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7-Eleven Emits Piercing Sound to Prevent Panhandlers

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SACRAMENTO-

It's a sound that is hard to ignore.

"Loud piercing noise and it hurt my ears and stuff," said 7-Eleven customer Mia Bigby.

"It's annoying," said Connie West, who frequents the area.

But the tones are helping this 7-Eleven at Watt and Myrtle Avenues get rid of vagrants. Employees tell us off camera since putting in the speakers a week ago, the difference has been night and day.

Regular customers tell FOX40 before the ringing it was rare if you didn't get asked for spare change.

"They come out here and bug you and ask for money," said Richard Kellenberger, a 7-Eleven customer.

"And I mean I hate the harassment," Bigby said.

"You don't want to make eye contact," West told FOX40.

Still, opinions on which is more annoying, the panhandlers or the noise, differ among customers.

"I think the beeping, because people bugging you for change you can say 'Sorry, I don't have any,' [but] this noise you can't get rid of," Kellenberger said.

"People bugging me for change [is worse]," West added.

But the problme is the noise can be heard past the 7-Eleven property and is even audible across the street.

At the Golden Corral next door, management says they have gotten several complaints.

"How can people work here and deal with that squeaking all the time? It would drive you nuts," said Kellenberger.

The solution might also only be temporary. A few blocks away, the 7-Eleven at Watt and Elkhorn has been using a similar device for several years, according to employees and they said the panhandlers have returned.

"They should have hired somebody to run them off rather than put up with this annoying squeaking," Kellenberger said.

Still customers tell us the walk from their car to inside the store, where the sound is less irritating is brief, and few said they are planning to stay far away.

"It's a convenience store. I'm here to shop, in-and-out you know? That's what I'm here to do," said Bigby.