An Associated Press news story out of Modesto, California, relates an innovative way that a 7-Eleven storeowner, Sukhi Sandhu, has found with to keep panhandlers and loiterers from hanging outside his store. Sandhu has begun blaring classical music and operas over outdoor speakers.
â€śOnce the music started, the riffraff left,â€ť Manuel Souza, a self-proclaimed member of the riffraff, told the Modesto Bee. From his new spot under a tree further down the block, Souza says the music makes it too difficult â€śto hang out and gossip and joke around.â€ť Sandhu says itâ€™s worked so well, he is adding speakers to all his convenience stores.
Playing classical music is just one of the non-confrontational tools 7-Eleven used to discourage loitering outside its stores. Requiring store clerks to tell panhandlers to get lost can put the clerks at risk.
â€śWe have received very positive feedback from our customers about the atmosphere created by the music devices piloted in several 7-Eleven stores across the US,â€ť 7-Elevenâ€™s corporate office said in a statement. The convenience stores arenâ€™t the first to use the idea. Classical music has long been known to soothe the savage breast. Itâ€™s been successfully used by churches, public facilities, and other businesses.
If the idea truly works so well, we suggest mounting speakers at every panhandler-plagued intersection throughout the greater metro area. If listening to the music from the worldâ€™s greatest composers could discourage beggars, soothe road rage, and add to Richmondâ€™s growing arts culture, whatâ€™s to lose?