Rite-Aid blasts Barry Manilow to shoo loiterers

Posted at 7:31 PM, Jun 11, 2018

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -  Dave Weber first heard it when he stopped for a cup of coffee.

Lorne Polk called it lovely.

And Guadalupe Perez said she could use more of it. 

Each - referring to the Barry Manilow and classical music a San Diego Rite-Aid recently started playing outside on loudspeakers virtually around the clock. 

"I thought it was somebody that had incredibly good taste in their car," Weber said. 

It's Rite-Aid's way of sending away loiterers that have been sleeping and hanging out around the store on Euclid Avenue in Oak Park. The company says it has received complaints from customers who have had issues going through its front doors. 

"As a way to respond to this customer feedback and to help provide a positive shopping experience, we are exploring ways to make it easier for our customers to enter our stores," Rite-Aid said in a statement. "This is one approach we are looking into."

Perez, who lives in Oak Park, says she's seen more homeless around Rite-Aid and in the surrounding neighborhood. She also says she has seen more crime.

"I don't feel too safe anymore," Perez said. "I used to feel safe years ago, not anymore. Lately, it's been really tragic in this neighborhood."

A San Diego Police spokesman said this is the first he's heard of a store doing this. However, the 7-Eleven two miles south on Euclid was recently playing country and classical to scare off loiterers. The manager said it worked, but that neighbors complained. 

But unlike the 7-Eleven, the Rite-Aid on Euclid is in a large strip mall with no homes around. 

"It's better to have the music do it than have the employees at rite-aid come and have confrontations," Polk said, adding that getting them to move somewhere else wouldn't solve the region's larger homeless problem. 

A spokeswoman for Manilow did not return a call seeking comment Monday.