Chopstix Cafe Tries To Tell Me What To Do

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Chopstix Cafe
3500 Southwest 13th Street, Gainesville, FL 32608

I for one am sick of being bullied by people who are flatly wrong.

I had a very bad experience at Chopstix Cafe (Chopstix Cafe
3500 Southwest 13th Street, Gainesville, FL 32608) today, and I wanted to take the time to let them know that they crossed someone who leads a public life and that they made a mistake on a number of levels.

I was rudely (VERY rudely) kicked out of Chopstix today for being barefoot under the false pretense that it is a violation of Florida health-code. First of all, it is NOT and has never been a violation of health-code, and secondly the man who confronted me with this misinformation was rude and obstinate about it, which was doubly embarrassing for him as he was 100% wrong. By the end of my attempts to fill him in on the laws he should know as a restaurateur, he was, rather like a bratty child, just barking the word “SHOES!” over and over again. A friend who was along for this as a witness was embarrassed for him.

Fact: (see enclosed letter below) It is, in fact, NOT a health-code violation of any kind to go barefoot into restaurants in Florida. Secondly, the individual was obnoxious about it and rigid in his determination to kick me out even though he was so totally in the wrong and ignorant of the law.

There are dozens of restaurants in town that I can go into freely, where the staff is educated in regards to Florida Department of Health codes, are friendly towards me, and don’t feel some perverse need to dictate my lifestyle and behavior. As a person who eats out frequently, and often with others, I will not be returning to Chopstix. Why they don’t want my money and my word of mouth business I can not imagine.

So, if you are a freedom loving person who enjoys your personal liberties and the right to choose, I suggest you eat elsewhere. But, if you are a Gainesvillian who enjoys having a business tell you what personal liberties you can and can not choose to enjoy, then Chopstix is for you… bon appetit!

Here is a link to the download of the OFFICIAL statement from the Florida Department Of Health:

http://www.barefooters.org/health-dept/FL.html

If you do not want to download that official letter, the information below should settle the issue:

“The Department of Health does not have any laws, codes, or regulations requiring patrons in restaurants, retail establishments, grocery stores and the like to wear shoes or other footwear.”

So, as you can see, Chopstix Cafe, 3500 Southwest 13th Street, Gainesville, FL 32608 had no legal reason to deny me entry, and they were wrong in doing so.

Link to download of Health Dept. letter below:

FL2009

P.S. To ward off other arguments or comments that are erroneous, for one, bare feet do NOT stink, feet stink because people keep them trapped in bacteria incubators (shoes). Additionally, the “cleanliness” argument falls flat as I know my clean and perfumed bare feet are far cleaner than that of the average busboy who goes out to the dumpster in his shoes then walks through the kitchen. As a barefoot person, I am very conscious of what I step in, people who wear shoes are not. So far as liability goes… I, for one, do not want to live in a society where we limit our personal liberties for what is, frankly, an absurd legal system. Additionally this blog is not about whether or not he had a right to kick me out, it is over the fact that he had no right to do so under the flatly false pretense that it was a health code violation, and being as flatly wrong as he was, he certainly had no right to be obnoxious about it as well.

3 responses »

  1. Wow, that guy sounds like a total jackass. Although any establishment has the right to implement any dress code they wish, the ignorance of so many restaurant employees must be extremely frustrating for you and others who embrace a barefoot lifestyle!

    I’m a server at a hotel restaurant that has a strict policy against serving patrons who are not wearing footwear. Being a hotel, it’s not uncommon for guests – particularly younger children – to enter the restaurant without wearing shoes, so this is something we typically address a few times a week. The sign at the front simply reads, “Dress code in effect: Shoes required.” However, many of my fellow employees and management fall back on the untrue statement of “it’s a health code violation”. In fact, I have to confess I believed this false information for years myself, right up until earlier today when I decided to do a bit of online research. (This is actually what brought me to your blog) I don’t believe my place of employment will change their policy, but I’m going to make sure my coworkers are educated about this issue and no longer use “health code violation” as an excuse for why patrons cannot go barefoot.

    While going barefoot doesn’t appeal to me personally, I just want to say that I fully applaud you and others who choose to do so. I may even write my sociology thesis on this topic!

    • Actually, to my understanding it is illegal to even post “No bare feet by order of the Health Department” as signage as it is illegal to claim laws that do not exist. Such policies are simply signs of a cultural uptightness and are definitely proof that we are not truly free, not if we cannot enjoy even the simplest of pleasures and personal liberties. There is a word for this situation in which people enforce laws that do not exist, they are called “Phantom Laws.” For more on that check out the book “Ain’t Nobody’s Business If You Do.” Thanks for your comment!

  2. Bare feet stink only if they’ve stepped on pet poop or stinky water. Otherwise, at most they will have a slight smell (not *odor*) of grass or asphalt depending on which one was walked on last.

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