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The blogs of Word of Mouth are So, There's That, Inside Word of Mouth, and 11 for '11.

The Mysterious Case of the Mall: An Investigation

(Image by An Orchard Away via Flickr)

Last week, after we aired a segmenton creative methods of discouraging teenage loitering, listener Jennifer Army sent us the following email:

I just heard the piece about using high-pitched noise makers to deter loitering teens and it reminded me of something that happened recently.  I was at the Steeplegate Mall with my sons (ages 11 & 9) and we parked in front of the main entrance by Talbots.  As we walked closer to the big bell tower my sons started complaining of a horrible noise.  I didn't hear anything and didn't know what they were complaining about.  We finished shopping and they insisted that I "listen" to the noise as we exited.  I really tried but I didn't hear ANYTHING.  Yes, I guess it's time to admit I'm 40 and I didn't hear the examples you played over the air either.  My immediate thought at the time was that the sound was to deter pigeons from roosting in the bell tower but maybe it's actually to deter all those rowdy Concord teenagers!

After placing a couple of calls to the management office at the mall, I finally heard back from Joseph Eaton, who confirmed that yes, in fact, there is a pigeon deterrent system at the mall. It was also clear that Joseph had done a little digging on us before he called back, because although I hadn't mentioned loitering in my message, he wanted to make is very clear that the Steeplegate Mallwould "never, ever" put into use a system to discourage their "target demographic." Namely, teenagers.

Case closed. 




Rebecca oversees the team that makes NHPR podcasts, including Outside/In and Civics 101. She has previously served as NHPR's Director of Audience & Engagement, Digital Director, and Senior Producer for Word of Mouth.
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