Rite Aid stores across America, from New York to Los Angeles, have come up with a highly creative method for stopping vagrants and panhandlers from loitering around their shops, and it is by blasting Barry Manilow songs loudly outside for all the world to hear.
The New York Post has reported that the drugstore has recently decided to test how well this new approach works, with residents of nearby Rite Aids forced to suffer through Manilow’s music on repeat.
Lisa Masters, a musician who lives near a Long Beach branch of the shop, explained that at first she was confused when she opened her windows and heard “Mandy” blasting outside.
“I thought some older man had died and left a Barry’s Most Depressing Hits CD on repeat. I felt trapped in an episode of The Twilight Zone.”
Dismayed, Masters quickly phoned Rite Aid, and was told by an employee that the Barry Manilow method had proven a success in other drugstores and was now being tested in Long Beach.
“His attitude was, ‘Would we rather have panhandlers or Manilow?'”
A spokesperson for Rite Aid has explained that there have been so many panhandlers and vagrants outside drugstores across the country that it was making it a major challenge for customers to even walk inside the shops. This is when they decided to turn to Barry Manilow, who has the songs that “make the young girls cry.”
“We are in the early stages of exploring this approach and have not made any decision about the potential rollout of this to additional stores.”
The program was also rolled out in Hollywood, with record producer John Fields filming his encounter with Manilow’s music as “Somewhere Down the Road” pumps outside at high volumes while Fields takes a stroll. He joked that it was “just another night with Barry Manilow.”
Los Angeles comedian Debra DiGiovanni has deemed it as “one of those beautiful moments,” after she heard Barry crooning “I Write the Songs.”
“I know all the words. When I was in my 20s, we might have made fun of him, and now I’m in my 40s and he’s nostalgic. It reminds me of Mom and Dad in a lovely way.”
Meanwhile, Barry Manilow’s publicist admits that it is highly unlikely that the singer has heard about Rite Aid’s new approach to loitering and doesn’t really understand why the world wouldn’t want to listen to his music on repeat all through the night.
“It’s not very kind that people don’t want to stand around and listen to his music. It’s odd. He wouldn’t comment on something like this. I don’t think he knows about it.”
With Barry Manilow so good at deterring vagrants and loiterers outside Rite Aid stores, it just goes to show that music and passion are always in fashion. Just don’t fall in love.