California Rite Aid stores are blasting Barry Manilow to drive away loiterers

Several California Rite Aid stores have instituted a plan to drive away panhandlers and loiterers from in front of their stores: Blast the songs of Barry Manilow all day and all night.

The drugstore chain has been testing playing “Mandy,” “Copacabana,” “I Write the Songs” and the rest of the singer’s musical catalog for several months now at locations in Hollywood, Long Beach, and San Diego, which caught the attention of the local TV news.

And while playing Barry Manilow 24-hours a day might be working to drive away people from in front of their stores, it’s not making fanilows of people who live nearby, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Lisa Masters, a former professional drummer who moved into a new apartment in Long Beach on April 1, says she had been worried about noise from the local bar scene. Instead, she heard Barry Manilow—at all hours, and at top volume.

She couldn’t enjoy her patio or open her window without hearing “…oh Mandy…” “I thought some older man had died and left a Barry’s Most Depressing Hits CD on repeat,” she says. “I felt trapped in an episode of ‘The Twilight Zone.’ ”

A Rite Aid spokeswoman told the Journal that some stores were exploring various ways to make it easier for customers to enter into the building, but after the article appeared on the Journal’s website this week, several stores stopped playing all-day and all-night Manilow – which should make nearby residents happy as one told the newspaper that living near a Rite Aid playing Manilow is “like a low grade migraine…it’s like living next to a waterfall.”

It should be noted that not everyone minds the Manilow playing nonstop at Rite Aid.

As for Manilow, according to his publicist, he is unaware of what was going on at the Rite Aid.

“It’s not very kind that people don’t want to stand around and listen to his music,” A Manilow spokeswoman said. “It’s odd. He wouldn’t comment on something like this. I don’t think he knows about it.”