Foot Pain and the Rubber Mat
To answer this question I suggest you stand on one sometime. You'll find a huge difference in your feet, knees, and back almost immediately. Many retail employees have realized that their hard surfaced floors are punishing. To make matters worse, the sales associates have to wear high heeled shoes that are equally punishing!
The rubber mat is there to absorb the shock of standing on a hard surface and moderate the effect of the "ground reactive force" coming back up into the foot. The problem is some high-end stores find it low-class and unsightly to have these mats visible, much to the detriment of their employees.
A few years ago, a nearby upscale department store here in Houston replaced their wood floors with marble. They looked exquisite! Wood has some flexible properties that helps to absorb some shock. The problem was that marble is hard and unforgivable. Associates had to wear dress shoes and were being crippled. Of course, who would cover up marble with a rubber mat?
There was a steady stream of employees coming through my office. I put some in orthotics in order to stabilize the feet and ultimately it made them better able to manage the pressures. I did appeal to the management of the store and convinced them to provide rubber mats in select areas where they were not so obvious to the public, much to the relief of their sales associates.