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McDonald’s Is Using Classical Music to Calm Drunk Customers

Mozart claims yet another victory. Photo: Zhong Zhenbin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Desperate to make inebriated customers behave while waiting on their 2 a.m. McFlurry orders, Mickey D’s has started experimenting with a little “Magic Flute” and “Ode to Joy” to set a more civilized mood in certain stores. So far, the chain’s deploying the mind trick in Scotland, England, and Australia as a way to make drunken maniacs think the location they’ve entered is going for more of a Sydney Opera House feel, rather than late-night fast-food spot that welcomes loitering and, if all goes well, perhaps some light bathroom-stall vandalism.

It’s no secret that McDonald’s locations that are open late and situated near bars become prime targets as the night goes on. Historically, drunk customers have never shown qualms about burglarizing stores, helping themselves to soft serve behind the counter, or fistfighting employees. Workers only half-jokingly argue that these people are attracted to McDonald’s “like moths to a flame,” and reports that staff in Australia have started fearing for their safety after a recent spate of high-profile brawls. In one, idiots sprayed security guards with the restaurant’s own fire extinguishers, while another involved a group hurling actual chairs:

The chain started testing out classical music as a deterrent in Glasgow first, then spread it to several more U.K. locations before expanding to Australia. “Typically classical music is played from early evening onwards,” a rep explains, adding that guests seem to exhibit “more acceptable behavior” when they step into a Twilight Zone where Bach and his contemporaries play from the speakers.

McDonald’s Is Using Classical Music to Calm Drunk Customers