Wednesday, May 25, 2011


My brother and I entered Walmart today on a trip to get some fishing line. Sensing we might have some trouble I brought in my health code letter. We got by the greeter who happily greeted us then looked at us a little confused but didn't comment.

We got over to the fishing section with no issues. We were then confronted by some raspy voiced man who said we need shoes, we spent five or so minutes in a fairly civil debate over it. He didn't seem like he was about to kick us out but he was very reluctant about us not having shoes.

Eventually a guy came over and stuck up for us. He said you really should have a sign on the door if you want these people coming in with shoes on. The employee said that he had had incidents like this before many times and the customer shrewdly pointed out then if this has been an issue why have signs not been put up? He was countering this employee at every turn with arguments sticking up for us. I was really touched to see someone I didn't even know sticking up for me.

An apparently higher up lady passed by and the employee asked for her opinion on that. She quickly responded with the obvious we cant do it. I countered saying there is no sign on the door. She ofcourse brought up the old Department of Health Law. I said thats actually not true and pulled out the letter. She asked me if I just carry that around to prove it to people. I told her that I need to be prepared for any discrimination I might face.

She brought up the liability thing. I said if corporate thought it was an issue they would have a policy and have a sign.

Now here is going to be a little break in my post. I recorded this entire conversation so I will have a more detailed account of this as soon as I can.

She called over a manager who reaffirmed what she said. My brother and I both stated our cases. She said she transferred over from another Walmart and she worked at a beach store and it wouldn't be a problem if I was over there. I asked her whats the difference. She kept saying it was a State of Rhode Island law which is not true. Eventually we wore her down to the point where she said finish your shopping then I will ask you to leave. She also said she would make sure there are signs put up.

We weren't about to cause any more trouble than we already had.

We were wandering out way out and eventually got to the cashiers line.

Sadly I had just turned off my recorder when a very large man came up to us and greeted us and told us in fairly harsh language saying how we would be lead out of the store if we ever came in here again barefoot. He said he saw the law and that Walmart isn't a public building and he can ask us to leave. I told him that we will be taking our future business to a place that doesn't discriminate against any of their customers. He said it was my right as an American to do that and if he ever saw us in here barefoot he would immediately lead us out.

Frankly, his language tempts me to more action. If I were to be "asked to leave" or "lead out" what is stopping me from just ignoring them and going back to my shopping? If they touch me I can sue them right? Also if they call the Police hopefully I could persuade them to the fact I am in violation of no law, and there is no policy on the door and therefore they have no right to remove me without committing discrimination.

What do you think my friends?

Also to  anyone who is in possession of a letter or documentation of Walmart's policies please forward them to me I would very much appreciate it.

Barefooting is easy
Barefooting is good for you
Barefooting is NOT illegal
Join the revolution

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  1. Ooo, this has been an eye-opening post! Usually, I see small businesses with signs saying "no shoes, no shirt, no service" but I am simply shocked that Wal-Mart would not have a sign yet still impose those laws. It sounds like you brought a real issue to that store, and for their own good. Great post!

  2. This is a interesting post, hope you can test out walmart.

  3. I heard each Wal-Mart is different. That the 'owner' of one Wal-Mart can have 'rules' that are different from another Wal-Mart, but they have to be posted... like the no shoes.
    My husband and I were at a Wal-Mart and one lady stopped us and told us that she shouldn't let us go any further without shoes on, but to go on ahead because she's sure we'd get stopped and asked to leave... (We didn't). But I had my husband look up stuff on the internet and that's what he found... don't know if it's true or not. If you find anything out please post it for us. Thanks.

  4. From what I heard, a private business can ask you to leave for almost ANY reason. If you refuse, it then crosses the line into trespassing. And then they can call the police and have you arrested, even if the police officer thinks they are being stupid for considering what you did as a reason to ask you to leave. He is just complying with what the business owner asked him to do at that point.

  5. Get out of New England - it appears to be the part of the US that has by far the most discrimination against bare feet than any other part of the country. And the midwest is pretty close. Move to NY, NJ, any coastal state up to FL, or west coast. Deep south is good as well. Not that you will never face discrimination in those parts, your odds are just much better that you will simply be ignored.

  6. Sorry to hear(read) about your unpleasant Walmart experience, barefoot brother. Of all the stores I have been to that does not have a posted NSNSNS sign, Walmart has so far been the absolute worst about preventing myself and my barefooter girlfriend from entering. Of the 4 Walmarts in my college town, we've been "asked to leave" in 2 of them. It's always been on the night shift, so I've wanted to go back during the day when they seem to care less, but the GF detests conflict so we avoid the stores altogether. It's really starting to limit our shopping choices, and unfortunately being in college doesn't allow for much leeway when it comes to the prices of what we buy. If you ever do get any kind of documentation regarding Walmarts policies, please post it so that it can be shared and help out all the BFers who need it.

  7. The slaves who work for Walmart do so for low wages, no benefits, and no union representation, so I suppose they feel better about themselves if they can go on the occasional power trip, even if the only reason for it is blind support of their masters. Walmart is the ultimate example of everything that is wrong with our once-great country. They exploit workers. They peddle cheap Chinese imports. They put small, local stores out of business. They control politicians and government. The last things they are interested in are freedom or equality. The best thing anyone could ever do is to never give one penny to them.

  8. I would go back and ask for the store Manager. NOT a shift manager, there are many, not even the assistant manage, The Store Manager. They usually have a picture of who it is posted up by customer service.
    Usually if you get a shift manager they will not budge no matter what. The store manager is the only one that might have a chance of listening.

  9. Walmart Culture:

    "At the core of every one of our rules and customs is the basic value of respect – for the customer ..."

    Walmart Global Ethics Office:

    Under Guiding Principles: "Respect and encourage diversity, and never discriminate against anyone.

    Walmart Diversity:

  10. That would not happen in Europe. I'm from Germany and live barefoot every summer since 25 years. If I only went 100 times to a store during summer I entered 2500 times a store barefoot up till now. No hassles. Normally no comments.

    The understanding of human rights is different in Europe. A citizen has rights not only against governmental authorities but also against private owners. A store is considered to be a public place, and the store owner fulfils a public task. So he has not the idea to impose anybody a dress code.

  11. Again about human rights: I have the right to buy the things I need. Imagine all food store owners throw me out for being barefoot. Then I will die from hunger if I stay barefoot. That's why shop owners (at least those selling basic goods) must accept me regardless of my way of dressing.

  12. whats up looking for horny toe socks

  13. I was accosted today at a Walmart in Naples. They were happy to let me buy $531 worth of groceries, sans shoes, but refused to wait on me at the service counter when I tried to return $3.74 worth of merchandise. I pointed out that Walmart had removed its No Shirt - No Shoes policy from the entryways several years ago. The Co-Manager claimed the Store Manager had the discretion to make up her own store rules. Essentially, a lowly Store Manager in Naples, Florida had the ability to reverse a decision from the highest ranks in Walmart. I will be making several communications with Walmart HQ, tomorrow. I can't stand it when people exceed their authority. They pissed off the wrong barefoot German.