Flags, feet and freedom

“To paraphrase Mr. Kuhn, it’s time to wake up, Buncombe County.” [“What the Flag Really Represents” by Sean McNeal, Letters, Aug. 8]. This struck a chord. We all need to show our concerns that our great nation is in peril. I’m not big on using my truck as a billboard, but after 9/11, there was a lot of flag-waving to show ourselves and the world that we would heal and continue on. I proudly placed two magnetic flags on the backside panels of my truck. After reading Mr. McNeal’s letter the other night, I went outside and turned the flags over.

We must display the same warning signs as the Kuhns so bravely and boldly attempted. This administration’s total disregard of the Constitution and the rights of its citizens has created a trickle-down effect that has led to abuse of power. America has also fallen into physical disrepair (Katrina and Minneapolis come to mind). So please let’s not have any “Love it or leave it” rebuttals. This is not a call to cut and run, but to stand forward, roll up the shirtsleeves and get to work taking our country back.

On another note, Kriss Sands [“Foot-in-store Is No Disease,” Aug. 8] doesn’t quite understand the real history of the “No shirt, No shoes, No service” dress code. Prior to the 1960s, there was no need for such signage because people wouldn’t ever think of going out in public without the proper clothing. But with the “Peace, Love, Dove” movement, things did change. It was not “pro-government businesses” striking back at barefoot hippies, but the necessity of staying in business by keeping the majority of paying customers comfortable. I should know, because I was one of those barefoot hippies.

Now, I don’t want to look at you, barefoot and shirtless, while I’m eating a dinner that I paid for. But for the moment, let us just tackle the issue of bare feet in a restaurant. During a day’s business, food and drink get spilled and the floor becomes slippery. Glasses break on a regular basis. You come strutting in sans-shoes, do the slip and slide, slash and bleed, and everyone who unwillingly comes in contact with your blood has to get tested for AIDS (I’m not saying you’ve got it, but this is a fact of today’s world). Or the crack on your way-post-hippy-head makes you see dollar signs, and then my favorite place is out of business. Just how you would dress in court to win your lawsuit?

— Dean Butckovitz
Fairview

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17 thoughts on “Flags, feet and freedom

  1. Brian Daniels

    I wish I could meet Dean Butckovitz. In me he would meet, perhaps, one of the ‘squarest’ individuals he’s ever known. I am an Eagle Scout, a life-long Republican (voted for W twice without flinching), a pastor, married 26 years. I am in management where I work.

    And I am a full-time barefooter. The issues that Mr. Butckovitz cites are really non-issues. (I can’t believe he is serious about ‘slip-slide and spread AIDS to the whole restaurant’.) The fact is that shoes are patently unhealthy. They cause corns, bunions, hammer toes, unnatural stride, claw toes, and in-grown toenails. They contribute to the hibernation and growth of athlete’s foot and other fungi, foot odor, foot pain and calluses.

    Perhaps I don’t want to look at you torturing your feet in leather traps while I dine. But I don’t object. I let you alone – I wish you would please learn to leave healthy barefooters alone as well.

    Sincerely,
    Brian Daniels

  2. P. Wilson

    I don’t really care much either way on the barefoot-in-a-restaurant thing, but I think suggesting that my going barefoot is somehow a health risk to you is silly in the extreme. It’s just as likely that I would cut my finger on a knife at my table as on some ubiquitous broken glass on the floor (which would most likely be so small as to cause only discomfort to me, unless the waitresses really don’t know how to sweep.) Plus, in all fairness, you are just as likely to slip in spilled juice while wearing shoes as while barefoot, if not moreso. And the idea that if one person bleeds in a public place, everyone else in that place has to get tested for AIDS was on its way out in 1990, let alone now. I think going barefoot in public is just one of those hard-to-break taboos, and people are willing to think of all sorts of three-stooges-esque scenarios to explain why they think it should be forbidden.

  3. Leo

    Dean,
    You are wrong.
    Prior to the late 60’s, “No shoes,no service” signs were non existant, because barefoot shoppers/diners were as welcome as everyone else.
    It was only during the “hippie” era of the late 60’s-early 70’s that the prohibition of bare feet was enacted by some retailers.
    The connection of bare feet to any type of political persuasion is long gone.
    I also am a politically conservative business owner/health care provider/advocate for the unshod.
    Get over it. We barefooters are just that- barefooters.

  4. Kriss

    So I don’t quite understand the real history of the “No shirt, No shoes, No service” dress code? I suspect I’m a little older than you. I didn’t spend the ’60’s as a “barefoot hippy” as you say you did. I worked in a business trying to support a family. I know what was going on back then, and those signs had nothing to do with economics and everything to do with politics.

    As to “proper clothing,” what is “proper clothing”? Who makes that determination? Certainly not you. Every generation pretty much throughout history has been condemned by its elders for dressing inappropriately. But has there ever been another time in history when people began resorting to posting signs specifically banning certain people for specific modes of dress? Possibly, but if it has happened, it was never with the passion and political fervor that NSNSNS signs represented to the business owners who were doing it as a political statement, not a moral or fashion statement, and not as a way to not lose customers.

    Young people just got fed up with the continuing war, the government, its policies, and other generally older people who supported the status quo, all collectively referred to as the establishment. So they rebelled. Part of this rebellion was manifested in manner of dress, including footwear, or lack thereof.

    In the minds of those who wanted to put down these rebels and protesters, both no shirt and no shoes were seized upon as being symbols of these “bums” (as Nixon called them), and attacking these symbols was easier than attacking the hated protesters themselves. Thus, if you were wearing no shoes and/or no shirt, you were by default a member this “lower class” of society, that is, those misguided young people who would dare question the motives and morals of the United States government, and were not much better than traitors. They did not deserve the services of those people who at least worked for a living and tried to run a business instead of marching, protesting and generally wasting their lives on nonsense. “No shoes, no shirt, no service” would show them they were not appreciated and their actions would not be tolerated by decent Americans.

  5. Timothy Mills

    Mr. Butckovitz seems to like sharing negitive oppinions about people. Like Mr. Daniels, I’m a very rounded and active individual. I’m an Eagle Scout, a lifetime member of the Order of the Arrow (Scouting’s honor society), a special educator, a Scout Master, and an educator who works with special needs children. These things are hardly the image of a “hippy” he is talking about. I also happen to be a barefooter as well.

    While Mr. Butckovitz is entitle to his oppinion, I do Not believe a profession commentator/editor should be in the habbit of steriotyping people like this. Sir, I know many people who love going barefoot including, Doctors, teachers, managers, published authors, artists, entertainers, etc. We are poeple from all walks of life, and backgrounds. Our only commonality is that we enjoy walking barefoot. To label everyone who gose barefoot a “Hippy” is not only steriotyping, it is also untrue and unfair.

    In the future, consider not falling back on these steriotypes. Also, if you would try promoting tolerance instead of hate and steriotypes, you would reach many more poeple. Don’t underestimate the power of random kindness, it goes much further than you might think.

  6. Charlie

    “….“No shirt, No shoes, No service” dress code. Prior to the 1960s, there was no need for such signage because people wouldn’t ever think of going out in public without the proper clothing.”

    I don’t know what part of the country you grew up in but in Missouri and Arkansas I could walk in anywhere barefoot and no one questioned it except maybe that you were too poor to own a pair of shoes. No one looked down on you because of that either.

    “I should know, because I was one of those barefoot hippies.” I doubt it, your present attitude doesn’t demonstrate peace, love, tolerance.

    Maybe you should take off your shoes and try to live again instead of being one of the establishment that you say you rebelled against.

  7. Danielle

    Dean, wow. That last paragraph was a little extreme. 1st off, I’m a Barefooter & step on glass all the time (hey, I live in New York, it happens). I never cut my feet. My soles are very strong & Mother Nature continues to make them even stronger. My body adapts.

    2nd, I have NEVER slipped on a wet surface in barefeet. If anything, my barefeet PREVENT me from slipping. When I used to wear sneakers, I would slip & slide all over the place (especially on those smooth tiles in grocery stores). But now, I never slip.

    Also, it’s perfectly understandable that you don’t want to see barefeet while you’re eating. Some people just have issues with feet. But why should I be uncomfortable because of your issue? You don’t have to look, right?
    (I don’t want to see people chewing with their mouths open while I’m eating, but we can’t force people to change the way they chew, can we? So I just don’t look).
    What about people in sandals? You can still see their feet, too, but somehow that’s okay?

    Sir, if you’ve got a minute, please check out a little Blog I wrote about Barefooting. I’m hoping it will open your mind a little bit: http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID;=6822700&blogID;=287020770

    Lastly, live & let live. :-)

  8. Raul

    Mr. Butckovitz, I would just like to make you aware that I, a well educated individual and a barefooter, have patronised dozens and dozens of bars/restaurants unshod. I have never injured myself or others, and I respectfully disagree with your assertion that going barefoot in these places is the danger you make it out to be. Can you remember the last time an incident of the nature you describe occured? I have personally never heard of such an incident ever occuring. As others have pointed out, various types of footwear are more slip-prone than the unshod human foot – do you suggest we ban these footwear? My brother just got married, and as is the case at many wedding receptions, many women removed their uncomfortable footwear to dance, and they walked about freely, discalced in an area (the recption hall) that had many glass containers. Nothing bad happened. You seem like a decent fellow, and I am not into ad hominem remarks. I am just giving you my informed perspective. One last thing sir. If you do not want to look at my bare feet while dining, simply don’t. :-) If I were wearing flip flops, you’d still see my bare feet anyway, right?

    Be well,
    R. ALaniz, M.A.
    Lone Star State Barefooter for 10+ years,
    no cuts or any other kinds of injuries

  9. Pete

    “During a day’s business, food and drink get spilled and the floor becomes slippery. Glasses break on a regular basis. You come strutting in sans-shoes, do the slip and slide, slash and bleed, and everyone who unwillingly comes in contact with your blood has to get tested for AIDS”

    On this matter I can speak from experience. I’m a sailor and although many types of footwear have come and gone in an attempt to make the deck of a boat as safe and slip resistant as possible, one alternative has proven to be the most effective over the years – bare feet. There tried and true and natures best non slip surface.

    “Now, I don’t want to look at you, barefoot and shirtless, while I’m eating a dinner that I paid for.”

    I can’t help but agree with the comments that bring up sandals. They are becomming more and more popular and I find myself becoming exposed to peoples feet a lot these days. And what about those sleveless t-shirts they humorously refer to as “wife beaters” I find myself often near a man with a generous amount of back hair and sweating all over the chair waiving for the waitress while his arm-pit hair waives at me. All I gotta say is, this is our world and these people we live with are our brothers and sisters and mabey a little bit of tolerance on our part should be considered. I’m not a hippy but was the whole Love & Peace thing that bad of an idea?

  10. Kriss

    And, Mr. Butckovitz, as to your not wanting to see me barefoot in a restaurant, first, what’s the difference between seeing bare feet and seeing feet in flip-flops? Just as much of a foot is visible in flip-flops as is with bare feet – or does that little thin 1/2 inch strip of rubber between the toes really make all the difference in the world? I think it’s just the “idea” of bare feet that offends you, not the actual sight, otherwise you’d be complaining about flip-flop and sandal wearers in restaurants.

    But what makes you think that you have a right not to be offended? We live in a country where everyone has a right to freedom of expression, and that includes choice of attire, and if that expression is somehow offensive to you, I’m sorry, but it is your problem, not mine.

    As to your contention that bare feet are going to be subject to all kinds of injuries, come on. Do you know of an actual case where all those horrible things happened that you’re describing? Your wild speculation is, in a word, ridiculous. I have never heard of a case on record of anyone injuring a bare foot in a restaurant. Do you know of any? Or is this just one of those, “well, it *could* happen”? Yes, lots of things *could* happen.

  11. Steve

    OK, I’ll be that guy…I’m a hippy, if hiking barefoot and listening to protesty folk music ala Ochs, Seeger, Guthrie(any) qualifies. Anyone who really was ever identified as such wouldn’t be so closed minded.

    It’s been my experience that the person who takes offense is always to blame, as “taking offense” means not tolerating an otherwise harmless situation. If it does not harm you, then please keep your phobias/hangups to yourself. Fortunately, I’ve only had three instances where I’ve been told that bare feet were not allowed, and a letter to Borders corporate headquarters remedied one of them. As I am an adult, I expect to be treated as such, not mothered by the occasional conformist. It should be obvious that telling someone how to live their life is very disrespectful.

  12. nick butckovitz

    Wow! Is Ashville that “backward”? Have you gone so far the Mr. Butckovitz’s comments about bare feet take a greater importance in your personal lives that the first issue of all or nothing flag support? Yes, he is my father and no he is not some hippi hating McCarthy list maker. I, myself am a trained Culinary porfesional(check my spelling skills and it is aparent) Why sould anyone working in a resturant have to adhear to any health regulations when the patrons do not? Both share the same space, touch the same items floors, food, utensils,MONEY. why should I wash my hands after going to the restroom. Chances are that my hands at any point while Im working are cleaner than someone one walking in off the street with bare feet mind you.I think you have no respect for your fellow man in this case. You sound be just as delagent in your clenliness as a resturant worker. they have to touch the items that you have now contamanated with your personal resadew. Patulie is not soap!!!!

  13. Steve

    Not withstanding the remaining plethora of spelling mistakes, it’s spelled P-A-T-C-H-O-U-L-I. Also, are you suggesting we touch food with our feet? Put your mind to rest. We don’t.

    Ick.

  14. Kriss

    Nick, I take issue with many or your points. First, you’re trying to compare an employee of a restaurant to a customer. Come on. There’s a lot of difference.

    You say, “Why sould anyone working in a resturant have to adhear to any health regulations when the patrons do not?”
    First, let’s just start with the fact that there ARE health regulations for people working in a restaurant, that’s why they have to adhere to them. Employees in any business, and depending on what type of business, are regulated by a myriad of rules and regulations from the state, the county, perhaps the city, as well as OSHA. Patrons do not have to adhere to such regulations, because those regulations only cover employees, not patrons or customers. As to any regulations related to footwear for customers, in spite of the popular myth, there are *none*. The reason there are none is because going barefoot in a restaurant has no effect whatsoever on anyone’s health, neither the barefooter’s nor anyone else. No health department is going to make some kind of rules just based on someone’s personal likes or dislikes and not based on any medical or scientific fact.

    “Both share the same space, touch the same items floors, food, utensils,MONEY. why should I wash my hands after going to the restroom.”
    You should wash your hands after going to the restroom because, as a cook, you touch food, plates, utensils, and various other things that are served to any number of customers in your restaurant. A food server or waiter touches almost the same things, with the possible exception of the food. Therefore of course employees must always keep their hands as clean as possible. A customer or patron only touches his or her own plate, his or her own food, and his or her own utensils. These items are then washed and sterilized before any other customer would have a chance to touch them. It is a fact that hands are responsible for more infection and disease than any other part of the body, and a responsible customer would no doubt wash his or her hands just as often as an employee, but the risk of a customer’s hands causing problems in a restaurant don’t even approach the higher risk of an employees contaminated hands spreading infection or disease. Therefore, no health department has ever seen the need for hand washing rules for customers.

    “Chances are that my hands at any point while Im working are cleaner than someone one walking in off the street with bare feet mind you.”
    I would certainly hope that your hands are cleaner than someone walking in off the street. But what does that have to do with someone having bare feet? You’re implying that bare feet have something to do with dirty hands. How does that make sense? If a customer has bare feet, his or her feet are not going to be touching anything other than what shoes touch, that is, the floor. So how could bare feet cause any more of a problem than shoes would cause?

    “I think you have no respect for your fellow man in this case.”
    Respect for ones fellow man has nothing to do with footwear or lack of footwear on ones feet. Respect for ones fellow man is not making arbitrary judgments of ones fellow man based on his or her attire.

    “You sound be just as delagent in your clenliness as a resturant worker.”
    I don’t disagree with you on that. But the feet of a barefoot person are no less clean than someone’s shoes which are never washed or the inside of shoes which are a virtual petri dish for bacteria and fungus. Beside, as I mentioned above, feet, like shoes, remain in the floor where they cause no harm to anything or anybody.

    “they have to touch the items that you have now contamanated with your personal resadew.”
    Well, I’m not sure what you mean by “personal residue.” And what are we talking about here? Hands? Or feet? If you’re talking about hands, well just interacting with anyone in any business is going to involve touching something that someone else’s hands have touched. If you’re talking about feet, how would you be touching something that someone’s feet have touched? Are you going to crawling around on the floor, touching the floor? What you said just doesn’t make much sense.

  15. travelah

    Basic fact is this: if the owner of the place of business doesn’t want your dusty or dirty feet bare in his business, thats his right. If you don’t like it, don’t go there.

  16. Kriss

    Of course that’s his right. Nobody’s argued that point. He even has that right if my feet were clean.

  17. Daniel

    Actually, I’ve often wondered why business owners seem to enjoy this right (the right to refuse service to a barefooter). It may be a private business, but the business owner doesn’t have absolute rights over who is served. For example, the owner of a private business cannot refuse service to an African-American because of their skin color, even they’re the biggest bigot on earth. The business owner simply does not have that right. Why can they refuse service to the barefooter, who’s breaking no laws by being barefoot?

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