Etiquette Questions, Answered: Entertaining and Guests
How Do I Politely Tell Guests to Remove Their Shoes Before Stepping on Our New Carpet?
Q. My husband and I are replacing the carpet in our house—an undertaking that’s costing us a lot of money. I want to hang a sign in the entryway that asks people to remove their shoes to avoid soiling the carpet. My husband thinks that would be tacky and inappropriate. What do you think?
A. I’m with your husband on this one. The sign you have in mind doesn’t seem very welcoming.
Yes, you have the right to protect your new carpet from inconsiderate types who would tromp across it in wet or muddy shoes. The trick is to accomplish your goal gracefully, without admonishing anyone.
Lead by example. When friends, family, or guests arrive, the first thing they should see is a few pairs of your own shoes, lined up neatly on the stoop or the front porch. If you don’t have such a spot, get creative: A friend of mine who lives in an apartment has a shoe rack in the hallway right next to her front door.
When you answer the door to greet people, do it in slippers—and keep a small supply of extra, inexpensive pairs on hand to offer them. “Let me help you find your size,” you can say as you assist folks with their coats and footwear and usher them graciously onto your new, plush, and (still!) spotless carpet.
So maybe you can’t change your health overnight. But you can get a head start.