Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Shop 'til you're deaf קנו עד שתתחרשו

I wish to publicly confess that my favorite days to shop are Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers, and Holocaust Remembrance Day. Now that you’ve picked your jaws up from off the floor, I’ll explain why in one word: noise. Unlike the other 362 days a year when malls and stores play music at an ear-splitting level, on the two aforementioned days, one can browse at a leisurely pace to the strains of *musika shketah* which literally means “quiet music” but in this context might also be translated as “respectful music”.

One of the most annoying phenomena in this country is that of music played by retail and other businesses, I’m assuming because the proprietors are under the hallucinatory impression that we consumers like it that way. Sure, I love it when:

  • I’m relaxing by a hotel pool and the aerobics music assaults me.

  • I’m in an outdoor bazaar where every merchant has his music turned on, oblivious to the others, supposedly to lure me into his special and unique shop to purchase his special and unique cheap merchandise.

  • I’m vacationing with my extended family at the Dan Eilat, and at 11 p.m., boom-boom music reaches us on the upper floors. I call down to the desk and they tell me, “It’s not on the premises. It’s coming from the *tayelet* [boardwalk].” Well then get your butts out there and find out where it’s coming from and tell them it’s disturbing your guests, who are presumably also their livelihood!

  • I’m in line at the cashier purchasing some clothing at Fox, and I ask the teenage sales clerk to lower the volume. She refuses, citing as a reason that she “can’t be turning it up and down constantly, according to whoever walks in the door”. Uh, like you’re going to have customers complaining that the music’s not loud enough?

  • We’re shopping for sneakers at MegaSport, where not only are they playing FM 102 over the PA system, but the wall-mounted TV is also playing MTV. I don’t even bother looking for the sales help. I simply go over to the wall where the TV is plugged into an outlet, and pull the plug. No one even notices.

  • I’m waiting for the Eilat Mall to open on a morning during Chanuka. The adjacent pub, Hof Tziyon, is blasting music to an empty beach. I make my way down and ask Tziyon to lower the volume, or at least turn his column speakers inward and not toward the Saudi Peninsula. The proprietor tells me, “Why? People want to hear it.” I look around. What people, pray?

    Change will come only when we, we guests / shoppers / consumers demand it. I therefore propose a grassroots campaign consisting of the following:
  1. Next time you’re in Eilat, before you go to the mall, take a few meters’ detour and ask Tziyon to lower the volume. Tell him you’d love to stay and buy a drink but his music’s too loud. Ditto for Papaya Nights, whose shift manager, when I asked him to lower the volume, asked me, "Are you sitting on my beach?" to which I replied, "No, that's the point. If I can hear your music all the way to Cafe Optimi, it's too loud. And I can promise you that as long as it's this loud, I will never patronize your establishment".
  2. As you meander down the *tayelet*, tell every merchant playing music that you’d love to stay and browse, but his or her music’s too loud.

  3. Call the reception desk at your hotel and / or random others to complain about the music from the *tayelet* ― and don’t wait ‘til dark. Call 24 / 7!
Seems to me that instead of evicting the merchants for operating illegally עברית, which is never gonna happen, the state should fine ‘em up the wazoo for disturbing the peace. Let ‘em have it, and don’t stop ‘til it’s quiet!

1 comment:

  1. posting for Rabbi Susan Silverman:

    "I love it, Yam. You have my vote for philosopher queen. But I can't vote because the music at the poll is too loud."