Whoa! Can A Nail Salon Charge A Customer More For Being Overweight?

One spot allegedly offers pedicures for $25—or $45, if you're overweight. 

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Warning: This might make you cringe. A salon in Tennessee is under fire for allegedly posting this sign in its window, as captured by Facebook user and Memphis local Deshania Ferguson: 

While the salon typically charges $25.50 for a pedicure, any client deemed "overweight" will be charged $45. Say it with us, now: whaaat? After the infuriating photo went viral, a Memphis news channel decided to investigate. 

 

The WREG reporter chatted with salon staffer Son Nguyen on air. First, it should be noted that the offensive sign had been taken down, and that Son denied that it had ever been up at his salon in the first place. (He said that despite more photographic evidence that suggests otherwise, but we digress.) Son does, however, admit to having considered instituting such a rule. 

Why? Son told the reporter that it's more difficult for technicians to service a client who is severely overweight. He also admitted that he worries about heavier clients hurting or breaking his pedicure chairs—which has happened to him in the past. Son says that he's had to pay up to $2,500 in damages stemming from such incidents. 

Is it even ethical to charge more for "overweight" salon customers? We have reached out to salon pros for comment, so stay tuned for updates! We'd love to hear how other industry pros feel about this sensitive (somewhat bizarre!) topic. 

UPDATE: We caught up with Dusty Simington, master stylist and owner of Salon Gregories in Newport Beach, California. In his opinion: "This is terrible—and it's absolutely not ethical. Everyone, regardless of size, should be treated with respect," he told The Lookbook. 

Dusty also says it's one of his great joys as a stylist to lend a little confidence who a client who may be in need of it. "If a woman already doesn't already feel great in her own skin, it takes a lot of courage to walk into a salon in the first place," he says. "It's an amazing opportunity to have a woman like that sit down in your chair, and to give her confidence. You can actually watch the transformation take place." 

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