Saturday, August 20, 2011

McDonald's Playland Sock Policy (Overland Park, Kansas)

I think I’ll call posts like the following (Mommy)Kerrie Behaving Badly. Something happened to me when I became a mom: I turned into a fierce Mama Bear. I used to be the meek only child who was bullied on the way home from school. Then I married an abusive guy (NOT my current husband!!!). Now it’s like I’m on a campaign to eradicate bunches of b.s. in the world where kids are concerned. Simply put: a lot of adults annoy me. So here’s my latest story in a long line of stories:

So I took 5 kids plus Jordan to McDonald’s Playland the end of June so I could try to load Microsoft Office 2010 onto my sweet new laptop. Since I didn’t have Internet access at home, I had to go to the good ole Mickey D’s. Jordan and I dropped some serious cash on food to keep the kids happy and off they went to play.

Soon a snotty little girl started telling Michael that he had to leave because he had no socks on. She was quoting her mom and pointing to the sign that said you had to wear socks to play in the PlayLand. I didn’t think much about it since half the kids in there had no socks on. If it’s not life-threatening (i.e., blood or fire), an issue often falls off my radar screen. Such is the life of a mom of many.

After a few more minutes a female employee came in to tell me the kids need to wear socks. I asked her specifically why, since it’s June and it’s hot and who really carries socks around for 5 little kids in the middle of summer anyway except for those anal, uptight, Type A moms we don’t want to know? She said it’s a Health Department issue and they could be shut down. I told her that’s not true. What is it about kid feet that is any grosser than kid hands? And have you taken a look at the nasty McD’s floor lately? Any socks worn there would have to be burned afterward.

I told her I wanted to see the Health Department decree she was talking about so she went to get … a manager. He was a treat and reminded me of Dwight from Atlanta Housewives. He said we could buy socks and I said I was not going to buy his socks when I just spend a small fortune on their food. Let’s just say I put up a fight because that’s what I do. I didn’t want to buy socks and I didn’t want to make the kids stop playing. I was stuck, and so I was mad and acted like a jerk mother and might have cussed at the guy a little and might have said some not nice things to the guy in front of my kids after he followed tiny Sam around and said in his face, "Would you like some socks, little boy?"

Look, I get that a policy is a policy. I’m just saying it’s stupid. I’m also saying that a lot of policies are stupid and should be challenged. No breastfeeding in certain restaurants, anyone?!

If I had any sort of attention span, I’d have to consider law school because I’ll throw down verbally with just about anyone these days.

SOOOO ... I was a little ashamed of myself and hadn't posted this yet, but Friday my friend called me to tell me that our McDonald's in Overland Park, KS (87th and Farley) pulled this on some moms again. An employee named Sarah got after all the moms in the Playland about the socks. Then she got a manager (haven't verified if it was the same manager treat I got). The moms did not leave (they were having a Foot-In), so the MANAGER CALLED THE POLICE. The police came and KICKED OUT THE MOMS AND KIDS!!!

So I ask of you, people, do your kids wear socks in McDonald's Playlands? Do you carry them just in case (I sure do, even in summer now)? Or do you wait for somebody to hop your case and then either leave or buy them for $1 at McD's? Orrrrr ... are you all compliant about wearing the socks and make sure to teach your kids to obey all policies? I am really dying to debate this one!


  1. Seriously?? This is your bitch? Get a clue chick. The policy is there for a reason and before you go off the deep end do some searching and it will appear in front of your very eyes!!
    And to think you were responsible for 5 kids that day. EPIC FAIL!

  2. Yup, this is my bitch, and hey, did you know that when you comment on my blog I can tell exactly where you are from? So get a freaking life! Don't you have better things to do than trash me? And if you can't stand me, why do you read my blog, loser? I have the answer = MCd's wants us to wear socks so we can CLEAN THEIR NASTY FLOORS! At least I know how pregnancy happens, you dumbass! Oh, and I can tell that you also came from my Facebook account!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. If you had a backbone, by the way, you would not comment as some fake person and would leave a way for me to contact you. Bring it on, and get your own dang blog.

  5. #1- I avoid McD's like the plague!
    #2-in the immortal words of my mother "never expect rational behavior from crazy people" (the McD's people not you
    #3- one time I was unfortunate enough to have to chase Eli down inside one of those god forsaken hampter tubes, because he refused to come down. It was the most disgustingly vile Petrie dish of snot and urine I've ever experienced. Do you honestly believe any employee has ever crawled inside with a spray bottle of florid and wiped anything down in there? Perhaps a call to a locall investigative science journalist to take some cultures from inside that germ trap is in order!
    #4- I'm much more vindictive than you. Id fill quart ziplocks with redi mix cement and dump one in the water receptacle of their toilet everytime I visited! Have a nice day.

    Ps- see rule #2 concerning previous poster


  6. You don't have the answer and your priggishness blinds your ability to see how wrong you are. Here is your clue
    Reading your blog is like watching a plane crash. Your screed only serves as testimony that homeschooling mommybots are creating real health hazards. As for my identity what you need to know is this. We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.

  7. Please stop using the big words. I'll have to locate my dictionary! So not wearing shoes is unhealthy? I disagree wholeheartedly. If reading my blog is like watching a plane crash, why do you do it? Thanks for the Homeschooling Mommybot! That's awesome and is definitely going in my book! I will expect you. Let me vacuum first and throw on some clean underwear.

  8. Hiiii, Kerrie! Coming here from facebook to call you a HOMESCHOOLING MOMMYBOT. Oh, man, that is classic!

    Anyway. You know who I am IRL. I disagree about the socks but not one of those *strongly disagree and throw a chair* sort of things. Meh, if your kids didn't have socks on I'd be annoyed because I'd have to explain to my kids 50 times why THEY have to wear the socks if YOUR kids don't. But really. These are not places you expect to be hygenically *perfect* by any means. You just figure everyone gets a bath when they get home.

    I dunno... seeing these comments from whoever reallllly makes me want to agree with everything you say, but... meh.

    SO many other important things to fight about. Like homeschooling rights and the right to parent how we want to parent... Just not a big issue to me. And the cops were called, seriously?? McDonalds can put antifoaming agents in the "food" but then say no socks is a crime??? Seriously??

    Ok, I thought I didn't have strong feelings about this... maybe I just have a lot of conflicting ones... :)

    God bless you, Kerrie... you put up with a lot.

  9. I teach my kids to wear socks because it's polite. McDonald's, Chick-fil-A, wherever we are, provide my kids a place to play and me some sanity on a rainy day, They ask me to put my kids in socks, so I do. I usually carry a pair for each kid in my diaper bag, so I guess that makes me a Type A mom you don't want to know :( Anyway, for me it's a respect thing.
    That being said, when we were on our way home from a VERY long car trip, the kids had been sitting for 4 hours, we were less than halfway home, and I wanted them to be able to play. I didn't happen to have socks that time, but as you observed, neither did half the kids there. I let my kids run, and of course I was the one mom singled out and reprimanded. Yep, it made me mad. The ONE time I didn't follow the rules happened to be the time my kids needed a playground the most. >:-(

  10. Jane, I love your story! And of course I want to know you. I have to admit that it jarred me, so the next time I went I had SEVEN freaking pair of socks ... one for me and one for each of the kids I took. We did not put them on, but we had them. Winter is different ... we usually have on socks anyway. Part of my gripe is that moms have enough crap to worry about ... and the people coming in and giving us a rash of crap are people who don't even have kids of their own and LIVE to mess with us. Another point I have is that things could have been handled in a nicer way, but what do I expect at a place like that? Of course I will put socks on my kids the next time I am asked ... b/c I want them to be able to stay and play. I will do it for the kids, and only for the kids :-)

  11. It may seem strange and absurd, but it is in fact a health concern. I was unaware of such a concern, until my son was 2 and after playing in the mall (without socks), he came down with HFM disease, aka hand foot mouth disease. The sores were everywhere, he couldn't eat for days. It was one of the hardest things I had ever watched him go through. Do you know what the first question my pediatrician asked me, "Has he been to a public play area without socks?" I always thought my mom was over the top by carrying socks around in her purse for my kids when we were out. CDC has all kinds of articles about diseases that are spread through bare feet; athlete's foot, fungal infections, HFM, the list goes on and on! It's pretty scary. As far as the cops being called, it seems unreasonable, but based on your reaction to some of the less than kind comments, one would have to presume that you responded to the McD's employee in the same fashion, hence the need for the cops. Simply put, if you don't like the rules don't go. It's private propery and they have a right to ask you to follow certain rules. In fact, as a food establishment they have an obligation to follow the health code, and it specifically states any establishment that serves food must require shoes and shirts. It's just that simple.

  12. Respectfully disagree with above poster. While it does seem a little gross, I don't necessarily think socks are any less gross than feet when they have been in shoes all day. However in regard to HFM disease, the socks don't make a shit of difference. If the play area is exposed to the bacterium, any kid who comes in contact with the play area is exposed to said bacterium, socks or no socks. Personally, I'm convinced the sock rule isn't about actual hygiene, but about the appearance of hygiene. Many people, especially those with OCD or mild forms of it, would shudder at the site of kids playing in the play area without socks on, and would choose not to frequent an establishment that doesn't have a rule.

    As an aside, public play yards such as these are a cesspool of all types of bacteria. Out of 1,000 playgrounds tested, 93% had at least one nasty bacteria, and 89% had e. coli, and human feces in them. So again, socks or not, they are pretty gross. Just means the kid should have a bath sometime in the following 72 hours of playing in one. :D

    1. I came to say exactly this, but less eloquently and without impressive statistics. Do people not understand how illness is spread? Or that the few things that might potentially maybe be spread by someone's skin touching something, then someone else's skin touching that same something can affect ANY skin and not just foot skin? I don't know what they're teaching these days, but I think I learned the basic facts of getting sick at some point in elementary school.

      Actually, I specifically remember my 5th grade teacher having a frank discussion with us about how disease is spread. There was a hepatitis outbreak in my town and we learned all about washing our hands before making or eating food and after playing. And that we get sick because stuff gets on our HANDS and we put our HANDS on our MOUTH, EYES, EARS, or NOSE.

    2. I believe if we all wore those expensive toe shoes and rubber gloves no illness would ever spread. Wait, but there would still be nose picking and eye rubbing with the gloves on, etc. and crap being spread off of shoes and not just skin, so ... hmmm. I wish feet would stop getting such a bad rap!

  13. When my oldest son was around 1 year old he contracted rotavirus from a McD. Play area. I'm pretty sure that had nothing to do with socks. Needless to say, we don't play at those cesspools.

  14. Thanks, Kerry and Roxi ... yep, I know McD's is totally gross. It's a miracle we've stayed pretty healthy even when we used to go there like once a month. Now it's more like 4 times per year to play inside one. We're not big hand-washers and don't use antibacterial stuff, so I know people will think that's disgusting, but it has actually worked for us just fine over like 11 years so far. We must have built up an immunity to the NASTY. Also we used to do a lot of babysitting at churches and again built up immunity. Yeah, these places are gross, but I don't usually have a problem with the personnel and other parents being so nasty!

  15. by the way, the comment removed above was just a duplicate of something i'd already said ... my own comment posted twice. i don't censor.

  16. Athlete's foot is a nasty thing. It is a fungus typically carries on the feet. However, touching the fungus can spread it anywhere that the hand touches. If, for example, my child had it on their bare feet; another child could infect heir face just by touching the fungus left behind by my child, then touching their face. Socks can prevent this; and that is only one disease prevented by simply wearing socks.

    That said, I think you're an amazing mom. This response isn't to bash you or your parenting by any means. I definitely agree that McDonald's should have handled it better; but, what do we expect from a third rate burger joint with a revolving door of employees? I just PERSONALLY disagree with the argument that going barefoot in a play area is harmless. Yes, they're disgusting places anyway; but socks can help cut down the diseases a little. Granted; just a little.

    Yes, I know this comment is late; but I just now found your blog. Love it! Keep up the good work =)

    1. I have never had anyone argue with me so well! It's exactly how I wish everyone would do it ... because I do respond to facts and I like a dialogue instead of a bashing. You are totally correct that things are spread. Don't make fun of me, but I must just be lucky or blessed or something b/c we don't wash our hands much and are super healthy ... we must have great immunity. So I have good thoughts about it and pray about it and we come out well. BUT I realize we could also come out badly sometime as well. I do always take socks now but I don't tell on people who are not wearing socks. Thank you for your kind words and your amazing way of arguing. You don't have to be Anonymous at all!

  17. I am responding to an idiotic comment left on this same post on I replied on that site, but I wanted to reply here as well, so that there was a better chance of this person seeing it.

    Mrs.Wiljc3: "I can't believe somebody would post something like this, all proud of the fact that they mouthed off to some minimum wage worker in front of their kids. I managed a McDonald's for several years, and they weren't lying to you. It is a health department violation to allow children in the play place without shoes. I know it sounds dumb, but let me explain to you why. As you probably know, you have to wear shoes in restaurants as per health department codes. However, fast food joints with play places were finding that their equipment was getting dirty and broken more easily from kids wearing their shoes in the equipment. But shoes have to be worn in restaurant establishments, so there was an issue. McDonald's corporate managers struck a compromise with most major health departments allowing children to be in the the establishment's play places without shoes, provided they were at least wearing socks. This has been standard since the late 80's, and since the discovery of how dirty those play lands can be, health departments have cracked down on the sock issue. McDonald's employees bust their asses for terrible money. To this day, I have never worked a harder job than McDonald's, and that is entirely due to the fact that customers are assholes who treat you as if you were subhuman when you wait on them. They don't make up these rules for kicks, they just follow the rules from corporate or their franchise owners so they don't lose their jobs. Next time, try not to be such a sanctimonious asshole when your kids are around to watch it."

    First of all, the definition of a sanctimonious asshole is someone who opens the their mouth wide and a bunch of shit falls out. That's you, Mrs.Wiljc3. Let me educate you on a few things because apparently, you aren't smart enough to figure them out on your own.

    First of all, there is no law, statute or health code that regulates the footwear (or lack thereof) that a patron of a restaurant chooses to wear. The regulation that people like you are so fond of quoting applies to employees only. I will add a link here directly to that information because I suspect from your lack of research before you commented the first time, that you don't know how to research things.

    Second, if you used your brain half as much as you used that big mouth of yours you would realize that not only are bare feet not unsanitary, they are infinitely more sanitary than wearing shoes. People step in dog shit, spit and other bodily fluids, bacteria-laden floors and hundreds of other problem surfaces and they almost NEVER WASH THEIR FREAKING SHOES. We wash our feet every day, and people who go barefoot a lot like myself, wash them multiple times per day. If McDonalds truly had customer's health in mind they would make people take off their shoes outside the door.

    Third, here is a fun fact for you: shoes cause every single foot problem you can think of. Athletes foot, toenail fungus, foot odor, corns, hammertoes and many more that I don't feel like thinking of at 8:00 in the damn morning.

    Finally, and this is important, calling out the author of this blog for having the courage to stand up for what she believes is right is inexcusable. When something isn't right, people need to stand up and say something and it's people like you who put them down when they do that keeps more people from having the courage to protest established rules that don't make sense.

    1. THANK YOU! I'm cool being called an asshole, though. It happens when you have a big mouth, a lot of ideas and go against the grain. It's all good. Thanks for commenting. I had not seen the post on BlogHer ... but I'd love for the commenter to know that I am not your usual McD's customer. I take them Christmas gifts and hug them and love on them. That was a rare off day I was having and I don't make it a habit to fight with employees in front of my kids but I do let my kids see me stand up when I think something is "off" or wrong. I learned that from my dad. I appreciate you writing, Gabriel, I really do! Come back sometime! I have lots of gripes!


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