What About Stores?
For a trip to a grocery or clothing (or anything) store, there is no reason to put shoes on the kids. In fact, it's good opportunity for them to spend some pleasant barefoot time. Some of us have noticed that kids are usually better behaved when they are barefoot (perhaps it relaxes them). They certainly won't be stamping around or kicking things!
Some stores (but not many) will occasionally give trouble for showing up barefoot. A lot of people (including, unfortunately, some store personnel) are under the impression that it's against health codes to go barefoot into stores in the United States. This turns out to be a complete myth. At the following website are letters obtained from the Health Departments of about 40 American states confirming the non-existence of any such regulations.
Often you will see (sometimes you have to look pretty hard) a sign that says something like:
No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service
This, of course, is not referencing any law, ordinance or statue. It can just be taken as a statement of store policy (actually the wording is fairly ambiguous.) In our experience, these signs are not often enforced. When they are, it is usually by a rather mean-spirited employee on what can only be described as a "power-trip". If this happens, the thing to do, is to remain calm and to remember that you are the customer. Please don't let them get away with telling you that "It's a health code issue" (It's not!!).
No-one likes a confrontation (we must re-iterate that this happens quite rarely) and
you may want to simply go to the car and put some sandals on the kids (of course, you may
also be barefoot yourself.)
On the other hand, many of us will, while granting that the store has the right to set such policies (they could insist on pink hats if they wanted to), will reply that we find the policy to be silly and that we will be most likely be taking our business elsewhere in the future.
You can say "Well ... you can keep your policy and I'll be keeping my money"
After all, wouldn't you say something similar if they really were insisting that everyone wear a pink hat?
Things to remember:
But really ... don't worry about it too much. There are thousands of stores out there vying for our business and this type of hassle is quite rare. Outside of the United States it is non-existent.
But, What About ...