Pret à Manger Puzzles Customers with Christmas Music in August

Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - 03:25 PM

The unseasonable appearance of Christmas music in Pret à Manger shops in Manhattan this week appears to have been the result of a programming error, not the creep of the holiday retail season into August.

Customers at the sandwich chain eatery reported hearing tunes like "The 12 Days of Christmas," "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and "Winter Wonderland" playing on a loop, the New York Post reported on Monday. And it didn't appear to be a mistake at just one store — several branches were reportedly warbling a merry tune throughout the day.

Workers said they were unable to control the music except by turning it off entirely. Customers complained about the Yuletide onslaught via Twitter.

On Tuesday the store posted an explanation on Twitter, saying the music appeared due to a programming error:

A call to Pret's corporate offices for further comment was not immediately returned on Tuesday. At the branch on Hudson Street in Soho, a worker said holiday tunes "may have snuck in once or twice" earlier in the week but they had since been silenced (a Bjork song was playing in the background as he spoke). He proceeded to place a reporter's sandwich in a bag that, curiously, contained a tidbit about Beethoven. It reads, in part:

Ludwig Van Beethoven, composer (and apparent coffee connoisseur), insisted exactly 60 beans were counted into every cup he had.

No Beethoven was played over the sound system, however.

Weigh in: When is the appropriate time to bring Christmas music back to stores? After Halloween? After Thanksgiving? After Labor Day? Tell us what you think in the comments box below.


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Comments [9]

Barbara Petrose from New York City

The best outcome was that Pret turned off the music. It find it much too loud to hold a conversation. However, having Christmas music in August wouldn't bother me; remember the Broadway tune "We need a little Christmas". It's the constant Christmas music at Christmastime that bothers me.

Pret's a great store but usually too loud don't know why

Aug. 28 2013 09:33 PM
charles van campenhout from new york city

Brilliant idea Xmas music in August. Keep going.
First off, no one is around really.
Second, we now know that Pret having played the Xmas thing in August -and been done with it- we'll can safely go to Pret comes Xmas without being submersed by the djingelly, syrupy, season-greetingly assault commonly heard everywhere in the city.
Building an island of respite in August for The Season: stroke of genius!

Aug. 28 2013 09:20 PM
brian numme from Stockton, NJ

I just found myself quietly singing 'later on we'll conspire, as we dream by the fire, to face unafraid, the plans that we made, walking in a winter wonderland' in the supermarket last week! It was fun...let's have a bit of fun in life! Pret is a fun place to grab food, who cares if there's Christmas music playing!
Regarding Christmas music, I think 1 December is the best time to start.

Aug. 28 2013 02:10 PM
Matthew from Brooklyn

Thanks for the quirky musical news. I do wonder, however, who cares what anybody says on Twitter? Is that really a quality source for insightul commentary? Otherwise, keep up the good work, WQXR.

Aug. 28 2013 01:51 PM

If you hear Christmas music in Pret à Manger in summer is pretty much what you would experience if you were here in Patagonia in December's summertime season.
Regards from a cold August winter day in the southern hemisphere!

Aug. 28 2013 09:10 AM
Sanford Rothenberg from Brooklyn

"Werther" begins with children rehearsing Christmas music during the preceding summer.That is the obvious inspiration for this occurrence.

Aug. 28 2013 01:16 AM
Barry Owen Furrer

Fellow Bloggers:
If the sounds of the holiday season at this time of year are enough to make you nauceous then avoid Costco at all cost as the sight of holiday lights, wrapping paper, and oversized glass ornaments will have you reaching for the Pepto Bismol!

Aug. 27 2013 07:09 PM
HYH from Working in Purchase

I completely agree with Sisko24! The Christmas/holiday music starts right after Halloween now, by the time Thanksgiving comes, I'm sick of it and by Christmas, I don't want to hear it at all. I get the business rationale ($$$) but it is such a shame that the music becomes annoying rather than enjoying it close to and during the holiday. Halloween thru New Years becomes one, big, holiday smash up.

Aug. 27 2013 06:24 PM

Please - no sooner than 2 to 3 weeks before Christmas should we hear Christmas music. We should have a bit of time after Thanksgiving but just around Advent to enjoy some non-holiday music before we are drowned in it from everywhere.

Aug. 27 2013 05:51 PM

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