I need mod points. I predict there is a 99.95% chance that mseeger is spot on. This was the first thing I thought of. For those of you who think "The Man" is just a control freak - he probably couldn't care less if you wear headphones or stuffed bananas in your ears. All he cares about is productivity and his bonus and probably not in that order. If some weenie in another cube is bitching that they can't listen to music because they are tied to a phone and "it's unfair, whaaaaaa" then he'll do whatever he thinks will create the least friction in getting his bonus. Apparently dealing with your programming group bitching about not being able to listen to music is the path of less frustration.
> and nobody had air in their cars.
Yeah, I remember the government education posters and bulletins reminding people to open the windows when they got in their cars lest they suffocate. They really needed to have a "Duck and Cover" type program for this - would have solved a lot of problems. I feel old now.