find it a little overbearing.”

She added that “if it were up to me, I just might prefer Springsteen.”

Another customer said he enjoyed the music. He wouldn’t mind the store adding some Greek music since the area is Greektown.

A reporter in another Walgreens said the store played “three works: Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, Rossini’s William Tell Overture and Strauss’ Radetzky March.”

Kevin Gregg told the Sun-Times that the homeless don’t want to approach people. He has been homeless for two years:

“We don’t want to approach people,” said Kevin Gregg, who said he’s been homeless for two years. “When we go into the store to shop, they make accusations and follow us around.”

Gregg said the shelters can’t help because they are full of migrants. “I’m not blaming anybody. There’s just a limit to what the shelters can do,” he said.

Stores in other states have tried the tactic. Many 7-Eleven stores found some success with the music.

Walgreens spokesperson Kris Lathan refused to name which stores use the music. The company has found success using the music in other stores:

Walgreens spokesperson Kris Lathan declined to list Chicago-area locations using the classical feed. She said the chain has used it for more than a year at various locations “to help deter loitering on the premises. We take steps to ensure the music is only loud enough for the immediate area around the store and cannot be heard in surrounding neighborhoods.”

Lathan also said classical is the only genre in the auditory arsenal. It has employed the tactic in Reno, Nevada, and Tucson, Arizona. A smattering of retailers in other states have reportedly resorted to grand opera, classical’s louder sibling.


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This would actually make me loiter, but that’s just me.

    SeiteiSouther in reply to UJ. | August 11, 2023 at 1:39 pm

    Bach’s Toccata alone would make me loiter. I love that one.

    The William Tell Overture would cause me to beat feet. Used to like it, but now it’s like garlic to a vampire.

    The Gentle Grizzly in reply to UJ. | August 11, 2023 at 1:43 pm

    Perhaps so. But, something tells me you pay for what you take.

    starride in reply to UJ. | August 11, 2023 at 1:48 pm

    Me Too!@!

The tactic has a long history of success.

In 1959, a British airport plagued by seagulls on the runways failed to rout them with recordings of seagull distress calls, but accidentally discovered that Elvis recordings cleared the birds out in a flash.

    Here in Calif. there used to be a convenience store franchise called Liquor Cheaper owned by a WWII era libertarian. The stores played classical music to drive away the layabouts. It worked. He also had his paper bags printed with first amendment- bill of rights – type things.

    He sold all of it off and retired 20 years ago. The store chain was sold, split, sold and split, but some still play the music.

      The Gentle Grizzly in reply to Tiki. | August 11, 2023 at 3:29 pm

      Was he also behind Cigarettes Cheaper?

        Probably? The latter Liquor Cheaper were almost small grocery stores with gas pumps. They didn’t focus on booze per-se. Much more stock and larger than a 7-11 or corner bodega ect. The early stores were small 7-11 type.

        Now that you mention it, I faintly recall cigarette cheaper. If it had a mainly Orange with blue trim signage and theme. Then yes.

        Through an odd circumstance I met the man and his wife. They were very much like my parents and of that generation which I so admire.

Doesn’t help much when people are wearing headphones.
Noise canceling can be purchased as low as $30. Even lower iof you buy second hand.

The Gentle Grizzly | August 11, 2023 at 1:45 pm

Classical music…. tsk tsk tsk. More open White Supremacy!

Chinese opera is the best clear-the-room genre.

Classical music chosen by movie villains would be good. They always like classical music in their lairs.

John Wick IV – Chopin nocturne #20
Moonraker – Chopin Raindrop prelude

hey there’s a pattern

    henrybowman in reply to rhhardin. | August 12, 2023 at 3:08 am

    “I wonder if this would also stop people from robbing the stores.”
    I think they should play “Bad Boys, Bad Boys” if that’s their aim.

What, can’t dance to classical music? Problem solved.
For thieves, play this:
it’s Russian Orthodox and will render you motionless. It does me and I don’t steal stuff..

This is a clear violation of loiterers and shoplifters’ constitutional rights,. I believe that is mentioned in dicta from Hawkins v. McGee.

In case any one doesn’t know the Toccata is pice piece played in old fashioned horror movies, which the villain often plays at a pipe organ.

speaking of russians, have always liked “mlada” by rk–in particular “procession of the nobles”–a beautiful, elegant march from that work–inspiring to hear and fun to play

When I still had kids at home a neighbor kept playing music outside after midnight. I kept asking nicely, he didn’t change.

They were having a backyard party during the day.

Captain and Tennille Muskrat Love on repeat had him come over after 30 minutes.

“Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, Rossini’s William Tell Overture and Strauss’ Radetzky March”

All of these are fun.

    DSHornet in reply to Othniel. | August 11, 2023 at 11:25 pm

    When my son was in Cub Scouts in the 80s I was taking him and a few of the boys on a field trip. They were getting rowdy in the car so I put a cassette of The Fugue in the stereo and turned the sound up. I thought it would gross them out but, instead, the reaction was, “Oh, boy! Vampire music!”

    So much for that idea.

The decline of the self-service store.

A Speedway (7-11) gas station an convenience store in northern New Mexico does this but with Opera. Now, people don’t have to run the gauntlet of homeless junkies begging for money when they try and get into the store.

The Gentle Grizzly | August 11, 2023 at 8:14 pm

My best friend used the first 34 seconds of this as an “attention, class” thing in his kindergarten classes. Much to his amusement, the kids started “lah lah” singing it back to him!

Although musical instruments in classrooms are almost unheard of today, he always made it clear to any principal that – whether it as a keyboard or piano provided by the school, or a donated one, a piano was part of his teaching aids, or he’d transfer to another school. He had a very good reputation among parents in the districts where he taught, so, there was never an issue. (Other times he played songs from The Great American Song Book. EVERY student, whether black, Asian, white, whatever, LOVED it!

Slim Whitman make aliens heads explode

Maybe try it at at the border?

E Howard Hunt | August 12, 2023 at 7:14 am

Cut to the chase- endless loop of soundtrack to Sound of Music