If you go barefoot a lot, you are probably well-familiar with the dreaded store confrontation. When one occurs, it is rarely something that makes you feel better afterwards.
But I’d like to talk about the flip side.
The flip side are all those places that do let you in barefoot. And once you’ve been going barefoot for a while, you learn what those places are. They get your business, and you appreciate that. What happens is that they gain your loyalty as a customer. (And the other stores lose all the money your would otherwise be sending their way—all because they prefer to wallow in their ignorance and spit on one of the first rules of customer relations.)
But I have also noticed that the stores I go to a lot have tended to adopt me. I’m their “barefoot customer.” You see, if you are barefoot you can’t help but be noticed. That distinguishes you from all of their other customers, and you get remembered. At my local grocery store, they all seem to know me. Yes, it may just be that they are just generally good with customers, but from what I can see it goes beyond that. I’ve seen how they react with other customers, and their interactions with me go beyond that to the point that I am treated as a “regular.” This has happened in a lot of the store I use and the places I go to.
I’m sure that being a “regular” happened a lot sooner because of my going barefoot.
I notice that in a lot of the stores or places I frequent. It even takes place quite quickly on hiking outings. I’ve mentioned before that I go on organized hikes at Hocking Hills or at the Columbus MetroParks. There, all the rangers pretty much know me, and an awful lot of the regular hikers do too. Again, there are others who are recognized as “regulars”, but being the only barefoot one advances you to that exalted status much more quickly.
So, it is good to keep in mind that store interactions aren’t always challenging but can sometimes work to your advantage.