Sunday, August 30, 2015

Globalisation: Does the Future belong to Shoes On or Shoes Off?

We live in a globalised world, a world in which billions of Africans wear flip flops mass produced in China and where children in Malaysia support British football teams like Manchester United and Arsenal. How will this trend towards an increasingly localised planet affect the practice or non-practice of removing shoes in homes?

In the West, I think the trend will be towards removing shoes. Increased travel has made us more familiar with cultures where shoes are removed and many will adopt this. Immigration of peoples from countries where removing shoes is customary will also have this effect, especially as people of European ethnicity intermarry with Asians. I have noted before on this blog, the enthusiasm of young people for Japanese culture and I think that will have some small effect. In addition, the high cost of housing in countries like the UK means that people will want to look after their homes.

Yet there is a factor that works towards people keeping shoes on. This is the import of western movies and television in which shoes are worn at home, realistically or not. In the minds of many, keeping shoes on is associated with living a western lifestyle and a sign of affluence. Plenty of people in Africa the Middle East and Asia may hold the USA in contempt, but they still want to live what they perceive as an American lifestyle. I understand in many East European countries, removing shoes is seen as a bit old fashioned and keeping shoes on is associated with living a modern western lifestyle.

Yet I think the shoes off still has the advantage. Cultures will be selective in what they take from the West, as Japan has always been. In some Asian countries films are produced in which characters wear shoes indoors, despite the fact that nobody in those countries would do that in real life. The viewers are presumably able to distinguish this from real behaviour. But the ultimate advantage that shoes off has is that it is practical. No matter how popular western culture may be, the streets will still be just as dirty.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Samaa TV: Bank fined for forcing client to remove his shoes

Samaa TV: Bank fined for forcing client to remove his shoes

RIO DE JANEIRO: A Brazilian bank didn’t have a leg to stand on when it forced a client to remove his shoes and do business in his socks, a judge ruled.

Many banks in crime-ridden Brazil have tight security with metal detectors and, on entering the Caixa Economica Federal (CEF) branch in Sao Paulo state, Lourivaldo de Santana was asked to empty his pockets.

But after the watch, phone and other small items, one of the guards “asked him also to remove his boots and then said that if he wanted to enter he’d have to go in socks,” the Sao Paulo federal court spokesman said Tuesday.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Shoes off at my door

A little glimpse of my life: the entrance to my apartment with my 'Please take off your shoes' doormat.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Crime Survey Appointment

Thinking about whether to ask on arrival or inform in advance of a shoes-off rule....

I got selected, apparently at random, to take part in the National Crime Survey. The interviewer called at my door last week to arrange an appointment to do the interview. I had to make the decision as to whether to tell her I would expect shoes off or not. I decided not to bother telling her in advance. I assumed that if she was visiting lots of houses, she would probably be expecting to have to remove her shoes at some of them.

The lady came today. She was a very nice, elegant posh lady. I asked her to take her shoes off as we entered my apartment and she seemed fine about it. She came in barefoot, having removed her soft black loafers.