Foot-in-store is no disease

There was some talk recently about how many downtown merchants lose business during Bele Chere. I can easily see why. I have found that many downtown businesses that pretend to be so hip and artsy are in fact pretentious, arrogant and hostile to certain people who may choose to dress differently from the norm. This is usually manifested by rude, unwelcoming signs, such as one displayed by one business that reads: “No shirt, no shoes, NO ADMITTANCE.” It is rather ironic that this particular [business] actually has the audacity to also post in its window another sign reading: “Keep Asheville weird.”

Another business … that advertises “old fashioned friendly service” in fact sends a very different message with the “No shirt, No shoes, No service” signs displayed in its window. Such signs are an anachronism, a reminder of the Viet Nam War days when conservative, pro-government business owners attempted to strike back at barefoot hippies and other war protesters. Prior to that era, no such signs existed.

Most of these problems are caused by the pervasive belief in the myth that there are “health department” rules against customers being barefoot in stores or restaurants. The fact is, there are none.

Bare feet are not a health issue—not for the barefooter and not for anyone else. I know of no health department anywhere in the United States that regulates what customers wear or don’t wear on their feet, simply because there is no medical or scientific reason for any health department to become involved in a customer’s attire.

Downtown businesses would never have a reason to complain about lack of business during Bele Chere, or any other time, if they would focus more on friendly service and less on customers’ attire.

— Kriss Sands
Mars Hill

Editor’s note: According to Eddie Shook, supervisor of the Food and Lodging Division of the Buncombe County Health Department, the requirement (or lack thereof) for wearing shoes in a restaurant is completely up to the establishment itself.

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142 thoughts on “Foot-in-store is no disease

  1. Robert Juengst

    It’s about time someone set the record straight. Why have a business and then refuse service to someone that is breaking no law? Why make up your own rules to keep customers out? Thanks Kriss for opening up some eyes to the truth….now if only they’d open the doors to their businesses..

  2. Leo Fiedler

    I have been a victim of false health department claims prohibiting bare feet from establishments as well.
    Surprisingly, the more upscale the venue, the greater the tolerance and acceptence of my choice to go barefoot.
    It is about time that our right for the barefoot option is understood by retailers, restaurants, and municipal building security guards.

  3. Brian Daniels

    I’m grateful for Kriss and the Mountain Xpress for shedding positive light on this subject. I especially appreciate the Xpress’ addition by Eddie Shook of the Dept. of Health. I am a full-time barefooter and find it incredible that some people think that going barefooted into a store or restaurant is dirtier than going in with shoes one. There are so many positive aspect to barefoot living. I appreciate Kriss’ bringing them to the front.

  4. Bob

    Jason says, “I hate feet”.

    Well, I try not to let my life be dictated by other people’s ignorance.

  5. Jak

    Body Dismorphia is a real disorder, Jason: You may want to see a psychiatrist about these issues.

  6. You should try it sometime. It’s great, and you don’t have to stare at some hippie’s toenails while eating a burrito.

  7. Kriss

    Jason says,”I hate feet.”

    I feel sorry for you. Since you no doubt have feet yourself, your terse statement is just an unfortunate manifestation of your own self-hatred. There’s no logical reason for anyone to “hate” feet or any other natural part of our body.

  8. I hate feet because they are a part of the body built for function rather than form, and thereby causing a less than aesthetically pleasing look. I’d prefer not too see them, and I attempted to say it in a humorous way.

  9. Tim

    It’s a shame that people are so closed minded about the idea of going barefoot. It’s very health practice that is just plain fun. People in the US need to learn to be more open minded and tolerant of others. I happen to be a barefooter and have been one all my life. This article is informative, I hope future reader will see it as a chance to learn something.

  10. Danielle

    Jason said: “…and you don’t have to stare at some hippie’s toenails while eating a burrito.”

    -Personally, sweaty feet stuck in tight, hot sneakers really grosses me out. I don’t enjoy seeing that while I am eating. So I just don’t look. If barefeet bother you, you can do the same. :-)

    Kriss, this is an excellent article.

  11. Robert

    Why are you guys trying to psychoanalyise someone who all they said was, “I hate feet”? It just irks some people. Hey, I don’t have any STDs, should I walk around with my penis haning out of my pants?

  12. Leo Fiedler

    So does Jason instead stare at some emo’s piercings while dining due to the current shortage of barefooters?

  13. Raul

    Jason, if you do not like feet, try not to look at them. Also, if the appearance of feet disturbs you, then why aren’t you on a rampage about flip flops, whic basically show the whole foot? Personally, I think feet are generally beautiful, and are made more so when their owners wear shoes as little as possible!

  14. Steve Dillon

    Let’s face it: people do not have a problem with bare feet. They have a problem with folks who are capable of indepenent thought, and who make personal choices without consulting the status quo. When people tell me to stop using the “F” word (fascist), I ask them to kindly remove their shoes for a day or two, and THEN tell me how wonderfully free this country is. It’s all about conformity, and the folks with backbones are often the ones without shoes. Great article Kriss!

  15. Kriss

    Jason said, “I hate feet because they are a part of the body built for function rather than form, and thereby causing a less than aesthetically pleasing look…”

    And what part of the body is not built for function?

    Of course feet are built for function, as is every other part of the human body. And form follows function. If feet are allowed to function as God, or nature, or whatever, intended, their form would perhaps be more aesthetically pleasing to you. The normal function of feet is to make contact with the ground and give people the ability to move around, whether walking, running, or dancing. They are perfectly capable of performing that function without some sort of manmade “support” or covering. Shoes not only interfere with that normal function, over time they will distort the appearance of a normal foot. Perhaps the only feet you’re accustomed to seeing are those that have just been removed from a dirty, smelly, fungus-filled shoe. Traditionally barefoot societies of the world have healthy, beautiful feet, and never have the kind of foot problems that shoe-wearing people have. Shoes or other footwear are not only unhealthy, they are unsafe.

    However, having said all that, people have – or should have – the right to make their own personal decision about whether they want to be barefoot or not, without being confronted by a rude, unwelcoming sign at the door of a business or being hassled by some “shoe-police” whose only reason for trying to enforce some kind of arbitrary “footwear rule” is ignorance, personal prejudice, or belief in some kind of phantom “heath department rule” or “state law.” Such health department mandates or state laws simply do not exist, despite myth to the contrary. And the reason they do not exist is that there is no reason for them exist. Being barefoot in a store or restaurant is not a health issue whatsoever, neither to the barefooter nor anyone else.

  16. So let me get this straight: I’m supposed to be alright with people going barefoot because it’s their personal choice. But you guys can get all mad because someone else (a business owner) is exercising their own personal choices by not wanting people with bare feet in their establishments, and they are fascists?

    You people are priceless.

  17. Steven Dillon

    Intolerance is intolerance is intolerance, dude. Pick any trait, say “I’m not dealing with THOSE people” ( Yes, even as the venerable “business owner” ), and you have a form of discrimination. The “right” of the business owner to refuse you service is the right for him or her to be take offense from folks who aren’t like them, for no logical reason. When it can be proved that health is not an issue, all that is left is, “Eww, not like me at all”! Not everyone has to be the same. But, there is a word for people who believe that others have to conform…:-)

  18. Leo Fiedler

    Don’t confuse freedom to be yourself naturaly and LEGALY with discrimination based on ignorance of health dept. rules.
    The freeedoms we enjoy in the U.S. do not include a business person’s right to arbitrarily ban the hatless from their place of business.

  19. Robert

    Jason, I don’t know you, but I got your back here. Listen to all of you people! You all got preachy at someone because he said, “I hate feet”. That’s when the reactionary freak out started happening. Look at what some of you have said about Jason: “Since you no doubt have feet yourself, your terse statement is just an unfortunate manifestation of your own self-hatred.” -Kriss. “Body Dismorphia is a real disorder, Jason: You may want to see a psychiatrist about these issues.” -Jak. “Let’s face it: people do not have a problem with bare feet. They have a problem with folks who are capable of indepenent thought, and who make personal choices without consulting the status quo.” -Steve Dillon. Wow guys, you were able to infer all of that because someone said “I hate feet”? You people say stuff like that AND preach about intolerance at the same time? So why can’t you be tolerant of the store OWNER who doesn’t want you in THEIR store without shoes on? You know, you can take your shoes back off once you leave the establishment, then no one is trouncing your freedom anymore. We’re talking about shoes here. This isn’t a 1950s Memphis lunch-counter type situation. Chill out and leave Jason alone!

  20. Kriss

    Jason said, “So let me get this straight: I’m supposed to be alright with people going barefoot because it’s their personal choice.”

    Are you all right with some people making the personal choice to not wear a hat (going bareheaded)? There’s no difference. Are you all right with some people making the personal choice to not wear long pants (going barelegged)? There’s no difference. What if you don’t like the color green, but someone chooses to wear a green shirt? Would you have a problem with their personal choice to wear green? There’s no difference.

    “But you guys can get all mad because someone else (a business owner) is exercising their own personal choices by not wanting people with bare feet in their establishments, and they are fascists?”

    Pretty much any private business can set up its own dress code if it wants to, though doing such certainly implies a certain degree of arrogance and disrespect for the public in my opinion. I suppose some businesses see this as a way to separate the desirables from the undesirables. But it is nothing less than discrimination based on attire. Yes, they have that right. But just having a “right” to do something doesn’t make it right to do it.

  21. Robert

    ….One more thing. I don’t have a problem with other people’s bare feet that much, so long as they’re not right next to my dinner plate. But what I DO have a problem with is you all being so adamant about your position on freedom that you are willing to beat down on Jason and these particular shop owners for expressing theirs. That’s really the point I’m trying to make.

  22. Kriss, it’s not discrimination. Nobody is denying you of your rights. If you aren’t allowed to go into a place of business without shoes on, than go to a place that allows it. I don’t like that I have to wear long pants and a collared shirt to work, but I’m mature enough to understand that sometimes in life, believe it or not, you have to suck it up and deal with other people’s rules. That’s what being part of a society is all about. We are not all beautiful individual snowflakes. Get over it, and get over yourself.

    Also, would it help to put on some socks every once in a while?

  23. Robert

    Kriss, you said this in your original letter: “I know of no health department anywhere in the United States that regulates what customers wear or don’t wear on their feet, simply because there is no medical or scientific reason for any health department to become involved in a customer’s attire.” Kriss, do you have any scientific evidence that the reason businesses lose money during Belle Chere is directly linked to their, “No Shirt No Shoes No Service” policies? Your first sentance says, “There was some talk recently about how many downtown merchants lose business during Bele Chere.” Do you know for a fact that the merchants who lose business during Belle Chere are the exact same ones with the “No Shirt No Shoes No Service” policy? Do you know for a fact that businesses that don’t have this policy had no problems turning a profit during Belle Chere or do they lose money too? Wouldn’t you think that business who have the policy would be hurting themselves financially the rest of the year also to the point that they would have to take back the policy just so they can stay in business? Honestly, what does the discriminatory policy have anything to do at all with losing money during Belle Chere?

  24. Carrie

    I think a valid point has been missed here. What about the barefooter who comes into a private business and decides to sue because he/she stepped on a stray thumb tack? We all know it would happen…

  25. edtomfish

    Jason and Robert and right on. I could care less if people walk around barefoot and I dont really care for the foot myself. I also don’t care if a business owner doesn’t want you walking around in their shop. You as a barefootist shouldn’t even want to patronize such a shop, so whats the big deal? Is this ‘the man’ keeping you down?

    And Robert was ON SPOT when he called everyone out for jumping on the one person who wasn’t sharing in your opinions. Get some flipflops or open your own joint and reap the revenues from all the unwanted barefoot masses that this town apparently has.

  26. Orbit DVD

    First of all let me preface this by saying that we welcome customers in all manners of dress and undress. Shoes or no shoes, come on in!

    You got to look at the public perception of no shoes and/or no shirt. No matter how many showers you might take during the day, you will be perceived by the public at large as “dirty.” And if you sit there at a restaurant without shoes or shirts, some customers might not return. The health code was news to me, and I’m sure it’s news to everyone else as well.

    marc

  27. imsodarnlazy

    I wonder how barefootist feel about people’s right to spit on the sidewalk? ewww…

  28. Steve

    Forcing people to behave a certain way, when they currently pose no harm to anyone, is warped. Putting a big “but it’s my RIGHT as a business owner not to tolerate you” ribbon on it doesn’t make it any less ugly. I’m bothered by certain activites/appearences of other folks, but I respect their right to do or look they way they do, as it’s their right. You see, sometimes the world doesn’t revolve around us…crazy, huh?

  29. edtomfish

    I can’t believe you all are obsessed with the feet. If you had any wits about you, you’d be applying these arguments to fight the laws of society that say women must cover their breasts and we all must cover our genitals and buttocks. Keep Asheville Nude, dude.

  30. Joey

    It’s funny that Kriss has been accused of applying a double standard when his article is in fact a call to realize one. He pointed out that there is no Health Department policy against bare feet, despite many establishment’s use of the phantom law (it is, by the way, illegal to cite non-existing laws). He also pointed out liberal hypocracy in the juxtaposition of “no shirt, no shoes, NO ADMITTANCE!” next to “Keep Asheville weird” on a local business that, if it really does want to maintain its place against big box retailers and make rather than lose money during local events, should be admitting as many people, common or colorful, local or out-of-towner, as it can. AND, rather than insist that these misguided establishmentarians allow him into the store or else, what he has done is use his ability to write a well-reasoned persuasive article–in which he did not advocate denying foot-phobics admittance to any place. So I see no double standard here save those applied by faux-liberals, just as I’ve encountered from progressive posers in other local-oriented places like Burlington, Vt. And maybe the reason some of us bother to point it out, besides being shunned for our feet, is because we actually *care* about local businesses.

  31. Kriss

    Imsodarnlazy said, “I wonder how barefootist feel about people’s right to spit on the sidewalk? ewww…”

    I’m not sure people do have a right to spit on the sidewalk, perhaps they do. That’s probably another one of those situations where they may have the right, but that doesn’t make it right to do it. In any case, though some people might be too squeamish to do it, stepping on something like that barefooted will do no harm whatsoever.

    So what if you stepped on spit or some other bodily fluid while wearing shoes? First, you probably wouldn’t even realize you stepped on it since shoes block off sensory perception to the surfaces under our feet, so it would just remain there forever, being tracked all over the place including your home, plus probably being touched over and over by your hands as you put your shoes on and off. A barefooter stepping on something like that would wash his or her feet off at first opportuntiy. How often do shoes or other footwear you wear get washed? Just think of the filth that grows inside your shoes. I think that would deserve an “ewww…” more than anything I can think of.

  32. bronnie

    what an interesting discussion! I do think the anti-barefooters can just calm down and get over their inhibitions…and the pro-naked folk should get their petitions started(you are really keen to let it all hang out lol). And businesses should consider whether they are concerned with making money or maintaining their own “personal ” standards.
    And if pro-barefooters are discriminated against ..they can and I suspect WILL spend their money elsewhere.

  33. Leo Fiedler

    It’s incredible that so many are missing the larger point.
    Wearing pants and a collar shirt to work is not the same as dressing according to a code in order to enter a retail establishement.
    Working to allow females to bare their breasts in public is nowhere near the concept of being upset that retailers are taking it upon themselves to establish dress codes that have no basis in law or religous culture.
    I previously compared shoelessness to bareheadedness, and that is a fair analygy.
    Someone mentioned that it is not like “the man” is against us, and that is correct.
    I have been going barefoot for 39 of my 54 years, and never once has any law in any state or county interfered with my choice.
    There have been instances where a restaurant manager or store clerk has falsly claimed that I had been in violation of state laws, and I succesfuly informed them that they were incorrect, allowing my family to continue to patronize their establishments.
    The problem is with people like Jason who admittedly hate feet, and want to deny us barefoot people our legal rights rather than merely avert their eyes.

  34. Oruboris

    In an age where the flip-flop is everywhere, it isn’t a matter of seeing ‘some hippy’s toenails’: those are on ample display as is.

    Compare a barefoot to one in a flip-flop: what’s the big difference? The barefooter is actually touching the ground, and its the thought of that which seems to offend. It wasn’t always this way…

    I for one am not afraid to touch the earth, or be touched by it.

  35. Louie Espilanti

    Carrie said:
    I think a valid point has been missed here. What about the barefooter who comes into a private business and decides to sue because he/she stepped on a stray thumb tack? We all know it would happen…

    Legally, anyone entering an establishment barefoot automatically assumes liability. No one has ever won a case of cutting a foot in a store. There are only three on file as far as I know and they were all thrown out of court.
    If they cut their foot while wearing shoes they would have a case. In this respect it is in the business owner’s best interest to let barefoot patrons in.

  36. chuck

    why do you allow jason to post such crap, mountain x? are you that desperate to get hits on your website that you allow one of your staffers to troll with stupid, unconstructive comments?
    yes, you obviously are.

  37. Jon Elliston

    Chuck,

    To clarify, Jason Bugg freelances for the Mountain Xpress and other newspapers, but he is not an Xpress staffer. Therefore we handle his comments here as we would any other person’s.

    Thanks for your question, and best regards,

    Jon Elliston, managing editor

  38. Kriss

    Robert said, “….One more thing. I don’t have a problem with other people’s bare feet that much, so long as they’re not right next to my dinner plate.”

    Right next to your dinner plate? I’ve seen several documentaries on people born without arms who have learned to do ordinary things with their feet and toes that everyone else does with their hands and fingers. I suppose if you ever had the opportunity to meet and have dinner with one of those people it is possible they might have their bare foot fairly close to your dinner plate. But for ordinary barefoot people, their feet are going to be on the floor just like everybody else’s are. So unless you plan on eating on the floor, there shouldn’t be a problem for you.

    As to “beat[ing] down on Jason,” I simply don’t agree with Jason on a number of levels. Nobody’s beating down on anybody. I’ve been expressing my disagreement and my differing opinion – just as you have done. Sure I’m adamant in my position. I believe in it and I’ll defend it – what’s wrong with that? If you want to express a different opinion, that’s fine. That’s what we’re all here for.

  39. bronnie

    Chuck,
    To clarify, Jason Bugg freelances for the Mountain Xpress and other newspapers, but he is not an Xpress staffer. Therefore we handle his comments here as we would any other person’s.
    Jon Elliston, managing editor

    Ah thanks for that ..makes sense …ignore any bugg comments I guess … Carry on Jason.

  40. I’m joking around people. I hope you realize how absurd you are being, and how absurd I am being too.

    In this situation, you are presented with a unique opportunity, and it’s a really nice way to help change the perception that you are so adamant about. You can either, as I’ve suggested and as others have suggested, suck it up and play by everyone else’s rules, or you can stop going to the places that won’t let you in, and start your own barefoot friendly places. Vote with your dollars, that’s the only way you are going to get things done in a capitalist society. You won’t get things done by writing letters to papers.

    Start your own bars, start your own restaurants, start your own boutiques. Just do something.

    Also, my opinions are mine and mine alone. Don’t sully the Xpress’ good name by bringing them into this.

  41. Kriss

    Robert said, “Kriss, do you have any scientific evidence that the reason businesses lose money during Belle Chere is directly linked to their, ‘No Shirt No Shoes No Service’ policies?”
    “Do you know for a fact that the merchants who lose business during Belle Chere are the exact same ones with the ‘No Shirt No Shoes No Service’ policy?”
    “Do you know for a fact that businesses that don’t have this policy had no problems turning a profit during Belle Chere or do they lose money too?”

    As to “scientific evidence,” I don’t see this as a matter of science. I think that question and the others you raised fall more perhaps into the area of marketing. And I don’t know of any way that can be accurately gauged, because there are just too many variables. If you will notice in my letter I only said, “I can easily see why.” That’s based on common sense more than anything else. Any business that posts a rude sign at its door declaring that certain people are not welcome, and the reason they are not welcome is based only on their attire, sends a very negative message of arrogance and disrespect for the public in general. Such signs reflect attitude. Attitude toward customers in the long run is one of the biggest factors that will cause a business to be a success or a failure. And in the short run, not only will these businesses of course lose the business of the ones that have arbitrarily excluded, I, for one, and I’m sure many other people, based on principle, would never want to patronize a business that discriminates against people merely because of the way they look or the way they dress.

    And btw, for Jason, it *is* discrimination. It’s legal discrimination, but nonetheless discrimination.

  42. Leo

    Jason, Jason, Jason. You still don’t get it.
    We don’t have to start our own barefoot friendly places of business.
    We already have the right to go barefoot in all public institutions.
    Some private businesses have tried to bar us, but fighting has yielded excellent results.
    I personally have been involved in changing “no bare feet” rules at over a dozen well known restaurant and retail chains, not to mention too many independents to even count.
    Suck it up?
    Why, when protesting has been so productive!
    You are a freelance reporter, but obviously know very little about the free market system.
    I am a business owner and health care professional, and have found that over 87% of restricted to the shod only venues are easily shown the ignorance of their ways, and are no where near as stubborn and close-minded as you are.
    Unfortunatly, you fall into the catagory of people that cannot review the facts and change an opinion.
    That won’t stop me from the tremendously succesful campaign I have been on for decades freeing up the U.S public to the barefooters of America.

  43. Carrie

    You all need to wake up and smell something other than feet. So far, in the recent months, the most blogging has been about hair and feet. Nice protesting…
    You should all protest DT stores for their “no bare feet” policy and put everyone out of business.. Aren’t there better protests out there? It’s not like it would matter-Asheville’s an up and coming retirement vilage anyways

  44. Kriss

    Jason said, “I’m joking around people. I hope you realize how absurd you are being, and how absurd I am being too.”

    Yes, well, joke around all you want, since you can’t come up with any logical, reasonable, fact-based reason why bare feet should not be seen in public. The statements “I hate feet” and “I hope you all step on nails” do speak volumes, but more about your own intolerance and less about the issues I raised in my letter.

    “In this situation, you are presented with a unique opportunity, and it’s a really nice way to help change the perception that you are so adamant about.”

    I think it’s your perception that needs to be changed. Why would you or anyone else really care about what someone else wears or doesn’t wear on his or her feet? It doesn’t affect you one whit. Someone’s personal choice of footwear of no footwear should be of no concern to anyone. It’s not illegal, it’s not unhealthy, and it doesn’t hurt any other person. Asheville is well known for its diversity of cultures and lifestyles. I think there are very few other cities that are as tolerant and accepting of people’s right to dress as they please, regardless of how unconventional that dress may be. The only thing unconventional about my mode of dress or appearance is that I go barefoot 24/7. But just because you probably wouldn’t want to do that yourself, why do you condemn others who make that choice and are different from you?

    “You can either, as I’ve suggested and as others have suggested, suck it up and play by everyone else’s rules, or you can stop going to the places that won’t let you in, and start your own barefoot friendly places.”

    “Sucking it up” and following the rules may be your way to handle problems but that doesn’t solve the problem. I suppose Rosa Parks should have just sucked it up and followed the rules in 1955 Montgomery. That probably would have been your advice to her back then.

    “Vote with your dollars, that’s the only way you are going to get things done in a capitalist society. You won’t get things done by writing letters to papers.”

    That’s a ridiculous statement when you are talking about a small minority of people, as we barefooters are. Walking away and voting with our dollars accomplishes very little to our advantage. It does assure we won’t be hassled any more at a particular store or restaurant that may have given us a problem. That’s because we’re not there for them to do it. But it also reinforces the store or restaurant’s belief that it can continue to arbitrarily discriminate against customers based on their attire with impunity. And the whole concept of voting with our dollars really means nothing for most stores and in most cases. Generally they aren’t even aware of our “vote” or why – unless we document it with a letter or something like that. And do you think most of these places, especially the ones that are part of a large corporation, really care about losing one customer’s few dollars when compared to their total revenue?

    No, we need to speak up for our rights when they are denied to us each and every time it happens. Whether we’re successful or not will vary, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep fighting.

  45. The Man

    I’d personally prefer to not hang out with people who are unbothered by direct skin contact with dog feces, chewed gum, the urine of homeless people, broken glass, the plantar wart virus, athletes foot, and whatever else gross things can be found on the streets. I guess that makes me “the man.” I’ve never been accused of that before–It makes me feel powerful.

    I agree that it’s wrong to cite a law that doesn’t exist–All a business owner has to do is point out that he feels that the majority of his customers are grossed out by dirty bare feet (and hairy man boobies.)

  46. For those of you comparing going barefoot with being black in the south, I say this: go to hell. That has to be the most self righteous response to something I’ve ever heard. You can chose to put on shoes, Ms. Parks didn’t have such a luxury.

  47. Robert

    Kriss, you do make some real good points but I still believe that I’m right on this. Rights are rights and everyone is entitled to theirs yes, but respecting other people’s rights and opinions is a trademark of good character. It’s called putting others before yourself, even if they are wrong (in this case I think they are right) But the major thing here that I want to point out, and this is the last time I will post on this subject, is that all you have to do is throw some shoes on for a minute and take them off when you leave, inconveniencing you for the duration that you are in the store. So in the big scheme of things, this is really a non-issue, Kriss, which makes you a bitchy imbecile! Period.

  48. Steven Dillon

    To “The Man”: Imagine how CLEAN the world would be if the majority of people had the same vested interest as we do in keeping our environs clean.

    Jason: Yeah, Kriss mad a valid comparison. Back then, people were discriminated against due to one condition only…a visually perceived difference. Our condition is the same. Saying “At least you can put on shoes” infers that if she could have changed color, that she would have been socially obligated to. HOW IGNORANT IS THAT?!?

  49. The Man

    “Imagine how CLEAN the world would be if the majority of people had the same vested interest as we do in keeping our environs clean.”

    OK Steve, it’s a deal: When I’m eating in imaginary restaurants I won’t let imaginary gross dirty feet disgust me; When you’re eating in real restaurants in the real world, you’ll wear real shoes.

    Once litter and disease have been eradicated forever, I might even start going barefoot myself. I’m not sure anything would change my mind about man boobies, though.

  50. dankster

    Get over it Barefoot lovers. When down town wear flip-flops when in the beautiful surrounding forested areas go barefoot. You maybe love being barefoot know but the first time you cut your foot wide open or step in gooey gum or whatever else, you will think twice about going barefoot ever again. It’s only common sense.

  51. dankster

    It’s amazing how this subject received so many responses when it’s really not that important of an issue. Yet the important issues recieve next to none when it comes to comments. – WAKE UP AMERICA !

  52. Leo

    Mr Man,
    What about those who are grossed out by other things, be they tattoos, piercings, wierd hair, etc.
    Should those offenders also “cover up” lest they upset another diner?
    A fellow that is an attorney representing a barefoot rights group has said recently that surveys have shown that bare feet, whether dirty or clean, test no higher on the “general disgust” scale than do short shorts on men, sleeveless shirts on males, recent unshaven look, or dirtiness in general.
    He has won victories for those he represents in just about every case.

    Jason:
    You are much more like us full-time barefooters than you can imagine!
    You too are a member of a tiny minority, a group that is so disgusted by the site of feet that you want to change the world to have it fit your design!
    You are fighting a losing battle, as we are winning in the majority of our disagreements with retail establishments.
    I applaud the efforts of those like Kriss, that take the time to write local papers to help spread the word when an unreasonable level of anti-barefoot sentiment rears it’s ugly head.
    It usually is very effective, and despite your continued “just be like me” attitude, hopefully Ashville will become as barefoot friendly as the rest of the state.

  53. Leo

    “the man” wrote:

    I’d personally prefer to not hang out with people who are unbothered by direct skin contact with dog feces, chewed gum, the urine of homeless people, broken glass, the plantar wart virus, athletes foot, and whatever else gross things can be found on the streets. I guess that makes me “the man.” I’ve never been accused of that before–It makes me feel powerful.

    Sorry, but powerful feelings or not, you ain’t “da man”.
    Skin contact with dog feces? Only a problem when transfered to the mucous membranes or oral route. Highly unlikely scenario from a contaminated sole.
    Chewed gum? Sticky for a few steps, but nowhere near as gross as when imbedded in the grooves of a shoe bottom and brought home.
    Homeless urine? Sorry, STERILE. Hate to have to dissapoint you.
    Broken glass? I regularly walk through the largest cities in the U.S barefoot and have apparantly defied the odds as far as those hazards. Then again, any other barefooters that I have met throughout the years are equally lucky.
    Maybe it’s not such a threat after all?
    Plantar wart virus? Look it up. can only take hold once you enclose an exposed plantar surface in a dark moist environment. Sounds alot like shoes to me. Obviously not a problem.
    Athletes foot? See Plantars wart virus.
    You might be concerned and thoughtful, but not only do your theories lack power,
    unfortunatly, you also come nowhere near to be’n da Man!

  54. Orbit DVD

    Kriss,

    Personally, I would avoid any comparisons between the plight of bare feet and the plight of black people, even in passing. You want to be able to eat in a restaurant. They had to endure centuries of slavery, rape, lynchings and segregation. That trivialization doesn’t help your cause.

    marc

  55. kmjohn

    Shoes aren’t some recent cultural or societal invention. They’ve been around since the cavemen, who discovered that by covering their feet it made it less painful to walk around on land and as an added benefit it kept their feet warm in winter. I really don’t care if someone wants to wear shoes or not, their choice, but to pretend that its superior in some way is just foolishness.

  56. Steven Dillon

    kmjohn: “I really don’t care if someone wants to wear shoes or not, their choice, but to pretend that its superior in some way is just foolishness.”

    That’s a two-way street, dude.

    There are still a lot of folks in the world who don’t wear them. It’s not because they are poor/uncivilized/whatever. For them, and for us, shoes are unnecessary. For me, at least, when it’s above freezing :-) I’ve walked on sharp coarse gravel, glass, blazing hot asphalt, snow, etc. I’m still alive, feet still working.

    You know, I’ve spent 25 years or so doing things your way…wearing shoes everywhere. Now that I’ve enjoyed being barefoot for a good long time, I can authoritatively speak on the subject, having experienced life both ways. How many times have you nay-sayers been barefoot in “establishment” places? Could I suggest that you try it before you so vehemently put it down?

  57. Leo

    Nobody is claiming that going barefoot is in any way superior to being shod, just different.
    Everything in life has it’s tradeoffs, and the decision to wear shoes or not does as well.
    When man discovered the benefits of shoes, the drawbacks started to become apparent.
    Athletes foot, a fungal disease, is unheard of in barefoot populations.
    The majority of conditions treated by podiatrists are caused directly by shoe wearing.
    There is no disagreement on this in the podiatric literature.
    It is also well documented that if the protective nature of shoes were not superior to that of going barefoot, that shoelessness would be the better choice.
    There is however a greater risk of injury to the barefooter as far as punctures and lacerations, but even there debate remains among podiatrists as to whether or not it is worse to be punctured through a shoe vs directly to a bare sole.
    The big difference is that the bacterium in the shoe become injected into the deep tissues, causing more problematic infections than those of the bugs that were in the foriegn object itself.
    Just as it’s silly to claim superiority of bare feet to shoes, it is also wrong to claim the clear cut supremacy of shoes.
    As far as injuries and liability to retailers, high heels and slippery flip flops do tend to be much more at risk than bare feet.
    As long as retailers continue to permit those forms of proven to be dangerous footwear, they certainly should have no worries of added liability when providing service to barefoot customers.
    Also, I can’t speak for barefooters that I do not represent,(in addition to my primary profession and business I also serve as attorney for a small number of barefoot persons) but I for one spend more time on the truly important issues of the day than the average person does.
    Just because I take the time to protect my rights as a barefoot American and those of some others, does not mean that I have my head in the ground with respect to other far more important matters.

  58. Kriss

    Leo speaks of hoping that Asheville will become as barefoot friendly as the rest of the state. I’m assuming he is referring to downtown Asheville, because that was the topic of my letter, and for the record I have found that it is only *downtown* Asheville where some businesses seem to have an “attitude.” Away from downtown, I have never had a problem being barefoot in any store or restaurant in the greater Asheville area or anywhere in Buncombe County or Madison County. That’s not to say of course that I’ve been in every business around here. But I’ve been in many places, including all the large chain stores, grocery stores, malls, hardware stores, doctor’s offices, county administrative offices, libraries, etc., and of course restaurants as I mentioned, all while barefoot, and all without problems from anyone. And unwelcoming signs requiring some kind of “dress code” are quite rare away from downtown.

    I’ve traveled a lot, including outside the U.S., and lived in other parts of the U.S. As compared to some places I’ve been, the people of Asheville and the surrounding area are very friendly and respectful, including friendly and respectful to people who may choose to dress in an unconventional manner, such as with no footwear. I’m not sure why some businesses only in the downtown area don’t seem to share that friendliness and respect for others, but I’ve found that to be the case, and that’s why I wrote the letter.

  59. Earl

    Robert said, in part: “…all you have to do is throw some shoes on for a minute and take them off when you leave, inconveniencing you for the duration that you are in the store.”

    Would you feel the same way, if–for instance–a drug store owner, felt–let us say–a personal or spiritual conviction that no one should enter his store without something covering their head, and required everyone who entered his store to put something on their head, and even provided such a covering at the door for all who entered, which could be taken off when they leave?

    After all, it is only for the time you are in his store. You could put it on while you shop, and then take it off when you leave. That inconveniences you far less than putting on shoes and taking them off, in order to enter a store.

    There is no law–state or federal–which requires anyone to wear a hat while walking down the street. Neither is there a law which requires anyone to wear shoes when walking along the street. I suspect that most people would object to being required to wear a hat–for whatever reason–when entering a store which is open to the general public. No law requires it in public; why should it be any different in a semi-public place?

    Just so, those of us who wish not to wear shoes at all, believe it is just as discriminatory for a store to require shoes–when the law does not require it–as it would be discriminatory for a store owner to require a head covering in order to enter his store. And the opposite is also true–it would be just as discriminatory for a store to force a person who chooses to wear a head covering, to take it off–else he would bar them from entering the store. Whatever the reason a person might wear a head covering is meaningless; they should be permitted to enter the store.

    People around the world go barefoot for different reasons–sometimes religious, sometimes national custom, sometimes out of poverty, sometimes for health, sometimes just because it feels good to them,–but there is no reason I can see where prohibiting someone from entering a business barefoot, is not discriminatory. In other words, it is you telling me (because you have supported the store owners here) that I can or cannot do something because you, personally do not like it and do not want anybody else to do it around you, so you even deny me access to something open freely to everyone else. I am not telling you that you cannot wear shoes whenever and wherever you like. But please do not make the choice for me–or encourage others to do so,–where there is no law requiring them, only to satisfy your own personal opinions and preferences, which you want to force on me in a discriminatory way.

  60. John

    I’ve walked barefoot for many years without encountering any health hazards. In fact, the boots I wear for work have caused foot problems and are hot and uncomfortable. I often wonder why no one has mentioned wearing gloves all day long. People sneeze, cough, wipe, and touch things with their hands. Then they use their hands to open doors, use eating utinsils, and pass things to other people. It seems to me that hands would spread germs far more than bare feet which stay firmly planted to the ground. How often are feet used to eat, use door knobs, or touch things that are normally used by hands? I hope the health department makes it manditory for everyone to wear gloves for our own safety.

  61. Kriss

    Molton, that cartoon is totally cool!

    Just one minor technical correction. I did say “No shirt, No shoes, NO ADMITTANCE” in my letter, but when I took a look at the pic we took of the storefront, the sign actually reads:
    No Shirt
    No Shoes
    NO ADMISSION!

  62. Kriss

    Mtndow said, “Both words seem to be spelled correctly.”

    What do you mean? What words?

  63. erica

    jason is my hero.
    …and some of you need to learn what it means to be facetious.

  64. erin

    Wow, this is clearly an discussion that’s spun out of control! I have circular arguments like this with my 6 year old. I didn’t realize there was such a barefoot movement in this town. I’m for shoes all the way…(mtndow, I’ll sign your petition). But really, does that make me a bad person? It doesn’t bother me to see people with bare feet. (Other than my motherly worry that they will step on something sharp). Ganging up on someone who has a differing opinion from you and calling them fascist or discriminatory? A little hypocritical. Live and let live.

  65. boonegoon

    Here, here Erin. First of all, this argument is absurd. Secondly:

    “All persons within the jurisdiction of this state are free and equal, and no matter what their sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, or national origin are entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments of every kind whatsoever.
    This section shall not be construed to confer any right or privilege on a person which is conditioned or limited by law or which is applicable alike to persons of every sex, color, race, religion, ancestry, or national origin. ”

    Unruh act
    No feet anywhere in there. Go patronize a business that doesn’t care.

  66. Steve

    Erin, maybe you missed the point. We barefoot folks are all about “live and let live”. We expect that folks will live, and keep their discriminatory, anti-barefoot comments/hangups/prejudices to themselves. “Live and let live” has a bizarre definition in this forum if it involves refusing a person business based on their shod state. And, just for the record, no one “ganged up” on anyone. We gave Jason a free lesson regarding tolerance, and his complete lack thereof. Your welcome.

  67. Kriss

    Boonegoon said, “’All persons within the jurisdiction of this state are free and equal, and no matter what their sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, or national origin…’
    Unruh act
    No feet anywhere in there. Go patronize a business that doesn’t care.”

    I’m not sure where you live, but this discussion has generally been based on business practices and attitudes in the Asheville area, which is located in North Carolina, not California. Surely you know the Unruh Civil Rights Act is a California law and has no application whatsoever to North Carolina or any other state.

    Actually, I wish it did apply here, because courts and legal scholars have interpreted that law as having application not only to sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, etc., but to arbitrary discrimination in general, and in fact courts have found that discrimination due to “unconventional attire” is illegal under that law. Whether or not this would also apply to discrimination against a person who was barefoot is not known, because such a case has never been tested in the courts of California.

    You can find out more details on those issues here:
    tinyurl.com/36a8bg
    Just scroll down to Section 2.6, “Arbitrary Discrimination”

  68. raven

    I would like to make a comment about the ‘shoes required’ rule in our shop. It is a tattoo/piercing shop, and we have that rule to protect the customer. When dealing with procedures that involve blood and fluids, there is the chance of contracting a blood born disease, mainly hepatitis, since it has a longer exposure life. We also do not allow children under 10 in the shop, and again, this is for everyone’s safety. We could care less if your wearing a shirt or not, though:-)
    Many people get very upset at our shoes/no children rule…but these people need to understand, a tattoo shop is no place to walk around barefoot. One open cut on your foot, and if you walk over a spot wear a microscopic drop of fluid has fallen out of a customer’s fresh piercing or tattoo, and you could easily contract HEP. Many parents don’t attend their children anywhere, and all it takes is one child running to the back, and someone could get stuck with a needle. (not to mention we have people coming in to talk about genital work being done). I know alot of the retailers around here have very snooty attitudes about those of us who aren’t mainstream yuppie types, but i just wanted to let you know that it’s not awlays about that.

  69. Leo

    Raven,
    Your intent is good, but how do you explain the fact that virtually all dental practices are 100% barefoot friendly according to The Society for Barefoot Living’s dental consultant?
    Are’nt tattoo and piercing emporiums required to maintain the same degree of houskeeping as medical/dental offices?
    Why would bare feet and kids be welcome at an oral surgery practice but not at a tattoo or piercing parlor?

  70. Steve

    Raven, while I understand your concern, us big kids appreciate deciding for ourselves. I take full responsibility for my being barefoot, as I’m sure others do.

  71. Raul

    Raven, I am glad that you are a tolerant individual who has a thought out reason for not allowing bare feet in your establishment. You would clearly let people in barefoot if you had a different type of business. However, Like Leo, I disagree with the rationale – for the same reasons he did, but again, thank you for the tolerant attitude – it shows. I may get some ribbing from my fellow barefooters for saying the above, but oh well. I would simply urge you to reconsider the policy. If you still believe the way you do after reconsidering, that is your choice, and I still respect you. My approach is the following.

    1. I go barefoot EVERYWHERE (except under very rare circumstances- e.g. when I go to hear the symphony I will don shoes, because I simply do not like the look of bare feet with a suit – and I am NOT putting down the choice of barefooters who go barefoot whilst wearing formalwear).
    2. If someone tells me I have to have shoes on,
    I will ask them why, and try to educate them (NOT condescendingly) if they give reasons like “health dept. requires it.” . . . Sometimes this works, and I am allowed to be barefoot at the establishment. This is worth it in my opinion.
    —***I actually got to go to :-)WORK:-) barefoot at a calling center, after I gave the site manager a waiver of liability along with a statement of my religious belief in corporeal simplicity. THIS was surely worth it! :-) ***—-
    3. I will respect the decision of a business owner who is honest and simply tells me she/he does not want barefoot persons in their place of business.

    Overall, I am just saying that those of you who suggest “sucking it up” and not challenging the “no bare feet” rule may not realize that I, and many others, can actually change the minds/perspectives of those in charge. Not bad, eh? I can do this without engaging in ad hominem attacks. This forum has obviously gotten to the point at which we may validly call the debate an
    interminable argument. I am just chiming in because I wanted to compiment Raven and illustrate
    that people should not have a problem with other people respectfully trying to change a “no bare feet rule.”
    By the way, the comic gave me a chuckle:-)
    If the couple appearing in the comic were in Brattleboro , VT, they’d be allowed to walk nude in public, as that township has repealed the temporary ban on nudity in public. :-)Yay:-)
    O.K. I got a bit long winded. I honestly wish EVERYONE who has commented here the very best.
    I have a feeling we would probably all get along in person.
    As Garrison says,
    Be well and do good work.
    With pure sincerity,
    Raul Alaniz, M.A.
    Barefoot Texan for 10+ Years

  72. Kriss

    Raven, I think your fears and hyper-cautious mindset are somewhat illogical. And it just reflects the prevailing prejudice against anyone barefoot. I would think a tattoo/piercing shop of all places would value individualism, freedom of choice, freedom of expression, and the right to be different.

    You not only ban children, you treat adults like children. Adults should be allowed to make their own decisions about any possible risks they may encounter, no matter where. You think piercing and tattooing have no medical risk? Of course they do, yet you not only allow it to happen in your shop, you encourage it. I can tell you for a fact that being barefoot in your shop or anywhere else does not carry even a fraction of the risk that people must assume when they get some part of their body pierced.

    So, are you saying that your shop is not nearly as clean, not nearly as sanitary, and you are not nearly as careful in your procedures as a doctor’s office? If so, how do you function in such conditions? No doctor, dentist, or medical office has ever objected to my bare feet. I’ve been to approximately 35 different medical facilities in the last 4 years, and not one has had a problem with my bare feet. Maybe they know something that you don’t.

  73. Leo

    Kriss’s point is well taken.
    I hadn’t even thought of the irony involved in a piercing parlor being so worried about health issues.
    In re-checking for accuracy regarding my claims of dental office acceptance of bare feet, I was also made aware of this:
    Tongue piercing, although very common these days, acounts for THOUSANDS of serious infections in the oral cavity EACH YEAR in the U.S. alone!
    In addition, there have been over a thousand cases per year of permanent disfiguration and/or untoward tissue growth directly related to the practice.
    And, not only have hundreds of lower incisors been fractured as a result of tongue studs/barbells slamming into the teeth at high velocities, but gingival recession (gum disease and loss of structural support for the root) has been directly linked to the “foriegn body” impacting the gums repeatedly.
    All of this information is readily available at the web site of the American Dental Association, yet the piercing artist pays it little attention in the name of freedom of expression for the customer, yet worries about that same person’s risk of infection through a very rare blood droplet-on-the-floor to open cut route.
    Excellent point Kriss!

  74. Stephy Wolf

    I frequent two tattoo parlors enough that everyone there knows my name, and I drop by a few others, and generally at least one person there knows my name. I walk into these tattoo parlors all the time barefoot, with no issues what so ever, getting my first tattoo back in January I walked in and got tattooed barefoot. Buying some jewelry for my lip, and tongue yesterday I had no trouble walking in barefoot, and saw a small child sitting with a parent who I believe was there to get a tattoo.
    Your shop doesn’t sound at all like what’s considered the norm in my area.
    Oh and Kriss, generally the dental industry has the piercing stuff wrong in my experience, I’ve found articles that say “remove oral jewelry when sleeping” which just can’t be done, they also don’t differentiate between the people that do research and get it done professionally compared to the idiotic kids who insist on doing it themselves when mum/dad say “no,”
    Happy bare footing, or shoe wearing, which ever you find more pleasing.

  75. Stephy Wolf

    Oh and I apologize my comment regarding the dental industries views on piercings were meant for Leo, not Kriss.

  76. Leo

    Stephy,
    I believe that Raven’s parlor is probably clean and safe, but like all too many people is just guilty of having an unwarrented fear of the fragility of bare feet.
    Raven has no problem poking holes in people knowing that a certain % will become infected, and that other complications like the ones I mentioned can occur even when the highest standards are adhered to.
    Everybody makes their own choices.
    I may look irrational to some as I skateboard through the streets in bare feet, helmet, and wrist guards.
    Geeky to youngsters, and just plain stupid for riding barefoot to the oldsters, I don’t care what either group thinks.
    It is my decision to risk foot injury in exchange for the better control of the board that I personaly have barefoot, and my choice to not risk head or wrist injury and looking like a nerd instead.
    I’m not willing to risk infection or trauma from oral jewelry, Raven is afraid to go barefoot in the shop, and you get pierced barefoot.
    That’s what individual choice is all about.
    By the way, as a public barefooter, you may want to check out http://www.barefooters.org , if you have’nt already, if nothing more than to arm yourself with documentation to insure that you are allowed access barefoot to most public places.

  77. Stephy Wolf

    Actually I’m a member on the forums, thus how I found all this.
    And after having an oral piercing for over a year with absolutely no issues, well I’ve found it’s pretty safe. Most of the injuries you hear about are from things easily avoided such as correctly sized jewelry to avoid biting, and finding a safe clean parlor before getting pierced. But, as you said, even with all the care possible taken some complications can occur.
    A little more back on topic though:
    I’ll argue the point to go barefoot if the person is saying I can’t for incorrect reasons, but I’ve really only had one problem in the past 2 years of bare footing (A police officers stating false laws in a 7-11 where the manager didn’t mind me coming in without shoes), but really there shouldn’t be a ban on something that is generally safe. I can think of a lot worse things people could come into a store doing.

  78. Kriss

    Stephy said, “I’ll argue the point to go barefoot if the person is saying I can’t for incorrect reasons, but I’ve really only had one problem in the past 2 years of bare footing (A police officers stating false laws in a 7-11 where the manager didn’t mind me coming in without shoes), but really there shouldn’t be a ban on something that is generally safe. I can think of a lot worse things people could come into a store doing.”

    What you mentioned about the police officer is absolutely appalling. Though it’s never happened to me, I’ve heard of other horror stories of barefooters being harassed by police officers who claimed some kind of law existed against being barefoot. Of course no police officer would ever be able to cite the actual code, statute, ordinance, or whatever they claim exists, because there are none. One acquaintance of mine mentioned that several years ago at the old Wal-Mart store on Tunnel Road (since closed), he was told by a policeman that being barefoot in a store was against FEDERAL law, which was of course a blatant lie. It’s just amazing the myths about barefooting that some people actually believe, even people that should know better. Fortunately the majority of police officers actually do know the law and enforce it fairly.

    But, like you, I almost never have a problem being barefoot anywhere or in any store or restaurant. It just seems like downtown Asheville is where I’ve run into an “attitude.”

  79. Leo

    I have always assumed that the belief that it is against the law to be barefoot in retail establishments comes from reading the fraudulant signs posted on some entrances using the wording
    “State Law”, or “Health Department”.
    That is why I always follow up whenever I see such a ridiculous claim.
    As I explained to the owner of a gift shop in FL, literaly THOUSANDS of tourists read that sign everyday, year round, with a good number of them being on vacation from other countries.
    Knowing no better, they actually BELIEVE what they read.
    Who could blame them?
    I have always succeded in having independant stores take down their signs, or at least delete the reference to the laws or health departments.
    Each sign that comes down represents thousands of people a day that will no longer become brainwashed into thinking that bare feet are illegal.
    Some very large chains have been resistant to change.
    One defends their sign as really meaning “our own internal health department has the rule”
    Another claims that they are in the process of printing 4,500 new signs deleting the fraudulant reference to health department regs.
    Being denied access while barefoot due to an owners personal preference is unfortunate enough, but all signs teaching those who enter incorrect information should be challanged as part of the effort to maintain fairness to the barefooters.
    An educated public is a good idea.
    A mis-informed public leads to ignorance.
    Most Americans are ignorant regarding the legality of barefoot shopping and driving,
    and I personaly blame McDonalds for the former.

  80. vtsream

    All this bare foot talk reminds me of a time when the art class I was attending went on a field trip to the local art museum. One particularly alluring and talented young female artist was rejected at the door because she had no shoes on. She promtly sat down, whipped out a brown felt tipped marking pen and proceeded to draw sandals on her feet. She was admitted to the museum without notice.

  81. Kriss

    Back to Raven’s comment. I received a private email from someone who works in a tattoo/piercing shop. She did not want to post here or get directly involved in this discussion, but she gave me permission to copy and paste what she said. Here is her email:

    As a body piercer/tattoo artist and paramedic, here’s my experience:

    Our piercing needles (and all that I’ve seen) are hollow-bore. Some shops even use over-the-needle catheter-type needles for piercing, as the catheters can be helpful in some tight or “sensitive” locations (eek!). I also know that the amount of blood that happens in a piercing is generally negligible, and *I* always put the needle straight into a sharps container, and others in my shop at least put it back onto the workstation table.

    In the shop I worked in (in upstate NY), if a needle *DID* get dropped, or if any blood happened to go anywhere, the whole area was cleaned with medical-grade disinfecting wipes, i.e. cavicide, which is a quaternary ammonium cleaner (I think) or similar product. 30 second exposure time, whole deal. When I was working, I wiped down the chair after each person, too (whether or not it’s actually necessary, it certainly looks better and makes customers feel better). The floor even got mopped with Mr. Clean at least twice a week (you could tell, because I did it, and the shop owner didn’t. Tough to be the apprentice).

    Oh, right. I spent every day in that shop, all day long, barefoot. (and out of the shop, too). The owner would walk in wearing flips, take them off, and spend the day in-shop barefoot. The only comments I ever got were positive there.

    …the positively miniscule risk of there being that small contaminated place, where the blood has survived and not been cleaned, and where you then step on it, with a break in the skin immediately over where you step on it, and THEN that the break in the skin is sufficient to get to the blood vessels, and THEN that the virus that happens to continue to be living, and is sufficient to get up and INTO the cut and grow…… That’s an awful lot of if…

    Realistically, it’s technically possible, but highly implausible.

    Just one point of view, tho……

    -sonya

  82. the man

    “What about those who are grossed out by other things, be they tattoos, piercings, wierd hair, etc.
    Should those offenders also “cover up” lest they upset another diner?”

    If they’re in a privately owned business and the management asks them to, then yes, of course they should cover up (assuming they don’t want to leave.)

    Leo, I did not say I was afraid of catching a disease from a barefooter, nor did I say that I was concerned for the health of barefooters. I said (basically) that I’d prefer to not be around people who are unbothered by stepping on gross things as they walk around all day.

    I’m healthy, so most likely my urine is sterile and wouldn’t hurt you. Let’s say I have a gallon jar full of my urine that I carry around with me at all times. If you and I were eating in a diner, would you prefer I keep the jar packed away in my backpack, or would you prefer that I set the jar on the counter next to you?

  83. Steve

    The man: “If you and I were eating in a diner, would you prefer I keep the jar packed away in my backpack, or would you prefer that I set the jar on the counter next to you?”

    Actually, Mr. Man, how often do you wash your shoes? I wash my feet everyday. Twice, sometimes. That being the case, please don’t wear your disease-ridden shoes in restaurants. I find that revolting…:-)

    If I sound dumb/ludicrous/etc saying that, then, logically…

  84. Kriss

    The man said, “I said (basically) that I’d prefer to not be around people who are unbothered by stepping on gross things as they walk around all day.”

    You’re implying that what barefoot people step on as they walk around all day and what shoe wearing people step on as they walk around all day are somehow different. Actually, they may be different, but not in the way you seem to mean. I’m not sure exactly what you mean by “gross things,” but I certainly try to avoid certain things like chewing gum, dog poop, or other obvious things that no one, shod or barefoot, would want stuck to their foot. The thing is, there is a much greater chance of a shoe wearing person stepping on those things than a barefoot person. The obvious reason is, we are much more aware of where we’re stepping. It just comes with the territory. And, in the unlikely event that we are unlucky enough to accidentally step in some undesirable substance, we immediately know it, and can immediately wash it off or take other measures to get it off our foot. If you are wearing shoes, quite often you’re not even aware you’ve stepped in something “gross” until after you’ve tracked it all over the place, including your car or home.

    The man also said, “I’m healthy, so most likely my urine is sterile and wouldn’t hurt you. Let’s say I have a gallon jar full of my urine that I carry around with me at all times. If you and I were eating in a diner, would you prefer I keep the jar packed away in my backpack, or would you prefer that I set the jar on the counter next to you?”

    Your analogy doesn’t make much sense. What does urine have to do with bare feet? Urine is a liquid excretory product; bare feet are body parts, natural human body parts for which there are no legal, medical, social, moral, religious, or other reasons to keep hidden away from public view. We’re not talking about genitals here. I guess your premise is that bare feet are similar to urine in some way, which is ridiculous. And your analogy is further flawed, because you’re talking about placing something (an ostensibly undesirable something) on a diner counter. Do you really expect a barefoot person would put his or her bare feet on that same diner counter? If you saw a barefoot person walking into a restaurant, you would hardly see any more of their feet than you would if they were wearing flip-flops. Their feet would remain on the floor just like shoe wearer’s feet. So how would that be some kind of problem for you?

  85. Leo

    “The Man” said:
    …..Leo, I did not say I was afraid of catching a disease from a barefooter, nor did I say that I was concerned for the health of barefooters. I said (basically) that I’d prefer to not be around people who are unbothered by stepping on gross things as they walk around all day. ………………

    You are entitled to your preferences, just as I am to mine, as long as they don’t interfere with the rights of others.
    You prefer to not be around folks like Gandhi, Jesus, Greek philosophers, middle aged physicians, lawyers, dentists, etc. if they happen to choose the barefoot lifestyle.
    You think that an acurate analygy is to equate a jar of urine on a counter to bare feet on the floor.
    Sorry, you are not making a point worth contemplating.

  86. The Rocket Club

    I can’t believe I have read all of this.

    When I went to college I only wore shoes in two places. The chemistry lab, and the sculpture studio–both places where shoes were the smart choice for my safety.

    I look at bars the same way. Broken glass can happen at any time, and slices feet open–fast. You as a barefooted person may accept responsibility for what your feet step on, and the barefooted person may not be able to successfully sue me, but there are still negitive things that can happen to the business if you do cut yourself. You can start a lawsuit, even if you will lose, the time, effort and cost of defending ourselves is a burden.

    What is more important to me is blood. Other people’s blood is scary. We all know what it can carry. If there is blood in my establishment, I (or one of my staff) have to clean it up. We have to carefully clean up the blood, wearing disposable barriers (gloves, mask and eyeshield), disinfect the area, and dispose of all cleaning materials in a biohazard bag (and then find a proper boihazard disposal facility) if we want to do things right. This we do for our safety, and that of our other patrons.

    This because you don’t want to slip on some flip flops. That is a lot to ask of a business.

    We could also just serve everything in plastic, but that is a horrible option.

    So if you ever come to The Rocket Club, I hope you will have shoes on. If you chose to come barefooted, I’ll simply ask you, “What are you drinking today?” I’m current on my first aid training.

  87. Kriss

    “So if you ever come to The Rocket Club, I hope you will have shoes on. If you chose to come barefooted, I’ll simply ask you, “What are you drinking today?” I’m current on my first aid training.”

    Though I think your fears of broken glass injuries, blood, and lawsuits are completely unjustified – I won’t go into details why, because the most important part of your comment is the last paragraph. The website for your business says it all, “Small setting, affordable drinks, great music, and *no attitude* [my emphasis]… You are doing what all businesses should do, that is, acknowledge that adult customers have the right to make their own decisions about what they wear or not wear on their feet and that they are responsible enough to accept any risks involved, if any.

    Really, you are not going to need your first aid kit – not for an injured bare foot anyway. Anyone who walks into a bar barefoot is not likely to be a novice barefooter with tender feet and no experience in watching where we step. And the danger or even the likelihood of stepping on glass anywhere is practically nil. I know; I’ve been going barefoot everywhere for many years. Small bits of glass will not cut feet. Large pieces or shards of glass are easily seen and avoided.

  88. Leo

    The proprieter of The Rocket Club understands the importance of looking after his bottom line.
    His fears of dealing with possible consequences of injury and blood spills of a barefoot patron come close to outweighing his concern of losing the barefooter’s business.
    Fortunatly, as a reasonable businessman, he sees the value of welcoming the barefooters business even though he feels the barefooter should be more fair to him and slip on the flip-flops.
    The principle is the same as with all other bar behaviors.
    If the customer would quit after two drinks, despite the waitperson’s willingness to serve a third, injuries and possible bloodletting could be avoided as well.
    The owner must weigh the business advantages and drawbacks of serving the person that is obviously over the allowable blood alcohol driving levels.
    Fights, slip/falls, etc. are all increased in probability with each drink.
    Thick steaks being served increase the likelyhood of a choking victim too.
    Everything is a trade-off in the business world.
    That’s why he doesn’t ban high heels, sandals (my daughter sustained serious lacerations while dancing in a nicer restaurant when a clumsy suiter stepped on her sandaled feet while glass pieces from the floor were imbedded in his shoe soles. Had he been barefoot, he would have felt the glass, flicked it out bloodlessly, and the injury would have been prevented)
    and other potential hazards.
    Bare feet are just one other rarely-seen-in-public style that have their own saftey advantages as well as disadvantages.
    Bare feet should be no scarier to a bar owner than any other fashions, food, or drink, let alone dim lighting, stairways, knives, and glasswear.
    I commend you for allowing the acceptance of other’s styles to over-rule your concerns of fighting a lawsuit.

  89. sonya

    Biohazard clean-up, while necessary, need not be the big impressive show it sounds to be (I ride an ambulance for a living as a professional paramedic, and thus do this clean-up all the time).

    I don’t put goggles and gown on. I wear gloves. I wipe it up with either a pre-soaked baby-wipe-type sanitization cloth or a disinfectant spray and a towel. It doesn’t have to go in a red bag (which, if done properly, would have to be disposed of in another red bag at a health facility); hospital guidelines for “hazardous body materials disposal” are enough blood to completely saturate a gauze 4×4 (4″ square), sufficient that it is dripping and can be wrung out. I have, even on the job, run into that quantity of blood being spilled remarkably seldom (certainly not on a weekly basis, not generally even monthly).

    And, yes, I’m a barefooter, too.

    To the nice bar-owner’s credit, thank you for accepting us as we are, and respecting our desires and serving us anyway. If I’m ever in town, I’ll be sure to stop through. :)

  90. Kriss

    One of the best things that has come out of my letter and this whole discussion is that not one person who is opposed to someone’s freedom of choice to go barefoot has brought up the “health department” myth as an excuse for their prejudice. Of course it’s easy to see why some might believe that, as occasionally one will see a sign on a business that reads something like, “No bare feet, by order of the department of health.” Such statements are blatant lies.

    No health department would ever “order” any business to tell customers they cannot be barefoot. No health department, not North Carolina, not Buncombe County, not any state or county in the United States, has any rules or regulations that relate to footwear for customers. Why would they? Such rules wouldn’t make much sense, as going barefoot has no more negative effect on public health than going barehanded or bareheaded.

  91. spanningtime

    A book had been recommended to me at the Wise Woman Herbalism class I attended last weekend, To Be Healed by Earth by Warren Grossman. I was researching the book last night online and via his website came across another that I found interesting about the shoes/no shoes issue, which I never really considered that seriously before. I did find the site to have a definite certain tone that was a little affected, but all in all, I found the information was “priceless.” Check it out for

    yourself: http://www.shoebusters.com/

    I apologize if anyone has already posted this link, I tried to read each post attentively, but good grief!

    I found the pictures to be truly amazing. After inadvertently running across this discussion tonight, I felt it would be worth sharing.

  92. Kriss

    “I did find the site to have a definite certain tone that was a little affected, but all in all, I found the information was ‘priceless.'”

    Affected indeed. Spanningtime, I appreciate your post, but there is a problem with the “Shoebusters” website. Even though some parts are very good and factual, the problem is that the basic premise of the author is that
    everything that ails humanity is caused by shoes, which of course is not true. For that reason, I would not recommend that website as a credible source.

    In January of this year, I sent the following message to the author:

    I’m sorry, but your novel approach is a great disservice to our efforts to educate people about the benefits of barefooting. Much of your article, especially most of what is contained in “Nature’s Magic Bullet” is excellent. But it is a shame that any credibility you may have established by your logical, factual, and proven conclusions included in that part of your essay is completely destroyed by your snake oil claims that shoes are basically the cause of every disease known to man. Nobody is going to believe that, and making such statements as part of an otherwise well-written article about the benefits of going barefoot colors the whole thing as being the ravings of lunatic.

    If you are really interested in promoting the benefits of going barefoot, I beg of you to seriously edit your article to include only the *facts* of how shoes can damage the body, and get rid of all that other baloney.

    A lot of people already think that people who go barefoot all the time are a little nuts. Your article – taken as a whole – unfortunately just adds more reasons for them to draw that conclusion. And again, it is a shame, because parts of it are excellent.

  93. Did I just fall through a wormhole and land in a universe that somehow finds it an infringment on personal libtery to be asked to wear footwear when in a public enclosure?

    JMFC, get a sense of proportion!

  94. TRAY

    This is the biggest bunch of crap. Please tell me that you are in 1st grade because these arguments seem to be on that level. Mommy I dont want to wear my shoes today. With everything going on in the world today we are complaining about policies on wearing shoes. OMG GROW UP, GET A JOB, AND MAYBE A REAL CAUSE. Must be tuff being so oppressed.

  95. Kriss

    “Did I just fall through a wormhole and land in a universe that somehow finds it an infringment on personal libtery to be asked to wear footwear when in a public enclosure?”

    Infringement on personal liberty? Perhaps, but I’d characterize it more as just being rude.

    How would you feel if a perfect stranger walked up to you and made some disparaging comment about the way you were dressed and told you must dress differently? Wearing or not wearing footwear in a “public enclosure” is nobody’s business but the person actually wearing or not wearing it.

    For someone to ask someone barefoot to put on footwear is no different from someone asking someone bareheaded to put on a hat. It’s no different from someone telling you you cannot come into a business with an earring in your ear or piercings in your face. It’s no different from telling you you must cut your hair to a certain length before entering their business (which is exactly what Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, did in the sixties).

    Any of those requests would be rude, intrusive, unnecessary, and, yes, probably an infringement of personal liberty. This is America, my friend, not North Korea, China, Iran, or some other country where people are pretty much required to dress in a certain way and are punished or ostracized if they don’t. Not everyone here buckles under to convention, and we have a right to dress as we please in this country as long as no laws are violated.

  96. Actually you do not have the liberty to dress (or undress) anyway you want in a public space. A private business has the right to refuse you service for any number of reasons. Not to mention that we as a society have certain mores and standards, and while you are certainly welcome to eschew them and do as you please, you cannot expect that everyone else is going to welcome your choice.

    And to suggest that your having to wear shoes in a public place is somehow equal to the repressive governments that you mentioned is, to be frank, asinine, and shows that you have no sense of proportionality.

    my unsolicited advice would for you to perhaps open your eyes to the real inequality and oppression in this world, country, state, and city.

  97. Steve

    Well, we’re just going in circles. -Don’t you hate pants- Please reread everything here, particularly the parts regarding “intolerance”.

    BTW, “mores” are for people who can’t think for themselves, who gladly give up freedom for easy acceptance. You see, some of us have this thing called a backbone.

  98. vtstream

    The need to feel closer to the earth is, in my view, a good thing. There are many who feel disconnected from the earth and want to feel some connection to it. Going barefoot may do this for them.

    Historically, many cultures have felt the need to subdue nature. Ours has been quite successful at this. So much so that many feel separated and alienated from the natural world. The negative environmental effects of conquering nature are quite obvious to most of us today. I’d think that allowing people to feel closer to the earth can only be a good thing.

    There has been a social stigma attached to going barefoot. My father grew up poor in eastern Kentucky and never wore shoes in the summer. He had none to wear. Later in life, when his over-educated hippyish son expressed the desire to walk barefoot on the earth, he cringed at the sight. No doubt his shame of being poor as a child was flavoring his point of view.

    Throughout history, religious, mystic, prophetic and holy people have walked barefoot on purpose.
    It connected them to the holiness of the earth.
    I’m reluctant to be critcal of such people. It seems they knew more than I do.

    In our modern concrete and plastic culture, going barefoot isn’t going to get one much closer to the earth since the sidewalk and street and grocery store floor are all surfaces that are designed to separate us from the filthy earth. What a shame we have become so distant from our mother.

  99. Kriss

    “Actually you do not have the liberty to dress (or undress) anyway you want in a public space.”

    I don’t agree with you, notwithstanding your next statement. Without any information to the contrary from the owner of the property that some sort or dress code must be adhered to, there’s no reason for anyone to think one cannot dress in any way one wants – within the limitations of the law. Of course, I’m talking about actual law, not phony, made up law like a few businesses here and there post about “health department” rules or “state law.”

    “A private business has the right to refuse you service for any number of reasons.”

    Actually it’s not as simple as that. No business is really all that “private.” No property owner is free to do whatever he or she wishes with his or her property. Property is subject to zoning laws, environmental laws, seizure when taxes aren’t paid, and of course eminent domain for practically any reason some government sees fit for the “greater good.” “Private” businesses, whether on “private” property or not, do not in fact have the absolute right to say who comes into their establishment and who does not. They are subject to various laws against discrimination both in customers served or employees hired. They are also subject all kinds of laws and regulations related to how they do business, what food they can or cannot sell, if and when they can sell alcoholic beverages, how clean their premises are and many, many other regulations depending on what city or state they are located in.

    You make it sound like a private business can do anything it wants and has to answer to no one. Not true at all.

    But unfortunately, being able to discriminate against barefoot customers is indeed one of the few things most private business in fact *can* still do with virtual impunity. It is discrimination based on appearance. Still legal, just based on whim or personal preference, yet many still try to justify it by referring to phony health code regulations.

    Yes. They have a right to ban barefooters. But having a right to do something doesn’t always make it right to do it.

    “And to suggest that your having to wear shoes in a public place is somehow equal to the repressive governments that you mentioned is, to be frank, asinine, and shows that you have no sense of proportionality.”

    It was YOU who brought up the concept of “infringement on personal liberty,” which suggests government control. I was just following that analogy to its logical conclusion. My characterization, if you will go back and read my comment, was that such “requests” are simply rude.

  100. A) you are putting far too much energy into this.

    B) what about people like me, who I am guessing make up the vast majority, who don’t want to look at your dirty hippie feet while I am enjoying my falafel? Do we have rights? the sidewalks are filthy (no to mention covered with various pokey objects) who is liable if you step on a piece of glass in front of a business?

    C)Again, you totally glossed over my point where I said you may have a right to go barefoot, but to expect that the rest of society is going to condone and celebrate your choice is illogical. I hate pants, but I wear them in public.

    D)If it is your life’s work to get people to accept bare feet in public then that is your choice, but you should expect people (like me) to mock you for it, and please stop trying to make this a civil rights issue, that is just insulting.

    I mean for the love of god is it really all that inconvenient to put on a pair of fricken shoes?

  101. “BTW, “mores” are for people who can’t think for themselves, who gladly give up freedom for easy acceptance. You see, some of us have this thing called a backbone. ”

    You think going in bare-foot in public qualifies you as having “backbone”?

    Please spare us the self-satisfied gibberish.

  102. Leo

    Fortunatly for us barefoot people, most of the public accepts us and is not as anti-feet as this “pants” guy.
    Sure, there are others like him around, but very few are in positions that allow them to interfere with our choice.
    He says: ” …put on a pair of frickin shoes”
    My response: Why? To make HIM happy?
    I am happier barefoot, 24/7. Why don’t you just avert your eyes, same as I do when I see something that is legal but disgusting in my view.

  103. Leo,

    perhaps your lack of footwear has somehow impaired your ability to read. I am not against people being barefoot (I could honestly care less) What I am against is this self-satisfied demeanor that you and your fellow footies have adopted wherein you assume that because you are in favor of something that everyone else should be. What I take offense with is the suggestion that ya’ll are martyrs for a great civil rights issue which I find personally disgusting and further evidence that you need to grow up and get over yourselves already…

    anit-feet? No. I am anti-stupidity.

  104. leo

    Pants,
    Your just looking for a fight.
    Go back and read the comments, and find ONE person that is as mean-spirited as you have been.
    Name calling, questioning intelligence, ignoring the comments the barefooters have made, you’re guilty of it all.
    As I said before, THANK GOD people like you rarely make it to a position of authority!

  105. Leo,

    not looking for a fight, just pointing out your silliness, and yes I have ignored a lot of the comments that you “barefooters” have made because they are so ridiculous.

    As for my non-existent future in a position of authority, I, unlike most of you footie types, have made it fairly easy to find out my real name via the profile, so write my name down, and in 30 years when I am head of a shoe-hoarding post-apocalyptic vigilante group that roams the barren smoky wastes rounding up barefoot people like yourself in order to enslave them into my horrible gulag of cobblers and shoeshine boys you will at least have had a heads up.

  106. Kriss

    “A) you are putting far too much energy into this.”

    I merely sent a letter to the editor expressing my opinion about why downtown businesses are losing business. I didn’t invite all these comments; in fact I didn’t even know such a system was set up for Internet comments on letters. All I’m doing is answering or responding to posts of others. It does take a lot of time and energy, but too much? I think I should be the judge of that.

    “B) what about people like me, who I am guessing make up the vast majority, who don’t want to look at your dirty hippie feet while I am enjoying my falafel?”

    Why would you be looking at someone’s feet while enjoying your falafel? Nobody’s going to put their feet up on your table next to your food. Are you so obsessed with bare feet that you’re going to be crawling around on the floor checking out people’s feet under the tables? Even as someone barefoot walks into a store or restaurant, you’re not going to see any more of their foot than you would see of someone’s wearing flip-flops or skimpy sandals. Would you ban them from your sight as well? By the way, I’m not a hippy and I doubt that my feet would ever be any dirtier than anyone’s feet wearing sandals and certainly not as filthy as the fungus filled, sweat soaked inside of your shoes which I’m sure are never washed.

    “Do we have rights?”

    Well, you certainly do *not* have a right not to be offended. Did you think you did? You should learn to accept everyone as they are, not as you would like them to be.

    “the sidewalks are filthy (no to mention covered with various pokey objects) who is liable if you step on a piece of glass in front of a business?”

    First, merely stepping on a piece of glass is not necessarily going to cause any injury. Second, the likelihood of a barefoot person stepping on some injurious item is extremely low. Third, who would be liable? The barefooter of course. Anyone who goes barefoot on a regular basis knows and accepts that.

    “C)Again, you totally glossed over my point where I said you may have a right to go barefoot, but to expect that the rest of society is going to condone and celebrate your choice is illogical.”

    Neither I nor any other barefooter who has commented on here expects anyone to “condone” or “celebrate” our choice of attire. What we wear or don’t wear on our feet is of no one else’s concern – that’s the point.

    “I hate pants, but I wear them in public.”

    I imagine you’d be arrested if you didn’t.

    “D)If it is your life’s work to get people to accept bare feet in public then that is your choice, but you should expect people (like me) to mock you for it, and please stop trying to make this a civil rights issue, that is just insulting.”

    You were mocking me??? Sorry, I thought you were making an attempt at intelligent debate. My mistake, I guess.

    “I mean for the love of god is it really all that inconvenient to put on a pair of fricken shoes?”

    It’s not a matter of convenience or inconvenience, dude. It’s simply a matter of personal choice.

  107. John

    Dear Don’t you hate pants.

    What is your hang up on someone walking barefoot? Why would any person or business care about someone else’s choice to walk barefoot? If you don’t like it don’t do it but don’t impose the way you feel on others.

  108. Kriss

    “The need to feel closer to the earth is, in my view, a good thing. There are many who feel disconnected from the earth and want to feel some connection to it. Going barefoot may do this for them.”

    Thanks for your comment, vtstream, not just the small part I quoted, but everything you said.

  109. Kriss

    Don’t you hate pants said, “You think going in bare-foot in public qualifies you as having ‘backbone’?”

    Actually it does, and Steve is quite right. We go against convention. And occasionally we have to deal with someone like you, luckily not too often – someone so obsessed with bare feet that the sight of them in public or even reading about going barefoot in public causes you to completely freak out.

    And regardless of all your rantings, none of us are going to change our feelings about what we do and none of us are going to stop going barefoot in public. Everything you’ve said, we’ve all heard before from people of similar mindsets.

    The vast majority of people don’t really care, or even if they do, would not be so disrespectful and rude as to make some comment about what someone is or is not wearing, something that’s really of no concern to or has no effect whatsoever on any other person.

    You can keep it up if you want as you certainly have a right to your opinion, and we’ll keep trying to reason with you.

  110. Dear Idiots,

    As I have said before I could care less about your desired foot fetishism (I think it is odd and rude–rude in the sense that and silly, but its your thing…whatever).

    What I object to is equating yourselves with civil rights figures and the like. Dear god if knew you all were this sensitive and humorless I would have never left a post here on something I could absolutely careless about. So I am gone and I wish you well on your many barefooted adventures. If anyone of you ever happens to accidentally step on a sense of humor, heres hoping that it just might work its way in through your no doubt heavily callused feet. I say good day sirs!

  111. Kriss

    John said (to Don’t you hate pants), “If you don’t like it don’t do it but don’t impose the way you feel on others.”

    That’s exactly the point, John. We barefooters are not trying to tell anyone else how they should dress – but this “pants” guy is telling *everyone* how they should dress.

    And for someone who says he “could[n’t] care less,” his words send a quite different message. If he doesn’t think going barefoot is a good thing to do, all he has to do is just not go barefoot himself and not worry about what somebody else is doing that should be none of his concern.

  112. Kriss

    Dont you hate pants said, “As I have said before I could care less about your desired foot fetishism…”

    Pants, an obsessive interest in other people’s bare feet would would be “foot fetishism” – and that’s apparently what your problem is. All we want to do is go barefoot. We don’t go around looking at other people’s feet and getting all concerned about some lack of footwear, as seems to be your interest. Again, I suggest you just worry about your own feet and not other people’s.

  113. Tray

    I think everyone should agree to disagree on this one. It seems everyone keeps goin in circles. This is not an intellectual debate. It is a childish discussion about barefeet. Why give this rubbish anymore undeserving attention?

  114. Kriss

    Tray, if you don’t like this discussion, perhaps you should just ignore it. What difference does it make to you what we’re discussing here? You’ve only contributed *two* comments yourself, including your last one, and neither has included anything other than snide, sarcastic remarks criticizing the discussion of everyone else. If you feel this topic’s undeserving of attention, then please don’t give it any more of your attention. You’ve contributed nothing of value here, yet you want to shut everyone else up. People can continue to comment all they want. Don’t read it if you don’t like it.

  115. Tray

    I cant really see that you have contributed much in this discussion either. Even with you long winded comments. You like the sound of your own voice dont ya. By the way, have you changed anyones mind that doesnt share your opinion? Why No. All you seem to know how to do is criticize yourself. So tell me, how does it feel. Give your fingers a rest and do something constructive with your obviously boring life.

  116. Kriss

    For something that’s so “undeserving of attention,” this topic sure keeps *your* attention. Since you keep coming back to it, why don’t you contribute to this discussion by making some with some sort of intelligent point?

    Your attitude is just like those who want to control what others wear or don’t wear on their feet. They don’t like going barefoot so they think nobody else should go barefoot. You don’t like this discussion, so you think nobody should else should participate in it. You don’t control the world, my friend.

  117. socraticus

    Tray, how do you know Kriss has changed no minds here? Besides, he has accomplished his goal of INFORMING people that the health dept. myth is just that = a myth. You also seem to think that we barefooters arguing to be left alone lead boring, unproductive lives. I have been barefooting for ten years, and in my hometwon of Kingsville, I have problems NOWHEEE in the city except for Wal-Mart. At any rate, I have spent about five minutes reading these comments this morning, and now I type this. Shortly I will be preparing for a nine hour aesthetics seminar that
    I will be presenting. After that I will have a date with a grogeous graduate student. I’m helping her do research for her thesis. Then I will practice for a piano recital/fundraiser I will be playing for the Center for the Healing of Racism. You win Tray – my life is such a bore.
    R. ALaniz, M.A.

  118. Tray

    Ok fine, I will give you the opprotunity to change my mind. No sarcasm. My opinion is just that, an opinion. Small private buisinesses have these policies to protect themselves against lawsuits and I know you’ve already said that most of these claims would be thrown out of court. Still, why should we expect a small buisiness owner to have to deal with such a headache just because a select few dont agree with there policy. Larger corporations are more equipied to deal with lawsuits and probably have lawyers on standby just for these kinds of claims. I think that to suggest this has anything to do with polotics and discrimination is laughable. So feel free to change my mind. You dont insult my intelligence and I wont respond with sarcasm and critizism. When I posted my comments with stern words it is because I’ve seen how you treat people that dont share your opinions, so lets change things and have an adult conversation about it.

  119. Kriss

    “Also, how is anything I’ve said been controling?”

    Actually, nothing you’ve said has been controlling.

    But you’ve sure tried your hardest to be controlling in this discussion by telling everybody to stop talking. If you really wanted this discussion to end, you’d not continue to contribute to it. I’m willing to continue discussing the topic, based on my letter to the editor, with anyone who is interested. But anyone who is not interested in the real issues here, maybe you should just butt out.

  120. Kriss

    Tray, since you aren’t registered here, there is a delay in posting your comments, whereas mine are posted immediately. As a result, when I posted my last one, yours (actually sent before mine) was not on the screen. I’ll respond to that one in a little while when I have more time.

  121. Kriss

    “Small private buisinesses have these policies to protect themselves against lawsuits…”

    Actually, you’re incorrect on two counts here. Since you didn’t say, “some small businesses,” your implication is that all small businesses have policies against going barefoot. Very few actually have such an official “policy.” Second, of the ones that do, the majority have such a rule due to the false but popular belief that being barefoot in a store or restaurant is prohibited by some kind of health department rule or law. That’s almost always the excuse they come up with when questioned on why they would ban bare feet. When it is proved to them that no such laws or regulations exist, they will either (1) accept that and admit they’ve been mislead all along, or (2) start humming and hawing around to try to come up with a “new” excuse for their policy. Sometimes second, or possibly third, on their list of excuses is “safety concerns,” and sometimes that may lead to a discussion of liability and lawsuits. But that’s not something they had even considered initially. It’s just a way of saving face when a manager is proved wrong.

    “Larger corporations are more equipied to deal with lawsuits and probably have lawyers on standby just for these kinds of claims.”

    There are no “these kinds of claims.” There are a few claims for injuries due to various types of footwear, such as flip-flops and high heels which are inherently dangerous. Yet no store or restaurant bans them. But to assume there are all kinds of claims for injuries to bare feet in a store or restaurant is just bogus. I have in my files a long list (much, much too long to include here) of court cases from around the country involving injuries due to footwear or lack thereof. The vast majority relate to injuries caused by footwear, not bare feet. There is a very small section that deals with cases in which the injured person was barefoot, even if the bare feet had little to do with the injury. Most of the barefoot injuries are either outdoors or indoors at a pool or locker room, not in a store or restaurant.

    I think you should put the infinitesimally small possibility of someone injuring a bare foot in a store or restaurant in some logical perspective. According to NHTSA, “In 2004, there were an estimated 6,181,000 police-reported traffic crashes, in which 42,636 people were killed and 2,788,000 people were injured; 4,281,000 crashes involved property damage only.” Yet people continue to drive and ride in automobiles. Similar risks could be cited about just about every other thing people do just living life.

    I’ve found that most people who never go barefoot have a really distorted view of how vulnerable feet are. Almost nothing usually found on the ground or floor can actually cause injury or serious harm to bare feet, especially for someone who’s used to being barefoot. I know – I’ve been doing this for many years. There’s a greater chance of getting a paper cut on your hand than any kind of cut on your bare feet. As I said, I know, I’m a “trained professional,” so to speak – you’re not, so your concerns and your assumptions are only speculation not based on fact.

  122. Tray

    Kriss
    In saying small businesses I was of businesses that do have a No Shoes policy. Also when I said claims like these it was of customer accidents in general not just those involving bare feet. Sorry, I should have explained.

    I will say you bring up some interesting points with facts to support your argument but, and I know there is always a but right. I dont agree with that comparing barefoot accidents to automobile accidents is that great of an argument. I mean is there some barefoot movement that I’m unaware of? There are allot more motorists on the road than there are 24/7 barefooters. With the amount of motorists there are of course the risk of accidents is greater. If most people were 24/7 barefooters your comparison might make sense, as is, it doesnt.

    Speaking of speculating, Isnt that what you are doing when suggesting that these businesses have a lacking business during Bele Chere Weekend due to their policie on shoes.

    I do appreciate your point of view. I also appreciate the research and facts that went into your last comment. I found the facts to be interesting you Professional Barefooter you.

    Tray

  123. Kriss

    “In saying small businesses I was of businesses that do have a No Shoes policy.”

    Again I say that the majority of small businesses do not have a “shoes required” policy. That is, an official policy, something they’ve thought about in advance and decided that, for whatever reason, they should tell potential customers what they can or cannot wear on their feet in order to be worthy enough to enter their store. I think most small businesses are just happy to see anyone walk through the door with money to spend. That’s what “business” is about. Getting customers through the door to spend money. Small businesses that show respect for all customers, regardless of their attire, will have a much greater chance of being successful than those who don’t.

    “Also when I said claims like these it was of customer accidents in general not just those involving bare feet. Sorry, I should have explained.”

    Well, of course any business has to deal with liability claims. That’s what they have insurance for. (And btw, NO insurance company “requires” stores to ban barefoot customers – another excuse I’ve occasionally heard from misinformed store managers.) The point is that barefoot injuries historically are almost nonexistent, and logically the potential for a barefoot injury in a store or restaurant doesn’t even approach the potential for an injury related to footwear – such a flip-flops or high heels – and stores and restaurants wouldn’t even consider banning them. Worrying about bare feet in a store is just not something a small business or any business should concern itself with. There are much more important things that affect the bottom line.

    “I dont agree with that comparing barefoot accidents to automobile accidents is that great of an argument… There are allot more motorists on the road than there are 24/7 barefooters. With the amount of motorists there are of course the risk of accidents is greater.”

    Good point, but I was not comparing total car accidents to total barefoot accidents. Of course there are more car riders and drivers than 24/7 barefooters. But my point is that a single individual riding in a car on a public highway has a much greater statistical chance of being injured or killed than someone’s chance of getting a foot injured while walking somewhere barefoot during the same period of time. I’m saying people should put things in reasonable perspective.

    “Speaking of speculating, Isnt that what you are doing when suggesting that these businesses have a lacking business during Bele Chere Weekend due to their policie on shoes.”

    There’s a big difference between speculation and common sense. Early on in this discussion, a poster named Robert asked a similar question. I’ll tell you pretty much what I told him:
    If you will notice in my letter I only said, “I can easily see why.” That’s based on common sense more than anything else. Any business that posts a rude sign at its door declaring that certain people are not welcome, and the reason they are not welcome is based only on their attire, sends a very negative message of arrogance and disrespect for the public in general. Such signs reflect attitude. Attitude toward customers in the long run is one of the biggest factors that will cause a business to be a success or a failure. And in the short run, not only will these businesses of course lose the business of the ones that have arbitrarily excluded, I, for one, and I’m sure many other people, based on principle, would never want to patronize a business that discriminates against people merely because of the way they look or the way they dress.

    “I do appreciate your point of view. I also appreciate the research and facts that went into your last comment.”

    Thanks. I’ve been a barefooter for a long time and think I’ve pretty much heard every argument there is against going barefoot – almost all of them are based on ignorance.

  124. Ken

    I’ve read most of these postings, but not all.

    I’ll make a few points here, but perhaps you’ve seen them already. I just don’t have time to read every post.

    All my life I have gone barefoot in my home, and outside in certain places.

    All my life I have worn shoes while walking city streets and going into businesses.

    The business owner has the right to post a sign telling customers to wear shoes.

    Here is one consideration: Is that wise? Will the business bottom line suffer? The owner can find out. If one of the major factors in business success is attitude to customers (or potential customers), and requiring shoes is evidence of bad attitude, then those businesses which ban the shoeless will suffer in the long run. They will either lose business, or go out of business, right? I think (if it’s true that banning the shoeless really does negatively impact the bottom line) that these guys (I’ve seen them described here as intolerant, and Latte Liberals, etc.) will just go out of business. Problem solved.

    It’s nonsense to say that these businesses are banning a certain TYPE of person. Is “hatless” a type of person? Not really. Barefoot? No. Do I become a different “type of person” when I take off my shoes? I don’t think so.

    I’ve always put on shoes before entering a business as a sign of respect for the other people in the business, be they owners, workers, customers, or whomever.

    It would be repugnant for these businesses to ban a person because of race, or age (in most cases) or height, or girth. But people can’t change those personal characteristics about themselves.

    Shod vs. unshod is not a personal trait; it’s a temporary situation.

    Do me a favor: don’t fulminate on and on about how a barefoot-ban is not justified because it doesn’t correspond to a Health Department rule, or it’s not based on any law or religious custom (so WHAT?), etc.

    Folks, a business is not a public place like the sidewalk is.

    When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

    If you don’t like the rules of a particular business, don’t patronize that business.

  125. Kriss

    “The business owner has the right to post a sign telling customers to wear shoes.
    Here is one consideration: Is that wise? Will the business bottom line suffer? The owner can find out.”

    I think what you’re saying is that private businesses have a right to make bad decisions even if those decisions result in a loss or failure of business. I can agree with you on that. And obviously lots of bad decisions are made everyday by small businesses, because according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, one third of all new businesses fail within the first two years, and 56% will close their doors within the first four years. Most of those failures are due to the broad category of “bad management,” which of course would include how customers are treated. There’s no way to prove that any one factor, such as an arbitrary dress code against bare feet, would account for a loss of business or failure, as it’s usually a combination of factors. However doesn’t it stand to reason that a business that treats all customers equally and fairly regardless of their attire will in the long run fare much better than one that discriminates against people based merely on what they are wearing or not wearing when they walk through the door? I don’t believe most small businesses, especially in downtown Asheville, can afford to pick and choose customers – especially paying customers whose only “flaw” is a lack of footwear.

    “I’ve always put on shoes before entering a business as a sign of respect for the other people in the business, be they owners, workers, customers, or whomever.”

    Put on shoes as a sign of respect??? What do shoes have to do with the concept of respect? Shoes historically have always been a sign of disrespect. Throughout history, in all the religions of the world, including Christianity, it is bare feet that have been considered to show the greatest of respect. Shoes are commonly removed in holy places. How could this be if there were something “rude” or “disrespectful” about bare feet? Feet are a normal, natural part of the human body, nothing to be ashamed of or hidden away from view. Come on. We’re not talking about genitals here.

    “It would be repugnant for these businesses to ban a person because of race, or age (in most cases) or height, or girth. But people can’t change those personal characteristics about themselves.”

    Would it also be repugnant to ban a person because of religion? That’s a personal *choice* that anyone can change anytime they want. Assuming there were no laws already on the books banning discrimination due to religion, following your reasoning you’d have nothing to complain about if a store told you you weren’t allowed in because of your particular religion – so you could either just change your religion or find a store that accepts your particular religion.

    I believe that the policy of any enlightened society, if not the actual law, should be that, “anyone who is different in *any* way that doesn’t cause others harm should be treated equally.” What would be wrong with that?

  126. John

    I don’t understand what the big deal is about an individuals decision to walk barefoot. Bare feet don’t pick up germs like hands do, and are not confined to shoes that can be warm and moist which fosters the growth of fungus and bacteria. Barefeet are also not being deformed like they could be by wearing shoes. Walking barefoot is also much more comfortable. I live in California which is very diverse. I see daily gangstas walking around with thier pants half way down their ass, exposing thier underwear. Sikhs, who never cut their hair wear colorfull turbans on thier heads. Hindu women wear long gowns draped around their bodies, and some muslim women wear burkas. Many people here wear flip flops or sandles year round. So, what is the hang up on someones choice to walk barefoot? There isn’t a law or health code anywhere in the country that restricts it. Earlier posts also state that insurance companies don’t require businesses which they insure to ban barefooting in their establishments. Unless someones state of dress affects you or causes some kind of harm, don’t worry about it and go on with your own business.

  127. Ryan Skaalen

    While it is true that a business’ management is within its rights to require footwear, it is my right as a customer to decide whether to patronize the business.

    So if management finds my going barefoot so objectionable, I simply take my bare feet and my green currency elsewhere. Preferably to their arch-nemesis of a competitor.

  128. quotequeen

    There is no salvation in becoming adapted to a world which is crazy.
    Henry Miller (1891 – 1980), “The Colossus of Maroussi” (1941)

  129. Kriss

    Nancy asked: “Is it reverse discrimination when you go to a Japanese restaurant and are asked to remove your shoes?”

    As I’m sure you know, the term “reverse discrimination” came about as a response to such things as “affirmative action” or any type of exclusion of a member of a majority class not commonly discriminated against, to compensate for historical discrimination against a member of minority class of people. The term is actually a misnomer, because any exclusionary treatment of one person or group over another, based on some real or perceived difference is in fact simply discrimination.

    Discrimination in and of itself is not necessarily always bad. People make choices every day based on the recognition of differences between one thing over another, or socially, differences between one person over another. For example, choosing a mate involves a lot of discrimination based on differences between people.

    But discrimination becomes a bad thing when it involves people being excluded from a public facility – that is, any business that is open to the public – based only on prejudice, ignorance or misinformation.

    To get back to your question, a Japanese restaurant that requires patrons to remove their shoes is in fact discriminating, but I see that type of discrimination rather innocuous, because it’s certainly not based on prejudice, ignorance or misinformation. It’s simply a way to maintain a certain ambiance based on traditional Japanese culture. No Japanese restaurant is ever going to say that the shoes must be removed because of “health department rules.” No Japanese restaurant is ever going to say shoes must be removed because shoes are dangerous and unsafe. No Japanese restaurant is ever going to say that shoes must be removed because food is being served and therefore the shoes will somehow contaminate the food. And no Japanese restaurant is ever going to say that shoes must be removed because some people just don’t like to look to see shoes in a restaurant.

    A high-end restaurant requiring a coat and tie is also discriminating, but the reason behind that is not based on prejudice, ignorance or misinformation, either.

  130. Kriss,

    What I asked was in jest, meant to lighten up, but since we are discussing the issue, are you pro shoe or pro bare feet?

    What are your thoughts on the subject of forcing females to use the same bathrooms as males? or vice-versa?

  131. Kriss

    “What I asked was in jest, meant to lighten up…”

    I actually thought it was a very interesting question, and I had to think about it a while before answering.

    “…but since we are discussing the issue, are you pro shoe or pro bare feet?”

    Is this another question asked in jest? ;) I mean, have you read all the comments above? If you do, I think the answer will be obvious. :)

    “What are your thoughts on the subject of forcing females to use the same bathrooms as males? or vice-versa?”

    Why would anyone want to force someone of one gender to use the bathrooms of another gender? And I assume you’re talking about public restrooms. If this is some kind of problem or issue that has come up somewhere, I haven’t heard about it. Maybe you could give me more information.

  132. Eric

    The U.S. is suppose to be a FREE country. If a person wants to go barefoot, there should be no reason why they should not be able to, there are no laws or health codes against it! As far as I am concerned, if people try and tell you what you can or cannot wear, that is against the constitution! We do not live in a communist society, even though some wish that we did. Going barefoot is a freedom of expression! In my opinion if you are not for that, then you are not for the constitution, and you are not an american true to America for which it stands!

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