There was a recent photo on Facebook showing the sign on the door of a nightclub, specifically disclaiming responsibility for bare feet or flip-flops.
I am of two minds about it.
Here’s the sign.
[Photo credit: Mye Kah B.]
While the photo was labeled as coming from Bar Sinister, a Hollywood Nightclub, what is really the case is that the sign is at The B52 Club at Boardner’s (and hence the name on the sign). “Bar Sinister” is their Saturday night incarnation (which is Gothic Night).
You can see why they might have that sign: they have a mosh pit, and I can see feet with all sorts of coverings (or none!) getting stepped on.
Back to the sign . . .
On the bright side: they don’t simply ban bare feet (or flip-flops). They give a warning.
On the other hand, they are perpetuating the myth that somehow bare feet are especially vulnerable. They don’t warn about sandals, or even shoes with cloth uppers.
They also may be opening themselves up to a liability lawsuit. By singling out just flip-flops or bare feet when it comes to liability, they are more or less accepting a duty for all other types of footwear that might also be subject to injury. (While not a foregone conclusion, such a lawsuit would be very interesting.)
The law is already pretty clear that we (not a business) are responsible for our own safety. If we go to a place with a mosh pit, we have to expect the consequences, regardless of whether a sign is at the entrance disclaiming responsibility. It is also the case that, regardless of the sign, if Boardner’s was well aware of a specific hazard to bare feet (let’s say shards of glass all over the place) and did nothing to warn about the specific hazard or clean it up, there’s a good chance they’d be held liable despite the sign. (Or, at least, they could still be sued and have to spend the money defending themselves.
In an ideal world, businesses would recognize that singling out particular footwear (or lack thereof) opens them up to all sorts of other lawsuits, and doesn’t serve any useful purpose. Instead, such a sign would note that they have a mosh pit, and participants in the mosh pit are accepting the liability for typical mosh pit activities (which is the case, law-wise, anyways).
But in the meantime, I guess I can live with this.