Yep, Gainesville’s the Top, Too…

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Gainesville's theTop kicks out Barefoot Justine

Gainesville’s the Top kicks out Barefoot Justine

Yep, folks, the Top at 30 N. Main St. in Gainesville Florida has also barred little ol’ Barefoot Justine from coming in (unless I submit and wear shoes)… and backed themselves up, once again, by erroneously quoting healthcode at me. When I tried to explain to them that there was no healthcode (see PDF here: FL2012 ) they quickly leapt to fear-filled plan B… and we all know what that is… right? Survey says: “GLASS!” Oh yes, glass, the fallback position of every establishment that does not know the healthcodes and wants to discriminate against me. Additionally, I’m not so sure I want to eat in a place that is so unfamiliar with the healthcodes anyway.

Add to this that I have been going to the Top barefoot for over a year and a half now… without incident. Why is this so important now?

Now some of you might say… “but Justine, a business has the right to serve whoever they want to serve.” I would argue that, but let’s pretend that that’s that… well then… don’t I have the right to speak out about it? Don’t I have the right to defend my right to choose, the right to defend my personal liberties? And furthermore, why is it so quickly accepted that a business can act like a bully, discriminate against someone for no good reason, then get the last word? Well, not with me, I have a platform to speak out, and there is no shame in doing so.

First off, no, there is NO healthcode, and if you can’t be bothered reading the PDF… let me quote the pertinent bit for you:

“…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,”

I rest my case on that one. Let’s also address the healthiness or unhealthiness of my being barefoot in a restaurant by saying simply this… I guarantee my feet are cleaner than the shoes of their employees–employees who go out to the Dumpsters, etc… etc… etc.

Let me also address the “liability” issue that everyone else falls back on. Bullshit. No court in the land would offer me a settlement if I cut my foot in a restaurant, and in my lifetime of going barefoot… this has never happened. Not once. Add to this, that those of us who go barefoot as a lifestyle choice and are fighting for our right to do so would never sue. We take responsibility for our actions, suing does not help us achieve the liberation we are seeking. Do I or do I not have the right to live as I choose in a free society?

What we have here is not merely bullying, but a clear case of busy-bodies thinking they have a right to tell me how to live and what choices to make. We have here another case of people reacting to something (my bare feet in this case) through fear and ignorance. Furthermore what we have here is simply a case of arbitrary discrimination. And that, to my mind, is beneath the spirit of this town.

Simply put, all I want is to be left alone to enjoy my simple life, simple pleasures, my right to choose, and my personal liberties. I don’t think that’s to much to ask for in “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” Well, I’m being free and brave… sure would be nice if the rest of Gainesville would do the same. I have made the choice not to conform, and it is no business of the Top or any shop to force me to do so, even if they are uncomfortable with people who simply choose to be different. What kind of world do you want to live in? Me, I want to live in a world where being a little different is embraced, not something to be frightened of or shunned, and it seems the Top has decided that true nonconformity is a threat to them. Sad, really.

Next time you’re in the Top, safely shielded from freaks like me, get a burger, they’re the best in town!

(Oh, I was asked to leave CFOP, Central Florida Office Plus, the same week, as a professional artist and teacher… this was a very BAD decision.)

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