Thursday, December 9, 2010

My reply to the mall

Dear Mr. -------

       First of all, let me thank you for your prompt and information rich reply. You mention that the mall has its policies to promote a safe, secure, family environment. With all due respect, how is making an accommodation for a frequent customer who has a medical condition impacting the safety, security, or family atmosphere of the mall? I am not harming others, I am not doing anything illegal, and I am not doing anything obscene that would affect the family atmosphere the mall so wonderfully maintains.

     You mention the first issue being barefoot presents, understandably the mall is concerned for reasons of liability, I have already said I am more than willing to release the mall from any sort of liability while I am shopping. If this were the only issue I see no reason that it could not be resolved by a simple mutually beneficial agreement.

    The second point you brought up was health reasons. You mention not wanting to have to police the foot hygiene of your customers, understandable that would be uncomfortable, for both parties. The thing is sir that do you police the bottoms of peoples shoes? They walk on the same streets as I do, track in the same things I do. The difference is that most people don't frequently clean the bottoms of their shoes. Most people don't watch where they walk when they wear shoes. As you can imagine, literally never wearing shoes, I always watch where I walk, I don't step on things that most of your customers would step on without so much as a second thought. The only one who would have to worry about the hygiene of the floor is me. I am the one stepping all over the carpets with the feet I clean every few hours right beside people who haven't washed their shoes since they have bought them.

   It does make prefect sense for everyone to have their feet wrapped up insulated from the world getting their shoes dirty instead. Believe me sir, if that were an option for me I would. It's not fun being stared at, made fun of, and constantly discriminated against because of a health requirement. In my life of eighteen years, sixteen of them were spent with nonstop crippling back pain. One summer I took my shoes off as I did every summer, and I just kept them off. The back pain I had suffered under for over a decade had disappeared. I tried everything to get rid of it, orthodics, massage, acupressure, acupuncture, this is the only thing that has worked for me. Any kind of shoe I try on, within about twenty minutes my back starts to get sore and only gets worse. It still will hurt a few hours after I take them off. 

   Sir, please try to understand that wearing shoes is simply not an option for me, I have demonstrated my complete willingness to release the mall of any liability. I love the mall. When I am not at college I am at the mall seeing all the world has to offer. I really love having the mall as a part of my life. If however I am still barred from the mall because I am some sort of eyesore or threat to the family environment, I will just have to shop somewhere else. I want to shop at the mall but if it means I have to do it in pain sir it really isn't worth it to me.

   The thing that really dissapoints me the most Mr. ------ is that I said I would do whatever it took to satisfy the liability concerns. The second part of the mall's concerns honestly just seem like good old all American discrimination. Would you not allow in a man who had shoes but never washed his long dyed hair and wore shirts with violent messages and severely disrupted that classic "family friendly" image? I see a lot of people in the mall who don't fit the bill of the image that comes to mind when I think family friendly. This e-mail isn't about them however, they have every right to be in the mall as I feel I do. 

   This is not about disrespecting the mall or its rules. This is about me presenting my concerns and expressing my desire to go back to the mall I enjoy so much. Every time I went to the mall I didn't wear shoes, I got a lot of very positive remarks from many store workers curious about my lack of shoes. The reason I visited the mall barefoot all the time without presenting this issue before is because I saw no posted signs stating a no shoes policy. I do not mean to say they aren't there, just that when I looked I saw no signs. There are no health codes against being barefoot so I went on with my shopping experience. 

   Most places at first tell me to leave but when I tell them why I don't have shoes they understand and I am allowed back. I really hoped the mall would be the same. Mr. ------ I sincerely apologize for this being so long. There were just a lot of points I had to address. I really feel that I have to reiterate that I mean NO disrespect towards you sir, or the mall. I am looking for a mutually agreeable solution as much as I hope you are.

Thank you for your time,

Hayward H. Gatch IV

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