Co-op Supermarket Manningtree

The Co-op has a bad name with Pipedown members but the East of England Co-operative, in whose area I used to live, seems to be completely muzac-free. No muzac; no North Korean style promotional announcements; nix; nada. The shop is pleasant, the staff friendly, and it is reasonably well stocked and not too big!

What else to say? The local Post Office is in there. What is more, as with all co-op shop chains, you can join and vote for any change you want but you won’t have to vote against piped music!

Open 0700 – 2100 Monday to Saturday, 1000 – 1600 Sunday

Booth’s Supermarkets

Founded in 1847 and still run by the same family, Booths has 26 branches in Lancashire, Cheshire, Yorkshire and Cumbria. It prides itself on selling as much locally grown food as it can (80% of its fresh meat is locally produced). It frequently wins awards, including several from CAMRA, the International Wine Challenge Award and the Food and Farming Industry.

All staff share in the company’s profits and are free of the menace of stress-inducing piped music. This helps to make the stores agreeable places in which to shop or to work.

N.B. The map shows the central office. For the time being, please use the store locator at the URL shown below.

A family-run chain of supermarkets with a human face in northwest England.

Lidls Supermarkets

It may surprise some people that Lidl, the famous cost-cutting chain of supermarkets, is free of piped music, but it should not.
Piped music is an unnecessary extra expense for a chain that concentrates on low prices.
Lidl stores, if not luxurious, are therefore pleasant to shop in – far more so than muzac-polluted places such as Somerfield or Asda. Lidl staff, being free from the stress of unwanted music being forced on them, are actually more likely to be relaxed and helpful.

Lidl’s: a muzac-free discount supermarket chain
For details and locations of their stores visit

John Lewis/Waitrose chain of stores

No real need to say anything about this famous and excellent chain of department stores and supermarkets run on cooperative principles (all the people working in them share in the profits) except that the chain has been growing steadily for many years – at least in part because of the lack of piped music. Their no-music policy has recently been confirmed.

The John Lewis chain of department stores and the associated chain of c. 150 Waitrose supermarkets are free of piped music.
For details of branches visit or call free 0800 188884.