Re: A Peculiar ding

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Posted ByDavid M. Lynch on December 10, 2002 at 03:49:23:

In Reply to: A Peculiar ding posted byMichael on December 10, 2002 at 00:52:11:

: With all the Christmas shopping adventures of Jack's I have been listening to, there is one background sound that I am wondering about... an example can be found in the "cuff links" show [12/2/51]. It is a soft dinging sound that you hear about 2:17 into the show. I know it's not a cash register sound... and it is something I remember hearing for real in Marshall Fields in Chicago when I was about 2 or 3 years old(about 30 years ago). What is this Peculiar Ding supposed to be?

I don't have a copy of the 12/2/51 show, but IF the "ding" you mention is what I'm thinking it might be (based on your memory of hearing it "for real" in Marshall Fields), here's a rather lengthy explanation:

Before the widespread use of intercoms in department stores and grocery stores, many stores relied on a simple "bell system" (or whatever a specific store would call theirs) to communicate with employees. Basically, if you were (or your department was) represented by two dings, when two dings sounded over the store's sound system, you knew you had to provide a price check, or return to your post, whatever.

My first job was as a grocery clerk in 1973. The clerks would often have to interrupt their aisle duties to bag groceries for customers, and the lowest men on the totem pole would be summoned in ascending order of seniority. By 1973, they had an intercom so they could call "David up front, please," when it was my turn to bag, but the clerks with more seniority still referred to the lowest man as "bell one," and the next man up as "bell two," etc., as a holdover to the pre-intercom days.

Now, assuming that this IS the "ding" you're referring to, the casual usage of those dings means that one or all of the writers thought they were important enough to include, simply to add a touch of realism to department store scenes. With such attention to detail, it's no wonder these shows still hold our interest so many years later!

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