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20-40-60 Etiquette: Shoeless in OKC
QUESTION: I am working with a new person and have to go to his home every so often. He always asks/requires that I remove my shoes at the front door, ostensibly to avoid dirtying his beige carpet. I feel uncomfortable with this request and think it is inappropriate for him to require unsuspecting guests to go barefoot in his home. What do you think?
CALLIE'S ANSWER: I completely understand this! It is polite to offer to take your shoes off when you are working on a house. All the dirt that comes in the house can be overwhelming. However, this request to make everyone take off their shoes to walk in the house is a bit extreme. It is a carpet, and a carpet gets dirty. You can't stop a carpet from getting dirty. But to each his own!
LILLIE-BETH'S ANSWER: Sometimes people who work in and around houses track in dirt and grime due to the work they do. The request made of you is unusual, but I can empathize with the desire to protect a new or newly cleaned light-colored carpet since it is so difficult to keep clean. Although it's impossible to ban all dirt from lived-in homes, people will keep trying. I also understand your reluctance to take off your shoes. Since you keep returning for work in the home and the shoe request still stands, you know what to expect. The choice then becomes yours for how you deal with it — stop going to the house altogether, remove your shoes and walk in, or show off your feet with a new pedicure.
HELEN'S ANSWER: It is one thing to ask people who have been walking in the mud to remove shoes at the front door before entering the house. It is rude to ask an unsuspecting person to take off his shoes without offering paper slippers or something else to wear.
You should have been notified of the house requirement before arriving so you could have brought socks or some change of shoes or you could have decided not to visit.