Dear Annie: I have a different problem with people taking off their shoes. I work in a small office where we have outside visitors on a daily basis. One woman who works here likes to take off her shoes and walk around barefoot. No socks, no slippers, nothing. I think this is totally disgusting, as well as unprofessional.
The managers in the office see this, but must not mind because nothing is said. I have been trying to ignore it, but it’s such odd behavior that I’m simply baffled. Although I’m new to this particular office, I’ve worked in other offices for 15 years, and this is a first. Any advice on what to do? – Save Your Feet for the Beach
Dear Beach: Perhaps your co-worker finds shoes confining and uncomfortable, or she has problems with her feet. Nonetheless, it is inappropriate to walk around this way in an office where outside visitors stop by regularly.
If the managers don’t mind, there probably isn’t much you can do. But you can certainly say to the woman (with sincere concern), “You know, there are probably a lot of germs on that floor. I’m worried that you might pick up something awful, or step on a loose staple. You ought to protect your feet by wearing slippers.” It might not help, but it can’t hurt to try.
Dear Annie: In the course of one day, a spinal cord injury caused me to go from a very active young woman to a paraplegic. Because of my injury, I finally know the “rules” for that handicapped stall in public restrooms, and want others to know, as well.
I used to wonder if it was like the handicapped parking space that able-bodied people aren’t supposed to use for any reason. Before my injury, I didn’t think twice about using the handicapped stall if no one there needed it and the others were taken. In fact, I’d use it even when other stalls were available, simply because it was so spacious.
So let me tell you, yes, it is to be treated just like a handicapped parking space and should be reserved solely for those who need it, even if every other stall is occupied. Because my nervous system is damaged, I don’t have a lot of time between when I recognize the need to go and actually going. And since I now move very slowly, every second counts. My legs are extremely weak and I really need the grab bars in the handicapped stall. In emergencies, I’ve had to use regular stalls and have twice pulled the toilet paper holder off the wall though I weigh only 115 pounds. I am counting on that handicapped stall being empty when I get to the restroom.
Not everyone who needs that stall is as obvious as I am. Just because no ticket is issued when an able-bodied person uses the handicapped stall, please don’t do it. It’s a matter of consideration. – Learned the Hard Way
Dear Learned: We agree, but we would make an exception for those who are about to wet their pants, there are no other available stalls, there is no disabled person in sight, and they will be really quick about it.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.