I was walking outside on a hot summer day, when I suddenly got hungry and walked to a restaurant to eat. I tried to go in, but I was rebuffed at the door. The server pointed to a sign outside that says "no shirt, no shoes, no service." I got my shoes and went back to the restaurant to enjoy my lunch. 5/8 of the way into my meal, 2 people came in. Both of them got a seat with no problem, but I noticed that one of them had no shoes on. I politely informed a passing waitress, but she just looked in that direction and then laughed at me. I thought that meant it was fine to take my shoes off, but the same waitress came back and asked me to put them back on. I asked why the other customer got special treatment, and that degenerated into an argument, culminating in me getting kicked out of the restaurant.

Why was the other customer allowed to eat with no shoes on?


5/8 seems like an unusually specific number, doesn't it?

Hint 2:

Why did I go outside without any shoes on?

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    $\begingroup$ What's the rule on giving hints in this stack? $\endgroup$ – jinkevin Aug 1 '19 at 19:19
  • $\begingroup$ Let us continue this discussion in chat. $\endgroup$ – jinkevin Aug 1 '19 at 19:32
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    $\begingroup$ I think this is an interesting question. But as the many answers point out, this may be a bit too broad. There are too many possible exceptions or rule variants the staff could have made up, and many different ways to interpret your hint. If you can edit the main body of the question to narrow the answer down sufficiently (not just as an additional hint), I'll be happy to vote to reopen. $\endgroup$ – greenturtle3141 Aug 2 '19 at 19:02
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    $\begingroup$ @jinkevin If the answer is not here, add another hint. $\endgroup$ – rtaft Aug 5 '19 at 16:23
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    $\begingroup$ Please do add another hint. I'd gladly vote to reopen this as I have an answer of my own (though I don't know how the hints factor into it). $\endgroup$ – F1Krazy Aug 9 '19 at 20:53

11 Answers 11


The description of "5/8 of the way into [your] meal" could imply that you are:

Eating octopus in a high-end seafood restaurant. 'High end' since they have a strict dress code...

This particular establishment:

Is so high-end that it prides itself on only serving the freshest food - and what better way to ensure the food is ultra-fresh than by the restaurant being actually at the quayside in a port town?

This means that among the clientele would be:

Sailors and other seafaring men and women from the boats which dock nearby.

The shoe-less customer could therefore be:

A sailor with two wooden legs!

(Similarities with SteveV's answer perhaps but hopefully you can also see the differences and the justification...)

  • $\begingroup$ I think you might be on to something here! $\endgroup$ – Chris Cudmore Aug 1 '19 at 23:19
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    $\begingroup$ Wouldn"t pointing out that a sailor with lost legs had no shoes constitutes really obnoxious behavior? Would any reasonable person do that? $\endgroup$ – DEEM Aug 1 '19 at 23:43
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    $\begingroup$ @DEEM You'd think/hope so, right?! But jerks do exist! Then again it's also possible (more seriously) for people with (e.g.) certain forms of autism to struggle with social interactions and know how to react in a stuation like this where it is perceived there is one rule for one person and another rule for another... I've witnessed heated arguments kick off on buses for this reason! $\endgroup$ – Stiv Aug 2 '19 at 6:01
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    $\begingroup$ @rtaft I think you mostly only see such signs in restaurants near beaches, where shoeless, shirtless customers are far more likely to be seen. $\endgroup$ – Darrel Hoffman Aug 2 '19 at 14:29
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    $\begingroup$ @DarrelHoffman I had to do some digging as I'm no where near a beach, you are correct. There was also a movement across the nation posting these signs in the 70s, mainly to keep some of the hippies out by enforcing shoes and shirts, some even posted 'no long hair' on men. My first job had that sign, and the owner believed it to be the law as he made me tell a guy to go put a shirt on, but no such law ever existed. $\endgroup$ – rtaft Aug 2 '19 at 16:48

It's additive

No shirt no shoes no service.
No shirt, shoes, half-service (1/2 a meal).
Shirt, no shoes, half service.
Shirt, shoes, full service.


Taking shoes off is forbidden once you've had more than half of your meal.

  • $\begingroup$ wow, thats impressive, indeed something mixed with the octopus answer and this should be final answer $\endgroup$ – Igor sharm Aug 2 '19 at 10:15
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    $\begingroup$ It seems implied that you had a shirt on initially, and so wouldn't have been rebuffed for only lacking shoes by this logic $\endgroup$ – StephenTG Aug 2 '19 at 12:06
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    $\begingroup$ Considering the title of the question (if no typo) I'd go with your answer. $\endgroup$ – Dschoni Aug 2 '19 at 12:26
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    $\begingroup$ But then why was the customer rejected in the first place when they had no shoes on? $\endgroup$ – Evorlor Aug 2 '19 at 13:02
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    $\begingroup$ @Evorlor The question never indicates that they were wearing a shirt when they first tried to enter the restaurant. So, it's possible they had neither shoes nor shirt. It says that they went and got shoes; they could have also gotten a shirt at that time and just omitted that information. $\endgroup$ – IAntoniazzi Aug 2 '19 at 20:08

I think it is because

one of the people had no legs, perhaps in a wheelchair.

If so

you should have known better!


perhaps one was a baby

That would explain the waitress's laugh, but still not the hint.

  • $\begingroup$ I was thinking along those lines, but the hint makes me wonder. $\endgroup$ – Chris Cudmore Aug 1 '19 at 19:44
  • $\begingroup$ I have been refused entry to a restaurant IRL when I was what you describe in your last spoiler. So that might not be a legitimate reason to be shoeless. $\endgroup$ – GentlePurpleRain Aug 1 '19 at 22:08
  • $\begingroup$ @GentlePurpleRain You were???? WOW...what kind of a waiter is that cruel??? $\endgroup$ – jinkevin Aug 8 '19 at 12:36
  • $\begingroup$ Your answer is definitely the closest. You just need to figure out how the hint factors into it. Unfortunately, I'm struggling to give another hint that doesn't outright give the answer away. $\endgroup$ – jinkevin Aug 9 '19 at 18:49

The hot summer could be a thing anywhere but I want to assume you were

in South or South-East Asia

Now I don’t know what exact type of restaurant it was or what your food was. However, I want to guess that the shoeless person

was also wearing no shirt but rather a Kasaya or a robe because they are a Buddhist monk or Bhikku.

Of course, when you pointed that out to the (local) waitress

she would try to friendly laugh off the potentially insulting comment, which you misinterpreted because you were on holiday.

Obviously, you cannot take your shoes off in this context but when you did and got into an argument

the waiting staff informed you that Buddhist monks are well-respected people who have a traditional reason to be with or without shoes at any time. You are of course not one and attempting to put yourself on their level is rude and impersonating. And because you obviously don’t (want to) understand this, the troublesome customer is ultimately kicked out.

The significance of the hint:

A key idea of Buddhism is the Noble Eightfold Path which is often symbolised by a wheel with eight spokes; this is represented by the 8. The fifth point of the eight is given on Wikipedia as ‘Right Livelihood: beg to feed, only possessing what is essential to sustain life’ which connects to the fact that you are in a restaurant, hence the five. Only one of the two people is a monk so I think it is possible for the other one to donating food in that way but that may be a stretch of my imagination.

I guess I’m completely wrong but it’s a little bit lateral and I like the way I incorporated the hint.


The reason is that:

It’s a pizza restaurant and the other customers were getting a takeaway. The rules only apply to customers who are staying in the restaurant to eat their meal.


5/8 is oddly specific - unless you’re eating slices of pizza. Then it makes sense to quantify how much you’ve eaten this way.

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    $\begingroup$ But it says "no service", but they are still giving a service if it is take-out. $\endgroup$ – Duck Aug 2 '19 at 3:50
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    $\begingroup$ And the question says Why was the other customer allowed to eat with no shoes on? $\endgroup$ – Weather Vane Aug 2 '19 at 6:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Duck, fair point - maybe the sign only applies to staying customers? $\endgroup$ – anything Aug 2 '19 at 9:05
  • $\begingroup$ @Weather Vane, it doesn't say the other customer ate at the restaurant though - just that they had no trouble getting a seat. $\endgroup$ – anything Aug 2 '19 at 9:05

Each party needed shirt and shoes, not each individual. You did not have shoes on, which is why you were refused service. In the party of 2, one of them fulfilled the shoes requirement, hence they were allowed to receive service.


Perhaps this is a specific

Eight course meal with entertainment


The sixth course is often served with a light sorbet (or similar) to cleanse the palette and where there is entertainment offered. The two people who came in were the entertainment. The entertainment was a ventriloquist with a dummy. "They" came in and sat down as the entertainment. The dummy wasn't wearing shoes and talking about that "dummy not wearing shoes" could be misconstrued and cause an argument.

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    $\begingroup$ I was thinking that for the first part, this has got to be the correct answer. Though it doesn't fit the part where it says the shoeless customer is eating. $\endgroup$ – rtaft Aug 2 '19 at 16:54
  • $\begingroup$ @rtaft I see nothing in the story that says that either of the two people coming in were served or ate, only that they got a seat. $\endgroup$ – Keeta - reinstate Monica Aug 5 '19 at 12:20
  • $\begingroup$ the very last part, the question Why was the other customer allowed to eat with no shoes on? $\endgroup$ – rtaft Aug 5 '19 at 16:22
  • $\begingroup$ @rtaft And a viable answer in a lateral thinking question is to address an issue with the frame of the question. Since it is in the question, you are viewing it from the person's point of view, not the narrator. From the person's point of view, they were being allowed to eat, but that "eating" may or may not have actually happened. Further that eating could be broadened to be not actually chewing (like breastfeeding for instance) or not even swallowing (such as what a puppet might do). Based on the persons point of view, you can question whether the other person was even a customer, as I did. $\endgroup$ – Keeta - reinstate Monica Aug 5 '19 at 18:05

There is a sign outside which reads "no shirt, no shoes, no service."


Thats only valid for [people of group A]. Maybe for [people of group B] there is another sign beneath which reads "no shirt, no shoes, service."
A hint to this maybe the title of the question.
So the shoeless person also has no shirt and is a [people of group B] and qualifies for service per the second sign.

Well, and 5/8

maybe the percentage of people who care about my last edit.


An incorrect solution:

One of the people got inside with the shoes, then passed the shoes to the other person for them to also enter with shoes.

It's wrong because then the waitress would have kicked them out for not having shoes on.

A plausible solution:

Since they're a group, only one person needs to have shoes. (nowhere does it say that each person needs to have shoes, only that you need shoes)

It's probably not the correct solution because the number 5/8 doesn't play a role


At this restaurant,

if you have no shirt and no shoes, you will get no service. In other words, you need a shirt and/or shoes to get service.

Because it was a hot summer day,

you were wearing no shirt and no shoes. When you got your shoes, you qualified.
The other customer had a shirt on, so it didn't matter whether they had shoes on.

And I suppose

the ⅝ thing is a red herring?


One of them had

sandals on, technically not shoes


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