For various reasons, businesses look at those who shop without shoes on as doing something wrong. Whether it is personal preference, “health codes” (which do not exist), “insurance reasons” (once again, insurance is not raised or lowered based on shoes).
Usually, the case is that people are evicted from storefronts due to a lack of knowledge. Most people simply assume there are laws rather than check out regulations.
Education is usually the key to being allowed entry. Every confrontation should be looked at as a teachable moment.
Here are some tips to handling a professional letter or email to a business:
- When writing an email, it is more likely to generate a response with an email with your name or a company name. Example Landry@msccommunications.com is more professional looking than email@example.com. Even if all you have is an email from Yahoo, Gmail, or any other free accounts, try to keep your name looking as realistic as possible.
- Give as many details about the incident as you can. Try to obtain the name of the person evicting you. If any profanities took place, please mention.
- Advise the store or corporate center that you frequent this place, as well as competitors often. If you buy groceries at XYZ Grocery, and spend $400/week on groceries, please let them know. If your purchase covers at least one employees’ weekly paycheck, someone might want to know.
- Let the store know you are appreciative of shopping there. If someone wants to include things they enjoy about the store, please so share! At the same time, let the company know that you are not willing to comply with the “no bare feet” policy. Do not say “If it is company policy let me know and I will comply.” THIS gives them the ability to advise you it is. If the company is going to get your money either way, THEY win the argument.
- Make a copy of the state Health Dept Letter and send in with your complaint. Almost all American citizens believe there are laws. Show the company you are aware of the laws, and are in fact complying with your local Health department. If someone wanted to get a personal copy, it is very easy to obtain a personal letter. Include the phone number for the Health Department and advise the company to call and verify.
- Let the business be aware you will NOT be giving the company your money until a resolution is solved. Advise that you will give time for a response before just going on Yelp or other websites and blasting them.
- Make a copy of your receipt if you purchased items from another store. This shows the company that you as a customer DID in fact intend to purchase items, and was able to go someplace else and not get hassled. Maybe because of this, a regular customer found another store.
In an era of recessions and many store closures, allowing barefoot customers and gaining barefoot shopping loyalty can mean the difference between sweating out a few tough months to throwing in the towel and filing Bankruptcy.
Remember also while shopping: The Business needs customers more than a customer needs a place to spend money at. WE have the ability to make change happen. If a store receives enough complaints from the barefoot community through letters and emails, they could be forced to change policies. Through our tips of professionalism, sharing knowledge, and being vigilant, we can make that change to obtain our freedoms.