Chapter 15

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I was in Wal-Mart today, noticing the pleasant peaceful environment. It finally dawned on me that there was no "background" music playing.

Wal-Mart is one of the most skilled and successful businesses ever. Have they discovered that the music annoys more people than it entertains? It would be reasonable to perceive that they probably know more about business than businesses that aren't so successful know about business.

Like, for instance, the Post Office down the road, which has prominent loudspeakers above the heads of the waiting-line corral, playing the most annoying music and commercials possible, at a level that is quite louder than necessary. This stands as one more reason that the Post Office is not particularly respected for the ways it does things.


And since we're talking about commercial music environments, all the Harbor Freight stores that I've been in have featured whatever local oldies music station played over the smallest raggediest reflex horns (like bullhorns but smaller) available. Of course this sounds cheap and horrible, but the whole reason you go to Harbor Freight is to get something cheap and horrible, and there's some inexplicable rightness about the ensuing sound environment that the store provides. Are they demonstrating awareness of the value of coherence?.