Here’s some Friday Trivia. Which scenario results in higher sales: A grocery store playing fast upbeat music or a grocery store playing slow music? Have your guess? Yes, it turns out if you play fast music, customers speed through the store and actually spend less than customers in a store where slow music is playing, according to a study at a Dallas grocery store cited in a recent Freakonomics podcast. “With fast music playing, the Dallas grocery store did about $12,000 in sales each day. With slow music: $16,000. Interestingly, most of the shoppers, when asked upon leaving the store about hearing music, didn’t recall whether or not they heard music. Furthermore, there wasn’t much of a statistically significant difference between no music and slow music, or no music and fast music, but between slow music and fast music, a difference.” How is this explained? Well, the researcher’s hypothesis was that the slow music simply caused people to slow down and remember more of the things they needed. This little nugget on atmospherics, which is the study of how sound and smell affect behavior, was tucked in an episode titled “Time to take back the toilet.” This episode took a cheeky and scientific look at why music is rarely played in bathrooms, but my main takeaway is music can have an effect on behavior. “The right music can reduce stress for a patient waiting for surgery; it can help a kid do better on a math test; classical music leads people to buy more wine than Top 40 music. But the wrong music — or the wrong sounds — can be bad for you, too. If you work in an 'open office,' for instance, also known as a cubicle farm — you’re more likely to be stressed out, less productive, less satisfied.” So, if you’re a restaurant trying to get someone to linger and buy dessert, or perhaps Hy-Vee trying to increase grocery sales, pump in a slow relaxing beat, perhaps a nice classical piece, and watch wine sales take off. Read more