No Shoes, No Shirt, Great Service

I love my job for many reasons. One of the main reasons is that I am constantly bombarded with information, data, and opinions from customers and employees. This puts me in the fortunate position to learn. As many of us realize, the best part about being alive is learning.

It’s summer time, so I’m going to share some customer feedback and let one of our many wonderful customers write my blog post for me (unbeknownst to him!). Shortly after receiving his email, we reversed our “no shoes” policy…

To whom it may concern,

I’ve been a customer at your stores for 7 years. I really like your store, as it has great a great selection of natural and organic products. Lately, I was told that I can not come into the store unless I had shoes on by an employee. I was told that I had to wear shoes for my safety. I have no problem with any other store in the area, such as Lauer’s Super Market, Safeway, Walmart, etc. in terms of being barefoot. I really do like your store, but I am getting to point where I would rather just go to another store than have to deal with being told that I have to put shoes on. I just don’t want to be hassled in that way.

Being barefoot, for me, is a lifestyle choice I made 2 years ago as a means to improve my health, and it works. The only time I have anything at all on my feet is when I deem it necessary to protect them from injury such as on construction site or at work. I hike trails and roads and I drive barefoot and go to many other stores and restaurants in the area barefoot without prejudice.

And prejudice it is when you employ a no shoes, no shirt policy. It has no logical basis at all. At the time the no shirt, no shoes, no service sign came in existence, in the late ’60s, it was designed to keep hippies out of stores. Plain and simple- prejudice against a certain group of people. The concept is antiquated.

There is no law regarding footwear or lack of for customers in a retail establishment. There is virtually no chance of liability from a barefoot customer getting injured in your store, because being barefoot, in itself, is seen as a voluntary choice on the part of a barefoot person who acknowledges a certain level of risk in doing so. Also, a habitually barefoot person KNOWS where his feet are and is more aware of their surroundings and the surface they walk on than people who habitually wear shoes. There is a much greater risk to you by allowing flip flops or high heels on your stores. Check with your legal department on the number of lawsuits from people that wear shoes vs. barefoot. There have been virtually no barefoot injury related law suits filed in the US in the last 100 years vs. thousands from shod customers.

I would like you to rescind your anti-barefoot policy as I do like the selection in your stores. I just can not do business with a company that has an ingrained policy based on myths and prejudice that, while they want my money, is disrespectful of my personal lifestyle choices.