How To Win: Barefoot


(Barefoot alert: If you are not into the barefoot thing… bypass this post, this is for those liberated barefoot friends and fans)

One of the questions I am most often asked to address through my site (usually by other and often less experienced barefooters) is how I get away with going into restaurants and stores and such barefoot. The truth is, it’s rarely a problem, but when it is, there is no one single answer. Of course there are a lot of commonalities in how it is I pull it off, but each situation is different. I have even been asked very specifically how I deal with employees and managers who are confronting me and trying to kick me out or force me to submit and conform to their imaginary health code violations and imaginary liability issues (both of which are utterly bogus, even the liability stance is not an argument that holds any legal water, from the research I have seen it would be practically impossible for a barefoot customer to sue any establishment for an injury obtained through… what… cutting your foot on a paper cup or plastic spork?).

Today, for example was a day in which I had to deal with a manager at a Wendy’s. OK, I know, shame on me for eating corporate fast food, but sue me, I wanted a fish sandwich. The manager happened to be standing in the lobby, she interrupted her phone call while I was waiting on my order and told me that I had to “put on shoes.”

I looked her square in the eye and said: “It’s not a law, you need to look that up, and I don’t need to do that.”

Her jaw actually dropped and she stood there like a cow frozen in the headlights (I know, it’s supposed to be a deer in the headlights, but trust me, this particular Wendy’s manager was no doe).

I took my food, walked past her, sat down wherever the hell I wanted to and ate as she waddled off to the kitchen to take it out on her hapless employees.

And then I got back in my car grinning ear to ear, pumped my fist three times into the ceiling and drove away feeling pretty damn victorious! After all, in a life full of big losses, sometimes it’s the small victories that carry us through.

So, gang, that is one way to handle it! Good luck with this one. Hint: Be firm, calm and confident, after all, we are in the right 100%, and knowing that helps keep you calm.

4 responses »

  1. We need to continually debunk the myths, misinformation and misconceptions of driving, shopping and dining barefoot to educate the ignorant. Nonexistent laws, ordinances and violations are easy to verify and prove but dispelling the liability “belief” is the ultimate quencher. Honestly, you and I (and of course, Daniel Howell) are two of the few people that seem to post about that in a positive, informative way, hence, to our benefit. I’ve followed posts of fellow barefooters that argue that point or leave comments that are supportive of the misconception and I’m wondering, whose side are you on? If someone knows that it is, in fact, legal, healthy and safe and STILL gives you grief, they are either closed-minded or dislike you personally.

  2. As you mention, being assertive is very good, but then also be polite. Management does reserve the right to refuse business to anyone since barefoot is not a protected class (and their business insurance policy may also require, no bare feet), but there’s nothing wrong with educating them about the lack of laws about going barefoot.

    One time, I was barefoot in a store and a supervisor asked me where are my shoes. Well, I still own shoes but wear them as little as possible, so I told him I left them in the car (and I actually did). The supervisor adamantly said I needed shoes to be in there. I told him I was almost done shopping. The supervisor left me alone. I finished shopping without any further incident.

    • I disagree with the stance that they have the right to refuse service to anyone. I don’t believe anyone has any right to override anyone else’s personal liberties. Besides… it’s just another form of discrimination, so far as I’m concerned. Regardless, thanks for your thoughtful comments even in small areas where we might disagree.

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are moderated by Justine's webmaster, "ANONYMOUS" comments are auto-deleted, Justine will respond to all appropriate comments.

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