We’ve all seen the “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” signs.
They’ve really never made a whole lot of sense.
It’s always shirts/shoes, shoes/shirts, irrevocably linked.
If you ask a place why they are banning bare feet, they’ll tell you “safety”, yet there is no safety issue associated with going shirtless.
You’ll also hear people, contrary-wise, saying that nobody wants to see your bare feet or your bare chest, and that that’s why you should put some shoes on. Yet, these same people seem to have no problem with sandals or flip-flops, which expose just as much of the foot (when standing or walking) as being barefoot.
I suspect that the long-term linkage tells us a lot about the origins of the signs. Of course, they showed up in the late 1960s/early 1970s. And what else showed up in the late 1960s/early 1970s?
Shirtless, shoeless hippies.
The signs were there to keep out counterculture hippies because some store owners were simply offended by the whole ideas. Then the signs stayed up after the hippie movement waned, and then still later people forgot why they were they, and started making up mythic explanations that they were there for safety (and not thinking hard enough about how shirts are unrelated to safety).
That’s a long introduction to show you a picture.
A fellow barefooter was recently on a Caribbean cruise. Now, on cruises you can generally go barefoot the whole time. About the only time shoes are required is during formal dinner, but if you do want to take advantage of that (you’re paying for it), you need footwear for that.
But not much else.
And on the Caribbean islands you can go barefoot, too.
Which brings us to the sign. This was a sign that our barefooter saw on St. Lucia.
It’s tempting to think that the sign is there because the business owner was responding to business needs. If a good portion of your customers are barefoot, it would be stupid to make up a silly rule to keep them away. But, even on the islands, if you look around, you’ll see that most people wear shoes most of the time (for some odd reason).
So, let’s credit the sign to an owner who thought things through, and didn’t see the need for a silly barefoot prohibition.
(The contrarian in me suggests that the store would not collapse if an occasional shirtless person were there, though. And in general, that kind of sign is really rather rude.)
But hey, let’s applaud even this minor effort and improvement.
[H/T and Photo Credit: Tom Madura]