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December 14, 2004

Destroy Something You Love for the Holidays

You'll probably see the flaw in this plan at the outset, but I figured why just assume the glowing red burner is hot, when I could slap it a high five instead?

The plan as envisioned by me:

In an effort to inject holiday spirit into the bookstore, I would play Vince Guaraldi's Charlie Brown Christmas Album over the store speakers on an endless loop. It's 40 minutes of Christmas joy, and easily my favorite Christmas album. People are generally well-disposed to this album, so it would make the customers happy. Most customers don't spend more than 40 minutes in the store, so the repetition wouldn't annoy them. The store sound system (an extremely kind description of our set-up) focuses sound towards the center of the store, so I can barely hear it, and thus, the repetition wouldn't annoy me.

The plan (aborted after four days) and it's results:

a) Holiday spirit was injected into the bookstore. Perhaps "ramrodded" is a better verb.
b) The first 40 minutes were indeed Christmas joy. After that, we got into diminishing returns.
c) The customers were largely indifferent to the musical selection. I saw one guy tapping his foot, but that could have been fungus.
d) According to the plan, I would barely be able to hear the music from my position in the front of the store. Memo to self: When you can barely hear something, you can still hear something. Hearing can be pass/fail that way.
e) After hearing the Charlie Brown Christmas Album 43 times in 4 days, the idea of grabbing a rifle and climbing a clock tower seemed not only plausible, but logical.

After ruining the finest Christmas album I had even known, I still had work to do. Festive Christmas-y music must fill my store. A warm holiday glow must be created. Dammit.

Jackie provided a solution in the form of Holiday Sounds of the Season 2002, an insipid mash of holiday standards from such festive folk as Kenny G, Toni Braxton, Barry Manilow, Christina Aguilera and (God in heaven help me) Cher. After a couple of days of hearing Paul McCartney warble:

Sim-ply ha-ving a wun-derful Christmastime
Sim-ply ha-ving a wun-derful Christmastime

I no longer feel the need to take up a sniper's position on Hillsborough Street. I am instead filled with an acute and wholly un-Christmaslike sense of self-loathing that recurs every forty-six minutes and two seconds. It's a step up.

Posted by at December 14, 2004 12:52 PM | TrackBack
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Urgh. I could have warned you about that. I worked at a JCPenny, and one of my duties was to load the month's video tape in the morning. Bad enough to watch/listen to some sports highlights from the previous year - but even worse was that the nextdoor department had to run a video of Britney bubblegum music. Loudly.

What saved what little sanity I had was that I'd cheat. There were a bunch of older videos in the stockroom, and I'd swap once or twice a day. So I'd have a video of baseball's greatest moments (Babe's first homer with the Yanks) during football season - the only people who noticed were some customers who got interested.

Posted by: John Anderson at December 15, 2004 05:11 AM

there are longer wife's got her store on a 16 hour mix.

16 hours before it repeats...and there are longer ones

Posted by: jack at December 15, 2004 02:34 PM

I'm so glad that when I worked retail my store never played music.

But there was one time when I was working a trade show when our booth was across the aisle from hell. Or at least the giant Macromedia stadium booth. So every 5 minutes we'd have to endure, at Monsters Of Rock volume, "MACRO-MEDIA is MULTI-MEDIA!".

Posted by: Greg at December 15, 2004 07:45 PM

Hey, and in college freshman year my next door neightbor used to leave single cd's, or sometimes even single tracks (see below), on infinite repeat. For upwards of a week at a time. To this day Marillion's "Kayleigh" will send me into a homicidal rage.

Repitition is bad. Short loops are worse. Destroy your own sanity, sure, but don't make your customers hate you.

Posted by: Greg at December 15, 2004 07:52 PM
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