On Friday I wrote about Business Owners and Barefoot Insurance, which followed up on an even earlier entry about Business Owners and “Trust”. The general point of those entries was that business owners have an unreasonable fear of barefooted customers. They have no idea what the relative risks are of being sued, and, when pressed, end up assuming that “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” signs were started because businesses were being sued right and left for being barefoot. Of course, that was not the case.
So, what should they be afraid of?
Did you know that there is an organization called the National Floor Safety Institute? Neither did I.
They did a study (back in around 2005, as best as I can determine) of injuries in supermarkets and groceries. The number one cause of injuries is the slip and fall. Overall, the stores pay out approximately $450 million per year in settlements and legal expenses. (And, by the way, restaurants pay out even more.)
Most of those slip and fall injuries occur near the entrance of the stores, where people trip on the edges of mats (a high-heel, or any heel, is really good for that!) or slip on water that has been tracked in.
Supermarkets also have pretty shiny, clean floors, that can mask puddles of water. That’s actually an area in which bare feet can really save a supermarket. One time I was in my local Krogers and stepped in a puddle of water (it was pretty large, and it looked like it was from a leaking refrigerator). Because I was barefoot, I immediately felt the puddle. Not only did I not slip, but I reported the puddle to store management so that it could be cleaned up so no shod customers would slip and hurt themselves.
Here is a graphic from the NSFI site breaking down the causes of those slip-and-falls:
That’s what store owners ought to be concerned about, not barefooted customers. And if they are concerned about “footwear”, then why don’t they ban the kinds of footwear that really cost them? I’m sure they could get
those numbers from the NFSI.
But of course, they are not interested in that. They are instead interested in propping up their rationalizations for being afraid of bare feet.
By the way, according to the Executive Director of NSFI, “The most likely victims are women over 60, and they typically suffer serious injuries.” Yet, we somehow never see
No Shirt, No Women over 60, No Service