Are we moving toward a yelling-based economy? I realize that my health, interests, and general crankiness qualify me as an honorary old coot, so I'm probably nobody's target demographic. But it seems like transacting commerce is requiring a lot more hollering than it used to. I stopped in at Jimmy Johns the other weekend, and the music was deafening. I had to yell my order two or three times to be heard. Same thing at Chipotle. And Starbucks does that thing where they want to "get something started" for the people in line, which means shouting "medium decaf latte" over the heads of strangers. I dislike it.
I know some restaurants actually pursue the noisiness with hard surfaces and open kitchens. The Rainforest Cafe had that whole damn fake jungle going on with the screeching monkeys and such. (My GOD was that annoying.) Apparently the hubbub acts on us like hallucinogen, making us think we're at the center of a "happening," when in fact we are just at Chili's happy hour, bitching about work. Do people enjoy this stuff, really, or is this just a phase we're all going through? Are they trying to make us anxious so we'll eat more? I think it's working.