7-Eleven convenience stores across the country, including in Texas and California, have begun using classical and opera music as a tactic to discourage homeless people from camping in front of their stores.
A Texas 7-Eleven owner says the goal is to stop homeless people from harassing customers. Some customers say it’s all for the music, while others are outraged.
Jagat Patel, the store’s owner, says no one from the Austin Police Department has shown up, despite officials receiving several noise complaints of classical music being played. He doesn’t know if the actual decibel level falls within the city ordinance, but told FOX 7 he plans to lower the volume.
Patel says the homeless are a big problem.
“Especially many of my female customers and my young customers are afraid to come here, because here people are constantly asking 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 to defend myself, it’s a pity you have to do it.” Joe Miranda, who works nearby, told Fox 7.
Patel says he started playing music about 10 days ago and got the idea because other shop owners in the country started doing the same.
“Studies have shown that classical music is annoying. Opera is annoying, and I think that’s OK because it works,” he said.
Since Patel and other nearby businesses started playing classical and opera music, they’ve noticed a difference.
“Now since they’ve been playing this music, we’ve had less traffic here with homeless people,” Joe Miranda, a local business owner, told Fox 7.
Miranda says she thinks it’s the right solution.
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“It helps, it doesn’t bother us because it doesn’t bother us, but it probably bothers them because they do drugs,” he said.
Others disagree, calling the music “disgusting” when going shopping and filling up the gas tank.
“I believe, just talk to them, and ask them not to hang around, or live around, though, I think that’s the best solution.” Frederick Carter, who lives nearby, said.
He says he no longer goes to the nearest 7-Eleven store that doesn’t have music.
“This music is not very good, it’s loud, it’s offensive to me, I don’t like it, you can hear it in the distance, it’s very disturbing,” he said.
The Texas convenience store isn’t the only store tapping into Mozart, Bach and Beethoven, with 7-Elevens in California following suit.
In Los Angeles, California, the owners of a 7-Eleven began playing classical music to help employees and customers feel safe amid the ongoing homeless in the area.
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Sakhi Sandhu, the owner of a California 7-Eleven, told the Modesto Bee that he started playing opera and classical music last year to try to lure panhandlers and other looters out of the convenience store.
“Once the music started, Rafe left,” Manuel Souza told the local newspaper. “It’s hard to hang out and gossip and joke around.”