Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It is not selfish to ask visitors to remove their shoes


Some people claim it is selfish to ask visitors to remove their shoes. They think that it shows excessive concern for one's carpet or flooring.

On the contrary it is not selfish at all.

Firstly, there is an health issue involved. Peoples' shoes pick up dust and animal excrement which is not good for one's health and especially bad for the health of one's children. If one has babies or small children that play on the floor it is extremely sensible to keep one's home shoe-free.

There are many worries today about the health risks posed by pollution, toxins and chemicals. Personally, I think many of these health scares are exagerrated. Many of the supposed health risks have not been scientifically verified. However, it is best to keep as much nasty stuff out of the house as possible.

Secondly, the notion of selfishness here is relative. In a country where shoe-removing is the norm, like Finland or Russia, it would hardly be selfish to insist on shoes-off.

In Britain or the USA, where keeping shoes on is the norm, there are many people who would like to insitute a shoes-off policy, but who are afraid of causing offence or being deemed 'selfish.' If a person is brave enough to insist on shoes-off, she makes it easier for those other people who feel that they would like to make their homes shoe-free. In time, the norms of the UK and the USA may change and shoe-removing may become as normal as it is in Thailand or Sweden.


Shelley Hartman said...

I too am a strong believer that shoes are left at the door. I am not embarrassed to ask my guests to remove their shoes. If they are in my home for a bit of time, I offer slippers or socks. When visiting other's home, I leave my shoes at the door - even when told I don't have too. (Perhaps I want to instill my practice on others.) I even went to the expense of purchasing slippers (on sale) to wear to friend's homes. I have a hard time ruining my socks. Although they may have a "shoes off" policy, their home is dirty from dogs,food, or dust. It's OK If they think I'm obsessive - that's why I'm great at my business - Personal Organizer!
Thanks for spreading the word about "Shoes Off!"

richyrich said...

Where are you from? Are you in the UK?

richyrich said...

Sorry I've just seen from your profile that you're from the USA!

Celestial Fundy said...

Thankyou, Shelley and thankyou for visiting.

victoriap said...

Whilst its not inconsiderate to ask guests to remove their shoes, I do feel that its a little inconsiderate not to advise them in advance that shoes are allowed in the house.Its especially important at this time of year when it very cold, so they can bring their slippers. Its very uncomfortable having cold feet. I had a friend at uni, who had a very strict shoes off policy, and her house was cold. She didnt warn people in advance. I also felt sorry for her kids because whilst my friend and her husband always wore slippers they just had socks on[if they were lucky]So its a two way street, guests should be warned where possible.

Celestial Fundy said...

Victoria, it maybe that the ladies' children did not feel the cold as much as you, children sometimes don't react to cold like older people.

I agree that one should try to warn people in advance, but I don't think its wrong to ask an unexpected visitor to remove her shoes.

An unexpected visitor will probably not be expecting to stay long and must take her hostess as she finds her.

Toni said...

Build your houses so it's not cold for feet like we do in scandinavia!

I just cant imagine wearing my outdoor shoes indoors, that's just like wanting to have dogshit in your livingroom (that will eventually happen, your filthy shoes will bring'em)

Celestial Fundy said...

Toni, thanks for visiting.

It is polite to endure one's home is warm when entertaining.