No bare feet

by order of...

Just a brief essay about another sign that is often posted on stores and restaurants. No bare feet by order of... the Health Department, corporate policy, the insurance company, whatever.

If you own a store and you do not want anyone to come in with bare feet, that is your right. I may not agree with it, and I seriously hope you will read some of the other essays on this site and find out some of the reasons why bare feet aren't quite so dangerous and/or dirty as many people think, but it's your store and your decision. So post a sign saying so, if you want. But it is YOUR decision, and I want to ask you to be honest about it. Don't put up anything that isn't true.

First of all, going barefoot in stores is NOT against any Health Department laws. The Society for Barefoot Living has collected letters from most states and there is no law against going into stores or restaurants barefoot, regardless of whether food is served or not. Thus, signs saying so are wrong. No matter what the other store across the street has on their window; they aren't the authority. The Health Department is. While this may not be enforced in many places, misrepresenting the law is actually illegal. Georgia's letter on the above website even mentioned that "If customers encounter these signs they need to notify the local (county) health department and the signs will be removed or reworded to reflect a store policy."

OSHA rules rarely mention footwear, and when they do it applies to employees only. OSHA rules are for employees, not customers. You can find more information on the SBL website.

Several people have tried to track down any mention in insurance policies about bare feet, and so far come up a blank. There are many, many insurance companies out there so there may be one that has a requirement for customers to wear shoes, but I haven't been able to find one. Which should count for something, because they usually go by real risk assessment and by laws, not by rumors or 'everybody knows' something is dangerous.

Few stores actually have corporate policies against barefoot customers. You may not like bare feet, that's your right, but please don't assume the rest of the world doesn't, either. Look it up before posting a sign that says so.

In short, posting a sign on your own authority or on a verified corporate policy is one thing. Posting a sign 'by order of' some rule or policy that doesn't exist, is another. It is cowardly, dishonest, and in case of the Health Department even illegal. How can a customer, with or without shoes, expect honest business from you when you post a lie on the front door?

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More barefoot links:
Index | Why NSNSNS signs are wrong | No bare feet by order of... | The dangers of bare feet are greatly exaggerated | Confrontations in stores, why it matters | Bare feet and colds | Driving barefoot and safety | Flying barefoot, comfort and safety | Bare feet, proper dress and respect | Dress codes in schools and elsewhere

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