Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Music Hath Charms

I'm going to give a plug to a nationwide clothing company here because I appreciate the good people at L. L. Bean for what they don't do.

That's right.  What they don't do.  They sell me pants and t-shirts and the occasional hoodie (Hoodies are good for all occasions!) and I always enjoy calling them to order things.

I enjoy it because I get to talk to a real live human being, who takes my order and credit card number (I'm not saying I'm old, but my VISA card # is 127) and sends me pants or whatever.  You will not be surprised to hear that I engage the calltaker in a moment or two of good-natured confabulation as we discuss the size and color of whatever I'm buying.  l find talking to people an endless fascination, and it's nice to learn about how life is for someone working the call center in Freeport, Maine.  I know they can't tell me all the good stories, but still...

Here's what they DON'T do that I really appreciate!  If you have to wait on the line for a minute or two for a calltaker to become available to help, they DON'T play annoying Muzaky music while you wait.

I told the guy who took my call, after maybe two minutes, how much I appreciated the silence! 

It was refreshing, just to sit in peace and quiet and wait for my turn.  Two things always come to mind about background music like that.  One is that obviously, the music they play has to be inoffensive. It doesn't matter if anyone likes any of that "elevator music;" what matters is that no one is driven to smashing their phone with a hammer (therefore costing the company a sale). It has to be bland, like the applesauce and plain dry toast that you have to eat after finally kicking that stomach bug the kids brought home. So it's the syrupy sweet string version of "And I Love Her," or "Nights On Broadway" as rendered by Hell's synthesizer. 

The other thing that concerns me about that music is that the musicians and arrangers who work on muzak-y music in the dim recesses of some office building in Trenton were once the star musicians in their crowds back home. They are the people who actually know their brass from their oboe, and they studied long and hard and practiced night after night. And for this, they wind up making very light, palatable music, their dreams of playing for the Baltimore Town Band (the Symphony) or the Grand Ole Opry on hold while they saw their fiddles to "Yesterday."

It must tough for them. Meanwhile, my trousers should be here today.  I'll put them on and see you later!

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