TikTok's 10-Foot Rule Basically Has 10 Different Definitions

Kelly Corbett - Author

Mar. 1 2022, Published 6:29 p.m. ET

10 foot rule
Source: TikTok / @walmart_585/ @fairyraver

Did you come to this article looking for an explanation of what the 10-foot rule is after watching a TikTok that referenced it? You're not alone. Grab a seat and a notepad because we've got a lot to cover.

After hours of intense research (read: watching TikToks, but intensely), I can tell you what most people think the 10-foot rule is. I can also share some alternative definitions.

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But to sum up this rule in just a few words is impossible. Why? Because most people seem to have their own definition.

In other words, the 10-foot rule is an enigma. It can be interpreted in various different ways. However, you might often be able to figure out what the 10-foot rule is by assessing the context or environment it was used in. Keep scrolling to learn all about the 10-foot rule(s) on TikTok.

Source: Getty Images
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What does the 10-foot rule mean in retail?

The most common use of the 10-foot rule is in retail, specifically at Walmart stores. The rule is this: If a customer is within 10 feet of a worker, the worker must greet and ask the customer if they need help.

Some TikTokers have broken the rule down even further, claiming that at 10 feet, the worker is only required to acknowledge the customer, though at five feet, they must go over to them.

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The main idea is that when a customer comes within 10 feet of a retail worker, that employee cannot just walk away or ignore them. They must make the customer feel seen.

As @fairyraver notes, the 10-foot rule can also be an effective way to combat shoplifting, as shoplifters want nothing less than a perky store employee asking them if they need help.

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Does everyone like the 10-foot rule?

Negative. As @dantilla explained in her TikTok below, there need to be some edits made to the rule. She gave an example of how she was on the phone and engrossed in another conversation when a retail employee approached her and began talking to her. While it's nice to be offered help while shopping, she found the gesture to be rude.

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Meanwhile, @artilonark shared that he would rather not be bothered by employees while shopping at Walmart. If he has a question, he'd prefer to look it up on the Walmart app himself before going up to a salesperson.

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What else does the 10-foot rule refer to?

@clifford_5.7 shared another version of the 10-foot rule that I'm sure we can all get a laugh from. If your car has a slight blemish, back 10 feet away from your vehicle and then examine it again. This works best for individuals who do not have perfect vision!

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The 10-foot rule can also apply to golfing. As @behergolf teased, a golfer should not be able to move leaves within 10 feet of the green as it may enhance their performance.

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Meanwhile, @contrarywarrior believes the 10-foot rule is all about being resourceful, trusting the universe, and opening up your mind. He gives an example of working on a project where you may need to tighten a bolt, but don't have the right wrench. "There's something within 10 feet that you can look around and find that will get the job done," he said, emphasizing how the rule is all about learning to survive with what you have.

So, there you have it: the 10-foot rule(s)! If you have a different definition, feel free to share it on TikTok.

While I'd love to suggest some hashtags for you to use in your caption, it seems that the creator community can also not decide on a single hashtag for the rule. From #10footrule to #tenfootrule, this rule is just all over the place. Best of luck in creating your own definition!

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