Activists Upset Salon Reportedly Charges More for Pedicures for Overweight People

ashley.rae | March 22, 2017
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Activists are crying “weight prejudice” after learning a salon in Memphis, Tenn. reportedly charges more for pedicures for overweight people after overweight people allegedly broke the shop’s chairs.

Deshania Ferguson posted a photo of a sign reportedly inside of the Rose Nails salon on Facebook. The sign claims pedicures will cost $45 for overweight people “due to service fees for pedicurists.” The salon’s currently disputed Yelp page claims basic pedicures are usually $20, although the information could be outdated.

(Image source: Facebook)

Local news station WREG asked owner of Rose Nails, Son Nguyen, about the sign. Nguyen denied the sign was ever put up, but said he was considering it.

Nguyen added he’s now decided not to service “severely overweight” people entirely after they allegedly caused some of his chairs to break, which cost between $2,000 and $2,500 to repair.

Although Nguyen denied the sign that lists a different price for overweight people was in his shop, he said he charges men $5 more for pedicures since they receive them less often and presumably require more effort.

After the initial report by WREG, fat-positive sources across the internet were quick to decry what they viewed as “weight prejudice” and unfair discrimination.

In Teen Vogue, Allure writer Avery Matera wrote the policy will “truly infuriate you” (the reader), called the sign is “offensive,” and claimed “weight discrimination and fat-shaming are never OK”:

Not only is it horrible enough to discriminate against anyone for any reason, there’s something deeply depressing in the proof that people who feel as though it’s not an unforgivable offense still exist in this day and age. Weight discrimination and fat-shaming are never OK, and claiming that you're looking out for your business first clearly indicates that you're not looking out for your customer first. But if you don't have a customer, you don't have a business.

In Cosmopolitan, Elle, and Seventeen, Elizabeth Narins called the sign “solid proof of weight prejudice IRL.” Narins ascribed intent behind the WREG investigation, claiming it was because “it’s not OK for any business to penalize customers for their weight.” Narins also claimed the shop “feet-shames” men by charging more for pedicures.

Elle described the move as “definitely not ok” on Twitter before linking to a repost of Narins’ piece.

Despite the anger from fat-positive activists, the salon is far from the first business to charge overweight patrons more if their service could be an inconvenience. For instance, Southwest Airlines notably asks “customizers of size” to buy more tickets as to not encroach on someone else’s space. United has a similar policy, although named explicitly for “customers of size,” which outright requires passengers to purchase extra tickets if they’ll be infringing on someone else’s space.

If spilling over into another passenger’s space on a flight is a big enough inconvenience to other passengers that airlines will require them to buy extra seats, then breaking a salon’s chairs that they need to perform their services is more than a mere inconvenience for the salon owners, and a reason for them to charge overweight patrons more for pedicures.

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