PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (CBS Connecticut) – For some, the idea of Christmas coming early is anything but welcome.
Local shop owner Sarah Hamilton-Parker, tired after years tolling bells sounded by Salvation Army workers for hours on end during the holiday season, took matters into her own hands by reaching out to local authorities to complain about the noise.
“I listen to this for 200 hours a year,” Hamilton-Parker told the Portsmouth Herald. “This is my fourth year and I can’t take it anymore. I’m so sick of it.”
The frustrated business owner explained that, for five weeks out of every year, from morning to night, she hears the bells ringing as Salvation Army workers attempt to raise money for their cause.
She added of the ordeal, “It makes me hate Christmas.”
After asking the Salvation Army directly for peace and quiet – and attempting to drown out the noise with everything from ear plugs and bell-like music in her shop – Hamilton-Parker finally reached out to the local authorities to see if the bell-ringing falls under the jurisdiction of the city’s noise ordinance.
Police Capt. Mike Schwartz reportedly felt it did not, however.
“I recognize her concern, but it’s something the city has given permission for,” he told the Herald. “They don’t even let me pick out my own clothes, so I don’t have a say in it. But you do have a voice in city government. These are not back-room decisions.”
Salvation Army Northern New England Division representative Pat James told Sea Coast Online that she as investigating the complaint, and hoping to find ways to lower Hamilton-Parker’s blood pressure, including the idea of giving ringers a bell that doesn’t audibly ring.
She added that the location near Hamilton-Parker’s store is good for raising money, and hoped to find a workable solution for all parties involved.
“The kettle effort is such an important program to help us help other people,” she said to the local news service. “The money raised is critical for our services.”