Rite Aid Stores Blast Barry Manilow To Deter Panhandlers, Vagrants

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Even as homelessness becomes an increasingly visible issue facing Los Angeles and other cities across the U.S., one of the nation’s biggest pharmacy chains is turning to an unlikely source to help ease the problem.

Barry Manilow, the 75-year-old singer-songwriter famous for hits such as “Copacabana” and “Mandy,” has long been a staple on soft rock radio, but now several Rite Aid stores in Southern California are playing his music specifically to deter transients.

Stores in Hollywood, Long Beach and San Diego are among those blasting Manilow’s music outside their entrances to keep panhandlers away – and judging from some social media posts, it appears to be working.

Record producer John Fields captured the ambience in a YouTube video shot outside a Rite Aid store at Sunset and Gower, where he says the “best of Barry Manilow cranks through the parking lot PA system.”

But some customers have been confused and even complained, forcing managers at the Hollywood store to shut Manilow off completely.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the Manilow deterrent would be used at other Rite Aid stores across the country.

A Rite Aid spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal: “We are in the early stages of exploring this approach and have not made any decision about the potential rollout of this to additional stores.”

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