SBL mailing list excerpt

Date: Sat, 8 Jul 2017 16:05:07 -0500
From: *Hobbit*
Subject: grocery-store goons

Has anyone dealt with Wegmans, the grocery chain?  I just had a pretty
horrendous experience in their Burlington MA store, and am not only going
to land very hard on their consumer-affairs line come Monday, requesting
solid disciplinary action for the way they handled it, the Burlington health
department is also going to hear all about their idiotic misrepresentations
about "food safety".  They sent *three* manager types after me, ganged up
like I was some kind of terrorist, and were absolutely insistent that I had
to have shoes or leave -- and REFUSED to even take a card pointing to the
appropriate fact-filled website to learn why what they were telling me
was totally wrong.

Half the people in the store were running around in flip-flops.  Yeah, that
makes the food real safe, doesn't it.  Like any other modern grocery store,
their aisles are more pristine than most peoples' homes, and I had just
come off a hike in a local park which was *littered* in broken glass in
places which I totally had no problem scampering over.


Date: Sun, 9 Jul 2017 05:07:53 +0100
From: T.R.

I live in the UK, and have not experienced such ridiculous behaviour.
Did you establish whether the store actually has a written policy which
prohibits bare feet?  If they do, they may have a right to exercise a ban,
if the State law doesn't prohibit it?  On the other hand, if it is just
local prejudice, perhaps you should assist them in their search for
hygienic perfection; they should certainly issue all customers with gloves
upon entering, as all hands are coated in bacteria (quite nasty ones if
their owners have ailments) and goods are often taken from the shelves and
replaced.  If feet are perceived to be a problem, then shod feet are also a
risk - they should insist on all customers walking through a trough of
disinfectant, as with farms in a foot and mouth outbreak.  Face masks are a
must, and the hair should be covered - or a burqa could be supplied.  To
avoid risk completely, the store should be closed down - and management will
have succeeded in its campaign to protect food from all contamination, and
can lose their jobs happy in that knowledge.  Good luck with your campaign.

Incidentally, I have no problems with the library, either, but UK libraries
operate via the local councils (which set the rules, even if they outsource
the daily management), who do not consider barefoot visitors a problem;
chocolate-coated children are a greater concern.

Date: Sun, 9 Jul 2017 08:49:38 -0500
From: *Hobbit*

The Wegmans in question does have a "S&SR" sign at the front door as part
of some integrated self-adhering signage on the glass, as likely issued by
corporate, and similar to other chains' general policy statements out front.
Yes, it's ridiculous and if we ever got them to generally come to their
senses, they'd have to either apply some sort of overlay to re-phrase that
part or peel off and change the signs completely.  Doing that at their
90-some locations wouldn't be *that* hard; the hard part is convincing
their corporate structure that they're being discriminatory up front and
that they should fall in line with what's apparently a growing trend, albeit
painfully slowly, in grocery retail to not whine about bare feet.

In the ideal world what I'd see Wegmans and the others do is overlay the
"shirt & shoes required" with either no statement at all, or if they really
insist, something like "shirts requested" and next to that, foot-welcoming
graphics as shown at
That, btw, is a small but useful advocacy site I've set up in Amazon AWS for
convenience.  It got referenced in the SBL "blogs" section recently but is
getting a dishearteningly small amount of non-robot traffic so far.

I did talk to the corporate HQ at Trader Joe's a couple of weeks ago, getting
verbal confirmation that they don't have a footwear policy although generally
recommend footwear "for your safety" (*cough* *spit*).  This was after an
incident with an under-informed "crewmember" at my local.  Corporate said
they handled that sort of thing more frequently in California and seemed
sort of surprised to hear of it coming up in the Boston area.  I assured
them that we're a little more progressive on this coast too.