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Thank You Macy’s

January 29, 2016

Last summer, I had an unfortunate encounter with Macy’s Department Store in Glenbrook Mall, Fort Wayne. I was asked to leave the store for being barefoot.

I stewed over the matter for several months and finally wrote a letter to Customer Service, both at Macy’s headquarters and at their Glenbrook store last November.

Here is an excerpt from my letter to them:

“… When I was there in June, a staff member began yelling at me that I needed to have shoes on. She was 30 feet away from me when she began yelling; I was near the cosmetics counter, near the escalators. She yelled loud enough that it drew the attention of the clerks, other customers, and passers-through. When she got close to me I asked her quietly, “Are you yelling at me?” She continued to yell that I needed to get out of the store. I told her that I was on my way to the escalator to leave the store anyhow… There are no signs on the door of Macy’s indicating that shoes are required, even though there are many notices for many things on the doors.”

Last week, I got a very good letter back from Peter Deutsch of Macy’s Corporate Customer Service Department. He said that Macy’s has no corporate policy regarding footwear in their stores and that his research found that the local (Glenbrook) store has no such policy, either. He said I was welcome to shop there without shoes any time.

I felt that it was very important to share this “Thank You.” I have been asked to leave several businesses over the years because I was barefoot: Walmart in Wabash and Huntington, CVS in Wabash, Cracker Barrel in Marion, the Blue Bird Café in Laketon and Great Clips in Wabash. (At Cracker Barrel, I went to the car and got flip-flops, and returned – like flip-flops make a big difference from being barefoot. At Great Clips, I was already in the chair. I left and went to Fiesta, where they finished my haircut and said nothing about me being barefoot.)

Once I was confronted about being barefoot at Jefferson Pointe in Fort Wayne – an outdoor mall. I had flip-flops with me that I showed the security guard, who reluctantly let me “proceed.” I walked away thinking, “Where better to be barefoot than outdoors?”

It is always embarrassing to be asked to leave. Always. I have gotten much better about not going to stores that have a footwear requirement; I also do my best to respect the rules of those stores that have a footwear rule posted when I have to go in them. I wear flip-flops in those stores – again, because they are so much better than being barefoot.

Mr. Deutsch’s letter’s approach was mature, respectful, kind and thoughtful. I wasn’t addressed as a kook or fanatic; there was no condescension. He took the time to investigate and respond without finger-wagging or falsehood. As I said, it was a very good letter. I greatly appreciate it.

There have been some businesses that have never had an issue with my being barefoot: Nordmann’s Nook, One World Handicrafts, Cottage Creations, La Regional (Mexican store), Strauss-Peabody Aquatic and Fitness Center (except Fitness Center), the Post Office, Batteries Plus, the AT&T Store, Center Court Barber Shop, Andy’s Barber Shop, the North Manchester Public Library, and, of course, Church. Both Hire’s Gifts and the Studio are now closed, but they were also okay with my barefooting. In general, I have found North Manchester to be pretty-much barefoot friendly, which I really like.

Todd’s Corner in Roann has a ‘no shoes-no service’ sign. I asked Todd about that, because I had been going in there for years barefoot. He said, “It doesn’t apply to you.” So I go there when I need to, but I would more often if the sign were taken down.

(I should note that I always wear my sandals – not flip flops – when I am representing my employer in a public situation. This was by their request and I respect that.)

I have digressed. I close by emphasizing again how much I appreciate the thoughtful and well-written response I received from Macy’s. Thank you.

See my post from 2012, “How to Handle a Barefoot Customer” to see how other retailers and restaurants ought to treat barefoot buyers… https://barefootbrian.wordpress.com/2012/12/31/how-to-handle-a-barefoot-customer/

 

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