California Rite Aid stores cranking classical tunes to curb panhandling

A sign is posted on the exterior of a Rite Aid store at the Fairmont Center on February 20, 2018 in Pacifica, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Some California Rite Aid stores are blasting classical music to prevent panhandlers and loiterers outside their stores. 

Three Rite Aid locations in Bakersfield are using the tactic, cranking out classical tunes in the outdoor areas around the stores where most people tend to gather, The Bakersfield Californian reports. 

"The playing of classical music is a test in certain California stores — based on customer feedback — to discourage panhandling and loitering and provide a more comfortable shopping experience for our customers," the company said in an email to the news outlet. 

Some Rite Aid shoppers welcome the concept. 

"It would drive you nuts after a while," said Gordon Yates, who's a regular. "Which is what it's supposed to do."

"Don't get me wrong, classical music is pretty," Ashley Snyder said, "but it would drive me crazy being out here two hours."

Jeff Lenard, a spokesman for the National Association of Convenience Stores, told the publication the concern for store owners is that panhandling will drive customers away which, in turn, could hurt businesses. 

Rite Aid didn't specify which locations they're testing it out at or if the method is something they hope to implement in all its stores. 

A tattoo shop owner in Bakersfield says the strategy is working for his business. 

Marc DeLeon said people tend to gather in his parking lot every day, so on Monday, he blasted opera music through a 600-watt speaker. 

"The opera music chases them away like a musical napalm," he said in a Facebook post.

"Every day the parking lot fills up with people selling drugs and doing drugs," he told a reporter. "These are not homeless people. Very much not. They live in the hotels. They are criminals."

DeLeon said he tried death metal, but that didn't do the trick. So then he played "Dancing Queen" on repeat and it worked. 

He wants to install permanent outdoor speakers.