7-Eleven Stores in Texas, California Use Opera Music to ‘Shoo’ Away Homeless People

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This tactic may be shooing away customers, too. 7-Eleven stores in Texas and California are using opera and classical music to annoy homeless people. Owners are saying that customers and employees are being harassed. The loud music is meant to be unbearable to those who want to sleep outside.

7-Eleven Owners Are Blasting Loud Opera and Classical Music So Their Customers and Employees Feel Safer

Texas 7-Eleven store owner Jagat Patel told Fox 7 that he started playing loud opera and classical music a couple of weeks ago. He tried the tactic after word spread that other 7-Eleven stores were doing the same.

“Studies have shown that classical music is annoying. Opera is annoying, and I’m assuming they are correct because it’s working,” said Patel. He added that, although he plays the music at a loud level, he thinks he’s following noise ordinances. At least, the Austin Police Department hasn’t issued any warnings yet.

Some Customers Are Very Annoyed, Switching to Different 7-Eleven Stores

However, Frederick Carter, a local who lives nearby to Patel’s 7-Eleven, told Fox that the classical music is annoying him, too.

“This music is not very good, it’s loud, it’s obnoxious to me, I don’t like it, you can hear it a long ways off, it’s very disturbing,” said Carter. He added that he thinks it would be better to just talk to the homeless people.

“I believe, just talk to them, and ask them not to hang around, or not to live around, whatever, I think that’s the best solution,” Carter said. He’s since decided to shop at different 7-Eleven stores to avoid the music.

It’s certainly true that opera and classical are genres that many people try to avoid. While some (like me!) enjoy a good aria, most of the population does not. This isn’t even a new thing despite the fact that opera as a whole has rapidly declined in availability over the years. Less composers are creating new operas and, like rap, opera takes effort to appreciate (per NPR).

Mark Twain is credited as saying, “I am sure I know of no agony comparable to the listening to an unfamiliar opera… that sort of intense but incoherent noise which always so reminds me of the time the orphan asylum burned down.” Ouch. I am slowly leaking tears onto my Julia Migenes’ Carmen VHS tape.

A 7-11 Store in Modesto, California May Have Started the Loud Music Trend to ‘Shoo’ Away Homeless

The classical music tactic isn’t entirely new. ABC News reported about the tactic being used at a 7-11 store in Modesto, California, 4 years ago. The Now interviewed regular patrons and most of their reactions were positive.

“It’s pleasant now because for the past two years, it was almost like a mini tent city,” said Tim Gomes. “People asking for money, asking for handouts.” He added that he feels more comfortable now with the loud opera music.

But Gomes and other locals added that they feel bad for the homeless.

“You can’t just take somebody off the street and put them somewhere,” said one person. The reporter added that an advocate likened the tactic to a game of “whack-a-mole.” Further, he emphasized that playing annoying music to make homeless people leave was not a solution for homelessness.

Read More: Starbucks Employee Mocked For Complaining About Working 8 Hours

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