Tonight, Christy and I had an interesting run-in at the local Larry H. Miller Megaplex at The District.
We had purchased tickets well in advance of the show, and cheerfully handed the usher our tickets with a sunny "Good evening!" to the usher. She returned our cheerful greeting with a smile, gave us instructions to our specific theater as usual, then glanced down at my feet and said a few words that really surprised me.
"You can't wear those here."
"What?" I replied, completely not understanding what she said.
"Those are not shoes," she replied calmly, "and next time you come, you will not be allowed to enter the theater if you're wearing them."
She was pointing, uh, pointedly at my Vibram Five Fingers KSO Trek shoes and Christy's beautiful black Vibram Five Fingers Jayas. I agree, they look a little weird to the uninitiated. I've been an ardent proponent of them since April of 2011 when I put them on, wore them for two days, and found that the excruciating hip pain I'd been suffering from for weeks subsided enormously. Since then, I've been a big fan of the barefoot/minimalist movement, but wear my goofy "toe shoes" if I have to wear shoes at all. Needless to say, I was surprised to learn they are not shoes.
"What do you mean?" I replied. "I wear these every day. They have a protective sole, they are made out of leather, they are clearly shoes."
"You cannot wear them here. They do not offer enough protection for your foot, and you could step on glass and cut yourselves. I'll let you in for your show tonight, but you'd better not come back wearing them or we can't let you in."
Christy chimed in. "What are you talking about? I see people wearing flip-flops, sandals, and open-toed shoes all the time; their feet are far less protected than mine."
"Who made this decision?" I contributed. "I would like a name, so that I can persuade them to change a ridiculous policy governing customer choice of footwear."
"When your movie lets out," she said, "come back here and I'll give you a name. Enjoy your show."
We continued to argue for a few minutes. However, the motherly usher courteously but firmly refused to engage in discussion further, insisting we were allowed to see our movie tonight, but that "management" had made the decision we could not see any further movies at the establishment wearing anything but -- apparently -- officially sanctioned footwear.
Well, unfortunately the movie (starting at 7:30 PM) was nearly three hours long and we did not remember to return to the usher to obtain the name of the manager who made this ridiculous decision. That said, however, on Monday morning I intend to begin making phone calls to track down the purveyor of this decision and have a chat with them.
And if the Larry H. Miller Megaplex at The District continues to discriminate against customers based on their choice in footwear, I will be forced to personally boycott their business. My health and pain-free lifestyle are too imporant to me to cater to narrow-minded, anti-minimalist prejudice.