The Barefoot Criminal

Discussion in 'Barefootedness' started by happysongbird, Sep 23, 2013.

  1. happysongbird

    happysongbird Chapter Presidents
    1. Idaho

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    I'm also a little unclear about what a "store policy" is. I understand that it is a private company, but they are open for business. At what point do they get to say wear this, but not this to come into our store? If they are inconsistent, like not requiring surgical gloves and hand washing at every station (which would stress out my hands, I can tell you), how can their supposed policy have any meaning?
     
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  2. happysongbird

    happysongbird Chapter Presidents
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    I subscribe to articles of an organization called The Foundation for Economic Education. I submitted a question to them in hopes that they will write an article addressing this. Here is a copy of my email:

    Hello,
    I have followed your publications online for a few months now and recommended them many times. I have learned a lot and felt better prepared to discuss and face the world around me. However, I currently find myself facing a situation for which I am conflicted about how to apply property rights for a business of which I am a customer.
    The scenario is this: I have been going barefoot for about 3 years now. It started out as running (I have run up to 14 miles without any kind of footwear). As I gained knowledge about the benefits of avoiding shoes, I began going barefoot more in the rest of my life, too. I have been in various places of business, and even the county courthouse barefoot without an issue. But lately, I went into a grocery store that I frequent and they noticed and nearly had me arrested.
    The bottom line is that their sign ( that was obscured some by items for sale ) is a lie and it is not against the law. I have researched this. I wrote to the headquarters and they admitted this, but then fell back on liability and store policy. As someone who has come to accept the libertarian perspective of government, I am somewhat confused about how to approach this. Is a business strictly private in the sense that they can set any sort of weird rules about access that they want to? Or once they open the doors to customers in general, have they given up some privacy to the rights of self-determination and privacy of the customer. For example, even though it is private property, they would not have any right of privacy to pilfer my purse. Why then, would they have a right to tell me what to wear on my feet?
    Here are a couple of links that might be helpful. I would love to see an article addressing this in general, and if it uses the bare feet example, so much the better!
    http://www.barefooters.org/key-works/case_for/2.discrimination.html#2.4
    http://www.barefooters.org/health-dept/ID2009.pdf
     
  3. Longboard

    Longboard Chapter Presidents
    1. Michigan

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    Ahcuah has extensive experience with this issue. I'm hoping he will chime in soon.
     

  4. stjohnthegambler

    stjohnthegambler Barefooters
    1. Colorado

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    Yeah, you're not the only one this has happened to. I've had a store manager become livid when he saw me. Hard to stay calm in that situation, but I asked to see copy of the store policy. He said he'd provide it once security had escorted me in a back office. I said I'd wait. He said he'd call the cops. I said, ok, put on my moccosins, then he just said he was going to escort me out. I left. Never went back.
    But, there's no laws, no policies, no health codes, BUT store owners do have the right kick out anyone they want, for basically any reason, like that I/you/we are causing a commotion or something. It's all BS, I know, but I got sick of being the target of anger and I've gone back to wearing shoes in stores. Which, I don't like, but....I wish I could afford to have a lawyer on speed dial, that would rock.
    It really seem to depend on the person in charge. This guy was just an ass. Other stores are fine with it. I've also found that if it's another customer complaining, like it seems happened with you, then that trumps everything, which is again BS, because why does one customers feelings trump anothers?
    You're doing the right, reasonable, thing. I've about other people writing and getting permission from store managers. That seems the best way. Usually I'm a fan of 'better to ask forgiveness than permission' but...
    Anyways, I'm rambling. I'm interested to see what happens with this. Sick your mom on them!
     

  5. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
    1. Nomad

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    I would like to go into those stores with you, Lauren and John, and have them come up to me on those days I am in too much pain to wear shoes to tell me to put on some shoes or get out. I would show them my eight long scars on my feet and ask them if they were discriminating against me.

    So, shoes directly screwed up my feet, and I am damaged for life! And here's the thought...

    These stores want people to put on footwear, shoes that their customers may not know is unhealthy for them, in order to shop in their stores. Like western society, these stores tell us shoes are best for us, because they don't know any better; they don't know the truth. They are potentially adding to the damage being done to their customers' feet. Confront them about that.
     
  6. DNEchris

    DNEchris Barefooters
    1. New York

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    If they are concerned about "muck" being brought into their stores on the soles of your feet tell them you'll put shoes on as soon as they make every other customer take their shoes off before they come into the store!
     
  7. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    But then there would be nasty fungus feet walking all over the place. Yuck! :stinkyfeet:
     
  8. Tristan

    Tristan Barefooters
    1. Ohio

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    I'd love to go into some places barefoot, but until its more widely known that its ok I'll be slipping on my huaraches. I'm not one to make a scene. But I have to wonder, these places like grocery stores and department stores that dont formaly have any policy against barefoot that some of ya'll go bf into, do you have to wear a shirt? Through summer atleast, I'm shirtless just as much as I am barefoot...
     
  9. Longboard

    Longboard Chapter Presidents
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    Shirtless attracts even more attention and makes getting away with being barefoot much more difficult. Also less accepted by other shoppers than bare feet are because your body is way closer to eye level. Of course there will be the occasional shopper who's day you actually made though and they will let you know!
     

  10. Tristan

    Tristan Barefooters
    1. Ohio

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    Yeah thats what I figured ^ but it just goes to show the shoes and shirt rule isnt about safety or health code or anything, but just about whats viewed as socially acceptable if you know what I mean. I mean what could be wrong about not having a shirt on unless your serving someone food with a hairy chest? Its just about image and what the masses view as appropriate. Now most of us here just focus on the footwear aspects since we do believe its actually better for your health (and whether you wear a shirt or not inside a store doesnt affect your health much) but I don't see a big difference, and I dont really see that changing anytime soon, around here at least, but wish it would.
     
  11. happysongbird

    happysongbird Chapter Presidents
    1. Idaho

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    I am working on a blog post that I plan to send the link of to the store managers and hope that many of my FB friends will chime in on and make it popular. I don't want to be antagonistic, but I do want to make some points with confidence.
     
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  12. Longboard

    Longboard Chapter Presidents
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    It works. Do it. Count me in.
     

  13. inakilt

    inakilt Barefooters
    1. Virginia

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    Someone may have to go to court to put this lie to bed.
     

  14. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota
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    I went into my neighborhood's mom and pop store yesterday afternoon to pick up some steaks. They have a great butcher. Many months ago I was told not to come in again without footwear, and then shortly thereafter a noSSS (no Shirts, no Shoes, no Service) sign went up. I started going in with sandals or loafers. But yesterday I forgot to bring footwear. I thought "oh well, on the weekends it's usually just young people manning the store, they won't bother me." But the young butcher, although very friendly, did confront me, and asked me politely to wear footwear next time. I explained that I had already been through this with one of the owner's sons or nephews, and had been complying since then, but had forgot to bring footwear this time.

    But then I felt a little mad, and asked him why exactly I needed to wear something on my feet. He told me it was an insurance issue. OH, that one. Unfortunately, I couldn't articulate very well why that was BS. So now I'm thinking of printing out the SBL's commentary on that issue and bringing it into the manager on Monday. I mean, I had just jogged barefoot around a good chunk of St. Paul earlier in the day, and now they're telling me I might get hurt while waiting for them to weigh and wrap my ribeye? I felt a little humiliated. Like he was indulging that one crazy dude who somehow accidentally ended up living in this comfy neighborhood full of closed-minded liberals. So I guess I'm preparing myself to make a bit of a stink.

    It would be easier if they were some kind of chain, but it's actually just two guys who bought the struggling store 15 or 20 years ago, and turned it around. Our neighborhood has a nice, thriving local business district, and I like to support it, but at the same time, it would be nice not to be the barefoot freak, so if I can edify them a bit on the issue, and perhaps make a small stand for personal liberty, it will be worth it.
     
  15. Sid

    Sid Barefooters

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    I hear you. Sometimes, the success of small businesses are exquisitely sensitive to public perception. "Don't go to that store, because they let [person(s)] in there."

    Do all the chain stores in your area allow people to go barefoot? If not, that might be a good place to start. Once people start going barefoot regularly in those, then maybe the sign in the local store will come down on its own.

    Also, frequently the chain stores would offer more exposure for barefooting. Not going to the local store until they permitted barefooting, would be neglectible on their business (at least until barefooting becomes more common).
     
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  16. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    The chain stores mostly seem OK, but I'm not militant about it. When I'm out and about doing errands, I usually bring sandals along, although when I haven't, there's never been a problem. Most of the chain store shopping is done by my wife anyway.

    The problem with the local place is just that, it's local, very convenient for picking up a few things on the way home, and like I said, they have a great butcher. So it would be a real hassle to drive out to the suburban shopping area, or to St. Paul's Midway area, just to pick up a few odds and ends on the way home from picking up the kids, or on a weekend outing.

    As for other customers, I doubt they care. This is a neighborhood full of college professors and professionals, who probably like to imagine themselves as tolerant, liberal, NPR-type folk. They all gush when I bring in my beautiful biracial children.

    So it's really just the peevishness of the owners and their sons/nephews, who are overweight and unhealthy-looking. Still, they're nice, calm people (except for one duffus who seems to have 'issues' that extend well beyond phoot-phobia). So perhaps with the help of the SBL's "A Case for Bare Feet" pamphlet, which I've just printed out, they will be open to the voice of reason and overcome their silly, but quite common, prejudices.

    Nobody at the local school or our daycare seems to care, and those are the places where I most frequently enter barefoot. And my kids usually kick off their shoes as soon as I arrive, so I don't think I'm making them feel uncomfortable for having a slightly non-conformist dad. Most of the parents are pretty normal-looking, although there's a few loaded with tats, piercings, and stuff like that, and several other biracial families. It's a pretty live-and-let-live neighborhood overall, although of course they are seldom confronted with practices that really run contrary to their notions of normal.

    One thought if I lose this battle, is to come in with a helmet and work-gloves every time I shop at the store, since it's so dangerous. Would be a nice humorous form of protest.
     
  17. Longboard

    Longboard Chapter Presidents
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    Local independents are much easier to tame using information and presenting your case than chains are. But, if the answer is still "no", you will never change their mind, they are either a foot hater or way to stubborn to ever admit they they were misinformed.
     

  18. Barefoot Walker

    Barefoot Walker Barefooters
    1. Iowa

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    Oh, yes, I have had this happen, in many different places. Sometimes I win, others I lose, but seldom do the people who think it’s the law leave the encounter without being enlightened.
    One such incident involved a police officer telling me to leave at once because it was the law! I demanded to speak with his supervisor and he said he would contact said person, but didn’t and just drove off after I had gone outside (and the convenience store accepted my bare feet with no problem at all)! (That was my big mistake; I should have stood my ground and if he arrested me, would have sued them for every cent I could when he was proven wrong!) When I got home, I called the police department and complained, and got an apology a few days later, in which they stated that the officer had received a reprimand.
    This year, I had a confrontation at a Casey’s General Store®, which sported a sign on the door stating that it was a state health department regulation (which is wrong in two ways; first, the Health Department is not the body that oversees food establishments in Iowa; that duty falls to the department of Inspections and Appeals; and second, there is no such regulation). I told the person that this was not the case and therefore the sign was invalid. I got nowhere but did complete my transaction. I called the corporate office when I got home, and the person who took the call just said that it was their policy not to allow bare feet. I replied that they should state it as such instead of lying, but she was sure she was right. I told her I would file a case with the state attorney general, and she invited me to go ahead, so I did, citing fraud by misrepresenting the law, including a photograph of the sign. (q. v.) The attorney general’s office acknowledged my submission but I heard nothing more. The next time I was by that store, though, the sign was gone. I have the feeling that the person I talked with at corporate probably called them and said to remove it. 20121231_07_store_sign4.jpg
    I had an interesting incident at a Dollar Tree® store during which the manager put up a handwritten sign on the door. When I went by there a week later, no sign, so I presume his boss had told him that was not their policy, and I never have had a problem at any of their stores.
    One place I absolutely refuse to do business with because it is a corporate policy is Dollar General®. So I put in my email taglines to boycott them.
    To sum up, I never cover my feet for anyone, nor do I even have any footwear around, and places that say they do not want bare feet get this reply: “It is my policy not to do business with any establishment which discriminates in this manner.” I then add, “NS³ equals no dollars!”. While some will not back down, most decide they want my money.
    Demand your right to shop barefoot!
     
  19. Tristan

    Tristan Barefooters
    1. Ohio

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    Walker, thats inspiring that you always go barefoot and dont even have shoes. Do you not have to wear shoes to work or do you work from home or something?
     
  20. Barefoot Walker

    Barefoot Walker Barefooters
    1. Iowa

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    Please—it’s Barefoot Walker!:)
    I am retired, which is why I have been barefoot almost continuously since 1997.
    I write that “s” word as “sh**s”.
    Stay barefoot all!
     

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