Letter to senior corporate executives

(Formal letterhead, yadda yadda)        
Wegmans Food Markets
1500 Brooks Ave
Rochester  NY  14603
att:  Colleen Wegman and colleagues


Dear Colleen and other concerned leadership:

I wish to follow up at a high administrative level on a consumer affairs issue
that I originally opened on 10-July-2017.  As far as I can tell it has been
hanging open and unresolved since that time.  They assure me that you have
ready access to these cases; this one is # 10240, which will understandably
take a bit of reading to catch up on.  As you do, please keep in mind that
you cannot simply ignore this problem forever.

The issue is footwear mandates in your retail locations, which are outdated,
based on nothing but fifty-year-old prejudice, and are rapidly vanishing among
your competition in the industry because they know better by now.  As one of
quite a number of similarly-enlightened people around the somewhat more
progressive Boston area, we would like to see Wegmans fall in line with
this growing trend as well as with its own statements of community service,
diversity, and respect for the well-being of all others.

I sent a supplemental email to clarify some points a little later, and no reply
or even acknowledgement that it was received came back.  I am told that it has
been added to the case, however.  As an aside, it is best to try to send a
simple "message received" sort of thing these days even if an issue will take
more time to be resolved, because we never know whose spam-filters are going
to snag something.

In the meantime I had a very pleasant conversation with Jason, the real manager
at the Burlington MA location, as opposed to "Will" leading the goon-squad
that descended upon me the day of the incident in question.  Jason seems to
completely understand my concerns and has explored some of the related aspects
of healthy living and barefoot activities himself, and I believe he would
also like to see this problem solved permanently.  Nobody likes or needs
confrontations, especially when they're confidently doing nothing objectively

I know what's in the law and in the FDA Food Code and in any state health
regulations, apparently better than some of your own people in the industry.
None of the typical excuses offered about health, safety, liability, insurance,
social standing, etc are relevant -- we've all heard them, but they are all
long-standing myths.  Yes, safety included -- I look around a typical grocery
store in high summer where over half the patrons are in flip-flops, and reflect
on how they're actually compromising their own safety and surefootedness for
the sake of a misguided "rule".  I go hiking and climb mountains and do
construction work shoeless; grocery-store aisles are some of the most benign
environments we encounter despite the common "smashed pickle jar" boogeyman.
People in tune with their surroundings easily avoid or even help clean up
such things.  You also may or may not be aware that there are people who
*cannot* wear shoes for valid medical reasons; your associates would stand
in violation of the ADA by harassing them.

This sort of thing wouldn't likely EVER happen in a "European open-air food
market".  This nonsense essentially only exists in the US, and it saddens me
to think that both Robert and Danny lived through the time when it started to
happen, and did not take immediate steps to keep such brainwashed ignorance
out of their company.  There is still plenty of bright future ahead, however,
in which to make up for that -- indeed, as Walmart, Target, Trader Joe's,
Kroger, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, and quite a few other high-profile
retailers already have.  I'm not suggesting that 97 brown "bf OK" signs
need to go up in front entrances because that's unnecessary extra work, but
the key thing is employee education in the area of how they welcome *all*
customers and do not deliberately turn away good-faith business.

Think of it in a similar context as when you decided to stop selling tobacco
products.  The evidence is overwhelming.

I would be happy to engage in more dialogue about this.  I have pointed to
numerous online references which anyone can spend days chasing and informing
themselves -- this is not a couple of isolated weirdos anymore, it's an
increasingly notable trend, even if it's still not that common yet.  Remember,
beneficial change has a long tail on the front end sometimes, and you can do
your part to bring it off the baseline a little more and make supportive
non-discrimination across the board part of your continuous improvement.

At this time email or phone may be the best options, as I'm traveling this
month and my physical mail is being held.  It is not an urgent situation,
but I want to make sure that it continues moving forward and that you have
all the latest information at hand.

Thank you!

/s/, etc