"I'm sorry sir but you can't come
in here with your children like that."
"What do you mean?"
"You can't come into the store unless your children have
"Well that's why I'm here, to buy them some shoes."
"But we can't allow them in without shoes on sir."
"Well I can't put them on until I've bought them though
"I understand that sir but it's company policy I'm afraid."
"It's company policy that children wear shoes in your store?"
"Not just children sir, everyone."
"I see. And that's because?"
"It's to prevent injuries sir."
"Oh is it dangerous in store?"
"Oh no sir, it's quite safe but just in case."
"In case of what?"
"Well there could be some broken glass on the floor or something
"I see. How about I carry one and put the other in a trolley?"
"Well, shoes would be better sir."
"Yes, well I'd like to go and buy some."
"OK then sir, but please don't put them down in the store
until they have shoes on."
After six months in
New Zealand and a month in Samoa, the boys have become rather
accustomed to running around barefoot. It seems quite a
healthy habit really; their feet are in good condition,
they don't smell half as much as they did when constrained
by shoes and socks, we've saved a fortune in shoes and don't
have the weekly hassle of matching odd socks. But while
free feet were quite acceptable in New Zealand and quite
the norm in Samoa, this habit seems to cause a lot of concern
"Are those your children running
"Yes they are. They're just coming back from the toilet."
"Could I ask you to put their shoes on please."
"You can ask but unfortunately they don't have their shoes
"Well could you carry them back to your table then sir."
"Is there a problem with no shoes in this restaurant?"
"Well, we don't want their feet getting trodden on or cut."
"Oh does that happen often?"
"No sir, most people wear shoes."
"So, I'd appreciate it if you could carry them back to your
table. Thank you sir."
The kids have shown little interest
in wearing shoes, except when tramping through snow in the
high mountains or when confronted with scorching ground
in the desert. And I'm not keen on the idea of wasting money
on shoes and socks that we'll end up carrying between malls
and restaurants. But if we want to eat and shop then it
looks like I may have to force the issue with the boys or
I'll end up with more than shoes to carry.
Perhaps we could start a campaign
for free feet, a barefoot protest across America, to establish
the right to shop and dine without shoes in the land of
the free. We're planning to visit Washington DC so perhaps
we can take our protest to the White House. Mind you they
probably won't let us in without shoes.