LETTERS : Canned music not on the menu

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The Independent Online
PETER Victor's article ("Neighbourhood noise: 17 people have died from it", 18 December) is to be welcomed. Perhaps he will now write about the pernicious and persistent habit of restauranteurs who inflict damagingly high levels of muzak on their captivecustomers. Captive because it seems to be so widespread and very few restaurants, if any, seem willing to allow us a peaceful environment.

When I recently complained to the managing director of Dunkin Donuts about the level of noise in his Piccadilly coffee shop, he implied that I was being absurd: his customers demanded background music, his business had grown 30 per cent since the introduction of a sound system and he was not going to be deterred by a customer complaint.

I cannot recall encountering this barbaric practice on the Continent or in the US. Europeans are too civilised and Americans would not tolerate such anti-social behaviour. As for the British, I can only conclude that we are far too supine.

Surely the time has come for local authority environmental health officers to come to the rescue of the battered diner.

John Norman London W3