Note: This article was written by guest writer Neil C.
IF A BUSINESS IS INTOLERANT OF BARE FEET, THERE ARE PLENTY OF OTHER CHOICES!
By Neil C.
As someone that has gone barefoot for over three decades, I have seen that businesses can be either tolerant or intolerant of my bare feet. Despite the reality that being barefoot is not illegal in a store or business, I continue to come up against the intolerant types that refuse me service or ask me to put on shoes next time I come into the store (like that is going to happen! Lol).
Contact with corporate management of three local stores resulted in very disappointing results
Recently I emailed three companies about being asked to leave because of my bare feet. They were Dunkin’ Donuts, Cumberland Farms, and Stop & Shop. The corporate offices responded and were empathetic up to a point.
They all agreed that being barefoot in a business establishment was not illegal in any state, but there was a loophole. Dunkin’ Donuts and Cumberland Farms indicated that they were franchised out, and the policy of footwear was up to the franchise owner. They said that they couldn’t enforce tolerance of bare feet in those stores. Stop & Shop didn’t mention the franchise model, but did indicate that it would reach out to the local store I complained about, as did Dunkin’ Donuts and Cumberland Farms.
Then I received responses from the franchise owners of the Dunkin’ Donuts and Cumberland Farms stores. Both owners were apologetic, but held firm on their policy of no bare feet in their stores.
The Dunkin’ Donuts store owner even offered to have a worker bring my order out to my car if I ordered it on line and didn’t want to go through the drive thru. Although he tried to rectify the issue, I didn’t appreciate his store gladly taking my money but not allowing me inside!
The store manager of the Stop & Shop flat out said, “There are signs on the entrance doors, sorry!”
Individual stores within a company often have totally different dress code requirements
The problem with these companies is, it depends on which individual store you go to as to whether you get asked to leave or your bare feet will be accepted. I have actually found certain stores of these chains (Dunkin’ Donuts, Cumberland Farms, and Stop & Shop) close by that were accepting of my bare feet. So, because they respected my choice to be barefoot, I decided to support their businesses. In fact the workers were not only accepting of me, but were also very friendly and welcoming.
As someone that is almost always barefoot, I have multiple businesses that I frequent and support because of their acceptance of my bare feet. They include Cafe Sol, Crest Ford, and the Book Barn, all located in Niantic, Connecticut. Also, Kohl’s department store is very barefoot friendly, and since I like their store, it joins the list of places I will spend my money.
Sometimes another customer busybody attempts to dictate how I should dress
Another issue I have come across in the past is other patrons complaining to workers or management about my bare feet and then being told that I couldn’t be barefoot in the store. What really bothers me even more than those people that complained was the fact that these businesses actually catered to them and asked me to put on shoes or leave. I walk into a business, spend my money and then get asked to leave because I am barefoot! I refused to comply and proudly walked out, never to return.
Only once at a Cumberland Farms in Madison, Connecticut, another patron complained about my feet, but to the manager’s credit, she indicated that it was not against the law, and I had every right to be in the store barefoot. And yes I frequent that store because of their barefoot tolerant attitude.
If all else fails to resolve a confrontation, I will simply leave and find a friendlier store
In closing, if a business is intolerant of my bare feet, I can go elsewhere, because there are plenty of choices. I will not compromise and financially support any business that doesn’t accept and respect my choice of a barefoot lifestyle.