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Abercrombie and Hollister Are Painfully Loud on Purpose

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Have you ever walked into a chain store like Abercrombie & Fitch and felt so assaulted by the noise levels that you walked back out again? Congratulations: You're old. That's one of the major takeaways from this New York Times study of decibel levels in local establishments, which found that some of our most popular restaurants, bars, gyms, and stores are so loud, they're downright dangerous. Explains the paper:

At the Fifth Avenue flagship store of Abercrombie & Fitch, which has designed many of its stores to resemble nightclubs, pulsating music hit 88 decibels, just shy of the limit at which workers are required to wear protection if exposed to that volume for eight hours.

Of course, Abercrombie barely requires its employees to wear shirts, let alone earplugs. And anyway, all that noise is there for a reason:

Younger people can withstand loud music longer, while older ones may run from it, helping proprietors maintain a youthful clientele and a fresh image.
The Times story even features one desperate Pennsylvania grandma saying that she'll buy her granddaughter anything in Abercrombie's midtown flagship, as long as she's allowed to leave soon.

So how, exactly, does Abercrombie justify the noise? Reports the paper: "An Abercrombie spokesman said in a statement that the company’s 'unique A&F in-store experience is something that our customer wants.'”
· Working or Playing Indoors, New Yorkers Face an Unabated Roar [NYT]