Home Health News Georgia Nail Salon Charges More For Overweight Customers

Georgia Nail Salon Charges More For Overweight Customers

by Erika Nicole Kendall

I could not pass this up. This is… I just could not pass this up.

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Michelle Fonville said her experience at Natural Nails on Covington Highway in DeKalb County turned from pleasant to painful in a matter of moments.

“I was humiliated. I almost cried. Tears were forming in my eyes,” said Fonville.

She said things went downhill on Monday after the salon manager gave her the bill for her manicure, pedicure and eyebrow arch.

Fonville realized that she had been overcharged by $5.

“I said, ‘I’ve been overcharged. She may have made an error,’” said Fonville. “She broke it down, then told me she charged me $5 more because I was overweight.”

Fonville said she couldn’t believe what was happening and recounted the experience with Channel 2 Action News reporter Eric Philips.

“I said, Ma’am, you can’t charge me $5 more. That’s discrimination because of my weight,” said Fonville.

Salon manager Kim Tran told Philips that the surcharge was due to costly repairs of broken chairs by overweight customers. She said the chairs have a weight capacity of 200 pounds and cost $2,500 to fix.

“Do you think that’s fair when we take $24 [for manicure and pedicure] and we have to pay $2,500? Is that fair? No,” Tran told Philips.

Tran said she refunded the $5 surcharge, and told Fonville to take her business elsewhere.

“I didn’t want to argue with her about $5. I wanted to make her pleased with her service,” Tran said. “I whispered … I said, ‘I’m sorry, next time I cannot take you.’”

“The word has to get out there that these people are discriminating against us because of our weight. I mean come on, we’re in America. You can’t do that,” said Fonville. [source]

Now, surely there’s a legal eagle out there that can clarify something for me.

In America, qualities like race and gender are protected classes. Being a “protected class” basically means one cannot discriminate against another based on those qualities. You’re “protected” against discrimination. Which leads to my next question…

Can one be protected because of weight? (I’ve heard the argument that it should be protected under disability, but…) Should they be? Anyone have thoughts they’d like to share? I have mine, but… I’m saving that for later.

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Rosalyn August 21, 2010 - 11:30 AM

What! Wow…so for starters, I def. fall into the over 200 lbs catagory. But I’m still thinking over your question. So I have to get back to that one.
I just think the situation is a shame, an unfortunate experience “protected class” discrimination or not.
But they should have this surcharge printed & posted in a visible area of the salon & their menu so that clients know before sitting in their “200lbs max cap seats”!

Shevanne E Brown August 21, 2010 - 11:35 AM

If an airline can charge overweight people more to bu the seat next to them. Then the nail salon can chare them….but i think they should have somethin posted then the would have no arguement.

Brandi August 21, 2010 - 11:41 AM

When Tran opened the salon, she should have known that there’d be times that she’d have to repair the chairs, regardless of WHO sits in them, they don’t last forever. She just decided that overweight customers were the easiest class of people to make pay for the repairs. That’s crap!

Tiera August 14, 2011 - 1:11 PM

I completely agree with you. The chairs ought to have had a bigger weight capacity. not to mention, I’ve been to quite a few nail salons and the ones I have been to have had very sturdy chairs. Its not easy to break a spa chair with the tub and all attached to it. She must be using some cheap chairs and they definitely shouldn’t cost $2500 to fix. I think that manager is full of it, honestly. Skinny people break chairs too.

Adri August 21, 2010 - 12:15 PM

This is definitely a sensitive issue. I’m not sure about becoming a protected class. No one decides their age, gender, sexual orientation, race, etc. But frankly you do decide whether consciously or not, to let yourself go or not manage your weight. It is within one’s power to change. Not everyone has the know-how or self-discipline to acheieve or maintain a healthy weight but to give the overweight protection under the law may open the flood gates for a slippery slope. Will it then surpass the business-customer relationship? Will modeling agencies become targets for lawsuits when they don’t hire an overweight women? Should you be able to park in the disabled parking now because you are fat? I agree that clearly stating ridiculously hurtful pricing policies in the salon would be responsible, allowing customers to decide to spend their money in more accomodating venues.

Sharnell June 16, 2011 - 9:33 AM

I think the misconception that everyone is overweight because they conscientiously or not needs to be the first step in learning and understanding others. I respect your post, and just wanted to point out that not everyone has the same BMI. Also, there are some that their normal range is within 200+ pounds. Self esteem or self worth is not always someones issue. I’m just saying…

dee harris June 11, 2013 - 8:15 PM

adri, i’ve rarely meant anyone who set out purposely to be overweight. i’ve meant many particularly young people, who are overweight due to lack of access to affordable and nutrious foods. saying that being overweight is a personal choice ignores the underlying issues that confront folks who are.
as an aside, if it costs 2500dollars to repair a chair this salon is going to have to collect a heck of a lot of 5’s “from overweight patrons” to fix just one chair.
i’m smelling a predjudice towards overweight folks. i say picket the business whether you’re overweight or not. SHUTMDWN!!!

Trina August 21, 2010 - 12:21 PM

200 is a very low weight capacity. A woman wouldn’t have to be overweight to be that weight. What about taller women who top out at 200lbs? And don’t some men get mani/pedi? They can weigh over 200lbs. I would just wonder if it’s a matter of who ‘looks’ overweight because that would seem discriminatory. That said, I have to agree with the earlier poster…if the airlines can charge extra and kick off someone who is overweight, I can only assume she can too.

Chad Goller-Sojourner May 30, 2011 - 11:23 AM

“if the airlines can charge extra and kick off someone who is overweight, I can only assume she can too.” This is totally different airlines are saying they are charging larger people who can not fit (with the arm rest down in one chair) thereby spilling into another seat and since airlines sell seats some of them are ok with this. What this crazy woman has done is to arbitrary a surcharge in an arbitrary for future and speculative damages. What is she an engineer as well? There is something called the cost of doing business. I would she get some better professional chairs most of which are built to hold over 300 pounds or take up shop on top of a big hill with no onsite parking either way shame isn’t the answer. I weep for this world.

Excerpted from Georgia Nail Salon Charges More For Overweight Customers | A Black Girl’s Guide To Weight Loss

Liz August 21, 2010 - 12:48 PM

That’s way messy. Instead of her charging a surcharge, she should have just added it in her cost instead of being outright stank. Her equipment will need maintenance anyway no matter who uses the stuff, so it just the cost of doing business.

People are def going to be offended. I don’t get my nails done, but I have been obese. With that said, if chairs have a 200lb capacity, then my furniture should have been destroyed. Try again, Tran.

MsKaos August 21, 2010 - 1:56 PM

This woman has a right to serve (or not) anyone she pleases but as customers–regardless of size, ppl don’t have to go to her salon. If I lived there everyone I knew and everyone they knew would know not to spend their hard-earned money there.

She should have just been straight and told the news–“I dont like fat people!” There are so many holes in her story about the weight capacity of the salon chairs. First, most tall men and women would exceed 200 lbs easily and not look it. Is she weighing ppl before they sit down? LOL. No, she’s looking at ppl and assuming that someone fits her ideal weight or not.

huny August 21, 2010 - 3:43 PM

the salon owner should’ve posted her little surcharge in plain sight. adding it on secretly without explaining what it was for or any warning it was forthcoming is ridiculous. horrible business practice.

adri said: “But frankly you do decide whether consciously or not, to let yourself go or not manage your weight.”

so it’s your stance that anybody who weighs over 200 pounds either let themselves go or doesn’t manage their weight?

Kenya August 21, 2010 - 5:25 PM

There is always someone that feels they need to target either a race or class of people. There is no way around it. And with the overweight epidemic that is plaguing us here in America everyone will be getting taxed. It is a shame how others thrive and exist on ones weakness and sins of life. I wonder does she charge extra for those who have nasty a** feet that look like a file hasn’t touch them in years? Or those who come in there with fungus under their nails? Sad to say that as long as people exist there will always be those that hate. That woman has a right to refuse service to whomever she chooses. But if she post up a sign stating that there will be a weight limit surcharge she is going to lose a whole lot of money.

Raneehs August 21, 2010 - 5:26 PM

Legally, the only way that this can be considered discrimination is on the basis of a disability. Irony, is that a great deal of people who are overweight aren’t remotely disabled, but this seems to be the only way to fight these cases.

As for the actual way this case in particular would be won, it would be on the grounds that Huny stated, simply because there was no prior notice before service, written or verbal by the manager or her employees. Ms. Fonville or any other visually overweight customer can’t be held accountable for the lack of communication by the business about their business practices.

Makes you wonder how many other people had to pay the surcharge because they appeared overweight. Not to mention, how many people actually never questioned the spot on their receipt marked “Fee” thinking it was a normal fee that all customers were expected to be charged.

CD March 1, 2013 - 2:30 PM

That’s not necessarily true. Some state anti-discrimination laws (Michigan and D.C. spring immediately to mind) protect people from being discriminated against on the basis of weight. If she was in one of those states, she would be able to bring a lawsuit. Michigan even protects height, believe it or not.

IrieDiva August 21, 2010 - 7:03 PM

uhm what? i dont even agree with those who said she should have posted it up. she should have factored that into her costs the chairs will need to be maintained regardless of who sits in them.

that was just plain rude.

Seanmom1 August 23, 2010 - 1:01 PM

I actually live in GA where this happened. I think the notion that this customer was charged this fee for appearing overweight is discriminatory. The owner stated that she was charging the fee because the overweight customers “might” have break the chairs. So if a person that is over 200 lbs gets up from their pedicure and their chair is intact they still are responsible for the fee? and how is this person guaging this weight limit? a person may appear smaller or bigger than they actually weigh. I would also think that the machines would suffer wear and tear anyway with customers repeatedly sitting in them.

@Audri I find this problematic, “But frankly you do decide whether consciously or not, to let yourself go or not manage your weight”.

I think that most people dont decide to gain an excessive amount of weight. It just happens. Mostly because in alot of homes nutrition and activity arent discussed or practiced. Or in my case, i was so busy being a single mom, student, full time employee in corporate america that i didnt take the time to make sure i was taking care of me. Now I’m taking the steps toward a healthier lifestlye. Which actually is taking more initiative initially than it would take for me to continue eating the same junk I’ve been eating.

Rooo August 27, 2010 - 1:39 PM

To the best of my knowledge, Michigan is the only state and San Fran and D.C. the only cities where “overweight” is a protected class.
I’m not sure of the exact poundage strictures and/or illness documentation required for someone to fit into that class, though.

I’m also not sure under which life circumstances — housing discrimination, employment discrimination — protection is afforded.

IDK that this incident would fall into the category of such life circumstances, as arguably the young lady that was a client was choosing to have elective services (as in, we have to have jobs and places to live, but we don’t *have* to get our nails did by someone other than ourselves — though I’m sure there’s more than one fashion plate who’d be willing to argue that point, lol).

Neicy September 4, 2010 - 10:10 PM

I’m sorry but if all the women over 200 lbs.( sistha’s) stop patronizing her shop she would be out of business in less then a month . Just something to think about ladies

RoRo September 14, 2010 - 10:55 PM

Another thing to consider…muscle weighs more than fat. So there are countless folks who have sat in those chairs who fall into the 200+ category. This is a shameless fee. This is also an opportunity for women to support one another. There is another shop a block down, I am sure.

BIG SIS October 13, 2010 - 10:08 AM

I think its outright discrimination based on sight. I agree that the $5 surcharge should have been already factored into the cost instead of the owner telling the sista that it’s a fat fee!!! I’m over 400 pounds and have frequented nail salons for many years at this weight and when I weighed less, and I’ve never broken a chair. It’s b.s. plain and simple!

Geri November 6, 2010 - 9:19 PM

Tran should have all “projected wear and tear” incorporated in her charges…. in America, as someone stated, 210lbs is NOT necessarily overweight…. why invest in such flimsy furniture when you know how much use and abuse its going to get….you get what you pay for and I’m sure she’s always having those cheap chairs repaired…..what about the people who come in and slouch, scoot and wrap their legs around those poorly made chairs, or those graceless gawky people who just don’t care how they sit in a chair, or those who bring in their children and they run to mommy clinging to the chair until their little hands are pryed off leaving sticky candy or gum on those precious chairs! ADD IT IN THE WEAR & TEAR don’t go embarrassing people about what you THINK! You should not be in Business if you don’t have respect for your customers (the very ones who ALLOW you to be in business)! Bless you Fonville for speaking up…there are others who go home and cry…and go back in a few weeeks for a fill….something has to be done!

Serenity April 13, 2011 - 5:07 PM

I live in DeKalb county GA. Give me the address and I will throw a brick through their window. Factor in that cost

Nik May 19, 2011 - 2:56 PM

Wow. I’m surprised at the incident and at the comments here too.

I think the salon chairs definitely require maintenance as a general cost of doing business regardless of who sits in them. However, we’re kidding ourselves if we think heavier clients i.e. more stress on the chairs has absolutely no impact on wear and tear. I mean, come on. If I drive my car hard and rough then it will indeed require quicker maintenance and possibly more maintenance than if I drove it more gently. So, I think it stands to reason that bigger customers may impact the cost of business.

Also, the salon owner and employees are most likely Asian. I’m making an assumption based upon stereotypes but I’m probably right. Anyway, there’s a huge (no pun intended) cultural difference in body image and size between Americans and Asians. An average size American is generally perceived as large from an Asian perspective. So, of course a larger American is going to perceived as extremely large to many Asians. It’s their paradigm and I think it’s OK for them to have, just like we have ours. I say this because I think it’s important to consider other perspectives and look at all possible angles of a situation.

Moving along…. yes, muscle weighs more than fat, but if you’re overweight you’re just overweight. Let’s not try to justify it as anything other than that. If a woman weighs 200 + pounds she’s most likely overweight unless she’s about 6 feet tall and rippling with massive musculature. News flash, most women just aren’t built this way. Or shall I say, the average woman is not built this way. Some female pro athletes might be all ripped up with muscles but even then they don’t typically weigh 200 lbs +. Do you know why? It’s hard to be agile and quick at 200 lbs and most sports require speed and agility especially at the top tiers.

Being fat might be an American “norm” but we’re still fat. We don’t stop being fat just because everyone is fat. If a woman is 200 + pounds she’s most likely just over weight. I’m addressing all of the comments about 200+ pounds not being overweight, which is an unhealthy perception especially within the black community. We call people who are overweight and / or obese “thick” or “healthy”… Here’s another newsflash, carrying extra weight is not healthy at all. You all might think it’s cute but it’s not healthy. In general, I don’t think our community has any idea of what “healthy” is or looks like and that’s very sad.

Anyway, back to the actual article… I’m sorry Ms. Fonville was treated this way. It’s very sad. No one deserves to be publicly humiliated. I think hanging a sign that says “fat people pay more” might be equally humiliating but it would be better than surprising customers with additional charges after services have been rendered.

Some people might not think it’s fair to charge heavier people the extra fee but is it fair to charge everyone an extra fee just because the heavier clients cause more wear and tear on the furniture? That certainly wouldn’t be fair. Lots of business airlines and health insurance company’s included pass additional cost of providing services to heavier customers directly to those customers. So… I guess this is just another industry / business in which those additional costs will be directly absorbed by the particular demographic that incurs them.

JOJO March 1, 2013 - 8:47 AM

The salon owner can just charge everyone the higher fee but its also discrinatory to those of us of smaller stature who struggle w our weight. Why should everyone be subject to the same costs? Same w planes, why should I be in a squeezed up situation or pay higher fares because all of a sudden, airlines have to make their seats 6 inches wider? If ure bigger, pay more. May be insensitive but at least it’s fair.

Roadless May 26, 2011 - 11:17 PM

I agree with the person who posted about airline companies charging a fee. It’s funny how there is so much anger about a nail salon, but airlines jack up the prices beyond belief.

I have been in a similar situation where someone came over my house and broke my toilet seat. It was a very awkward position to be in. Do I charge her for the toilet seat? What should I say? She never acknowledged that my seat wasn’t the same. I ended up sitting on the porcelain. Is that fair?

Jem June 3, 2011 - 3:22 PM

It would have been a fair charge if she charged everyone and not just the people she eyeballs as overweight.

Katie Riley June 30, 2011 - 8:02 PM

First of all, I highly doubt those chairs had a weight limit of 200 pounds, secondly, if they did, they didn’t cost $2500.

I take offense to the comment that “If a woman weighs 200 + pounds she’s most likely overweight unless she’s about 6 feet tall and rippling with massive musculature.” and also “If a woman is 200 + pounds she’s most likely just over weight”. This is a belief that i have internalized and have now struggled to overcome for most of my life. I weigh 201 pounds today. Yes, I could lost some weight, but I am also 5’11” with large bones and a lot of muscle. When I was rowing in college, working out 3 times a day and as fit as I have ever been (and probably ever will be), I weighed 210 pounds. I have always had a complex about my size but as i work through my issues around my body and looking back on my life, I can say with confidence I have never been fat. But I always thought I was and that is largely because of my weight (not how i looked). Every doctor I have ever seen has commented on what “big bones” I have or how I’m a “big girl”. On the other side of that coin, no one ever believes I weigh as much as I do and I am sure the woman at that salon wouldn’t have charged me the extra $5.

So basically, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover and please please don’t make assumptions based on someone’s weight, it’s just not fair or accurate and gives little (big) girls some major issues to work through later in life.

Kerri July 13, 2011 - 7:18 PM

Wow, that’s smart.

While she’s at it, why doesn’t the owner charge customers who wear high heels extra? After all, heels tear up the floor faster than flats and sneakers.

Also, customers who use the restroom should be charged extra, because they run up the water bill and use up all the toilet paper.

A much more rational solution would be to spread out this chair repair surcharge across all the customers and just call it a maintenance fee.

Cherished October 3, 2011 - 4:41 PM

I have never felt welcomed or appreciated as a customer in the chain asian nail salons. It wasn’t because of my weight either but let’s just add in that factor. If a salon has this policy they should be boycotted and not supported PERIOD.

They make 2,500 in one day of operation in most salons. A tiny business expense in the overall profit picture.

1beautifullymade October 6, 2011 - 2:13 AM

Reading this made me feel like crying. It reminds me of when I was 12 and a taxi driver told my aunt” You have to pay extra for her, she take up two space” I felt like I could cry, however, I just laughed along with them. I agree with everything that Nik, wrote. I am starting to hear a lot about weight now, more than ever before. The thing is..now it seems like we are being attacked for our size, which doesn’t help at all. If things continue like this, I don’t know what I will do. I feel like I am 12 again …holding on to all this embarrassment and shame..but laughing along on the outside. Yesterday I was out running and a car rushed by..the driver screamed out “Move your fat a#$ out the way.” It took a lot for me to get out there..I walk/run at 6am for that exact reason(to avoid someone saying something mean to me). I guess I will be staying away from the nail salons..because I honestly cant take the embarrassment.

Mo December 24, 2011 - 3:56 PM

Don’t let anyone take your shine away, love. You are beautiful here and now, and even if you never lose another pound you are everything to someone today. Never let those who want to hurt you, hinder you from expressing the real you. Use their ignorance against them and turn it into a powerful motivation to lavish love on yourself. Show the world how you are to be treated by nourishing yourself daily with what you need physically, spiritually, and mentally and know that you are loved. HUGS!


Laura January 20, 2012 - 1:50 PM

Is the salon just eyeballing people and judging who looks 200lbs? Are they having every customer step onto a scale before they begin the pedicure? This is absurd- there was a recent post here that illustrated that the number on the scale doesn’t equal fitness…that muscle can weigh more than fat. C’mon- we all know this.

No, I don’t think weight should be a protected class…maybe the causes of some weight issues should be, but not the number itself. Does that mean I think this salon has the right to do this? If they treat every single customer the same way (everyone steps on the same scale as part of the routine!)…maybe legally, yeah. Have to give that more thought. However, morally? That is MESSED UP. I’d hope enough customers would boycott until they changed their powerhungry ways. Just another example of the gross ways people can think.

NaturalBlackOne January 22, 2012 - 10:02 AM

The way the salon handled this situation is dead wrong. I am not saying that they don’t have a right to their beliefs that overweight people will break their chairs, but they were not diplomatic about it, nor did they show respect to their customers and the $$ they sped there that could have been taken elsewhere.

Simple solution: raise prices all across the board for their pedicure services by the same $5 or whatever they wish. Then they can explain that it is to factor in the cost of periodic repairs.

If I lived in that area, I would avoid that place, and let everybody else I know how shady they are. They may be Asian (assuming) but that gives them no right to be disrespectful. They need to consider where they are and the type of clientele they will be dealing with

Lethal Astronaut January 26, 2012 - 11:21 PM

The salon owner can charge what she wants, would be my understanding of the legal situation. But the client would be well within her rights to, say, ring in to a local talkback and explain this discrimination to the talkback host, who would be pretty interested I reckon!

And 200 lb isn’t necessarily obese. I’m 207 lbs and 5’10”, putting me into the “overweight” but not “obese” category (and I’m dropping fast).

One of my best friends is 6’1″, and she’s lean, yet I doubt the salon owner would discriminate against her – she’s an ex-model, and very attractive.

Yeah, this lady should ring talkback / chat shows and diss the salon. Besides, other people likely to be discriminated against need to know in advance, to avoid being similarly embarrased!

Jinna March 8, 2012 - 5:45 PM

Hi. I was just in an ugly confrontation with the lady that owns that salon that over charged me. I had my hair high-lighted, cut and styled…and was charged $190.00. My hair is shoulder length and she said it was considered long. I’m not familiar with salon terms or whatnot. But I seriously thought the owner was rude and tried everything in her power to avoid the issue and handled it unprofessionally. I had my sister in law translate for me but the owner was telling her to shut up and that it was not concerning her. I just felt so cheated and mistreated as a customer. Please HELP!!!

charlese April 13, 2012 - 11:45 PM

Being 200+ pounds definitely does not put you in the overweight-enough-to-be-penalized category, which is what we’re talking about. A 5’9″ woman (tall but not a giant by any standard) can be within her normal weight range at 186 pounds according to a military height chart (I don’t know how reasonable those things are but, there you have it). So for 14 pounds she should pay an extra $5? And how, exactly, would the shop owner know how much she weighs anyway? Do these delicate chairs also include a scale?

Airlines charge more not solely because of weight, but because of size. If one passenger is filling up more than one seat, they are asked to pay more. They are encroaching on someone else’s space. Perhaps it’s even a safety issue??? (not sure about this) Insurance companies charge more because of the health risks associated with obesity means that they spend more money getting you well. These industries are not really a fair comparison.

Let’s compare apples to apples. We’re not talking about someone displacing another customer or quantifiably costing the business more money (because really, how do they know how much of the wear and tear is because of obesity and how much is normal or just shoddy chairs). We’re talking about EXTREMELY short-term (1-2 hours), periodic use of a chair in a facility. A chair that should be engineered for public use (not like the ones in your house). Imagine your favorite restaurant instituting the same policy. How well would that go over? How about if an overweight child’s private school tacked on a surcharge? After all, they sit in those chairs all day.

@1beautifullymade – I feel you. There are some really mean, thoughtless people, and their methods and motives are based in their own insecurities. Healthy people don’t try to tear you down or get laughs at your expense. Fearfully and wonderfully made is what you are. Keep focusing on the truth, you have a value that cannot be counted. As long as you remember what you’re worth I am confident that you’ll do what you need to do to maintain your health.

Shamontiel October 2, 2013 - 8:07 PM

Charlene, I was really curious whether CDC (my go-to for health related topics) would match the weight requirements of the military height chart you mentioned.

According to CDC, being 5’9 and 200 lbs is overweight with a BMI of 29.5 (30 and over is obese) and 186 lbs is 27.5 is overweight (25 to 29.9). Normal weight for someone who is 5’9 is 18.5 to 24.9 BMI, which is 125 lbs to 169 lbs.

Carrying 14 “extra” pounds can significantly change your BMI. It does matter.

Erika Nicole Kendall October 3, 2013 - 6:01 PM
libby October 11, 2012 - 11:17 PM

I was At the east side mall In Wichita, ks. The lady asked me there was a weight capacity For the chair And she made me switch chairs. They dont get my business anylonger.

Keba January 22, 2013 - 3:33 PM

Many are getting worked up over folks’ comments regarding managing one’s weight. What is so unreasonable about that? It’s not just about the aesthetic values, it’s about one’s HEALTH. I challenge the majority of people who are fat-yes fat and would rather not be, to state unequivocally that it is due to their genetic make up and not overindulging in food and unhealthy consumption. Come on, let us as Black women stop the euphemisms and hypersensitivity and set better examples on healthy eating and better habits for our younger and older loved ones! Lay off the junk food just a little, get off the sofa, out of the car and move!

If a business owner believes fat people should be charged more, that is the business’ prerogative. If you do not agree, don’t spend your money where you feel you’re treated unfairly.

Jojo satoes March 1, 2013 - 8:37 AM

I may sound insensitive but I travel a lot for work. It’s very annoying to have someone spilling into my area on a 12 hour flight. I believe heavier passengers should purchase two seats. It takes a lot more effort for the nail technician to lift a heavier persons leg to scrub under their feet. The wear and tear occurs at a faster rate.same w hair, no one is moderating anyone’s weight. But regardless of why, i would charge similarly if I were in that business. Race and disabilities cannot be chosen or controlled. Weight can be.

Christine March 1, 2013 - 2:30 PM

I keep thinking of the sign that says something like “we have the right to refuse service”. There are signs in amusement parks if you aren’t tall enough you can’t go on the ride, I dunno if there are weigh requirements. I guess I can look at it from both sides, yes the woman may have felt humiliated, but a small business owner also has to look at his bottom line. That one broken chair may mean the difference between him feeding his family. My doctors office has armless chairs, maybe he should consider something like that

Meagan March 1, 2013 - 10:53 AM

No. They should consider weight capacity when they buy chairs. Or else just buy cheaper chairs for goodness sakes.

lala March 5, 2013 - 12:24 PM

This is defiantly a sensitive subject….but I have to say… the chairs do have a weight capacity…she should have just politely turn you down for the pedicure. I am a professional nail tech and I feel awful when I have to turn away clients… but there’s not much we can do. Take this into thought… if you go to an amusement park…. they would not allow you onto a ride if you were overweight…for safety reasons of course… same thing goes for the spa pedicure chairs… they have weight limits… and imagine if the pedicure collapsed during a service… that would be awful and dangerous with the spa chair on.

Mishala March 12, 2013 - 9:17 AM

I think a protected class should be created for those that are obese for medical reason. If you eat decently, but have a thyroid disorder or are on fifty different medications to keep you alive, then yes, more often than not, your weight isn’t in your control. For people who just don’t put in the effort, then no.

As to airlines, I just want to point out that I got asked to pay for a second seat once. I’m 240 pounds and 5’9″. Over weight, but not huge. I told them I’d pay for a second seat when they paid to get a plane with adequate leg room for people over 5’6″. Just wanted to put that out there. I can understand the reason for charging some overweight customers, but there are times when they just target larger people.

As to this lady, something like that would be humiliating to me, and a way bigger wake up call than I needed to get my butt in gear. But at the same time, the salon owners need a boot firmly up their rectums. An extra surcharge like that has to be posted, legally. And I’ve never heard of a salon chair with a two hundred pound weight limit. Seems their using low quality products. And there is no definitive way of knowing how these chairs are being damaged. Honestly, unless they cater to their larger customers with different chairs, they can’t really justify this extra charge.

Shamontiel October 2, 2013 - 7:54 PM

I REALLY REALLY REALLY want to say, “This is so unfair” and start screaming about discrimination. But every time I get ready to type that I remember a cousin of mine staying with us when I was a kid. She had a friend who was easily over 200 lbs, probably nearing 250 lbs or 300 lbs, and she put a permanent dent in our loveseat. She literally got up and the entire cushion was smashed down, and this loveseat was basically new before she got there that day. I’m not sure what the quality is of the chairs this salon owner is purchasing, but I do think it’s unfair that we were stuck with this dented couch because of this woman who sat there for an hour or two, got up and left, and our couch was never the same. So I’m imagining if she did that in an hour or two, I’m guessing people constantly getting in and out of the chairs on a regular basis are leading to regular chair replacements.

I’m not totally opposed. However, I do think that there should be forewarning ahead of time. Let someone see that sign from the door and then make the decision because it’d be really embarrassing for someone who looks like they’re over 200 lbs but aren’t to be accused of it and have to stand on a scale to prove it.

Mo October 3, 2013 - 4:14 PM

1. There should be a sign stating that patrons over 200 pounds will be charged an extra $5.

2. I think it’s a shame that this woman is using her American “right” to remain obese… why would you even say that is beyond me. And I’m more so regarding her health rather her weight.

3. Let’s address the elephant in the post, she IS NOT the only customer of that size meaning that the salon is actually paying for their customers personal decisions which I think is unfair

Kimberly October 4, 2013 - 11:04 AM

Oh Boy this is a tough one. I’m going to give a little insight into what it’s like to work as a nail tech. I was one for 10 years. This is a fact, overweight clients are tough on your body. Manicures are not to bad but pedicures are a nightmare. We would get into fights in the back room over who would have to take the “big woman” as their next client. Ex: “I’ve already had 2 big ones it’s your turn to take one”. “I can’t do it anymore today my back is killing me from that giant I had yesterday”.
This is the problem that I don’t think people outside the industry think about. I’m at work and an obese woman walks in…..a obese client who can’t get in the pedi chair. I have to help them up into the chair and most of the time they will put their full body weight on you to get up and then repeat procedure to get them out (getting them out is the worst part). Once in the chair they would DROP their leg into your arms. We are talking some big heavy legs. During the service you are constantly lifting and lowering their legs and they do nothing to help…they can’t even lift their own legs. It KILLS your back. I mean extreme pain after 8 hrs of this 5x a week. The chairs are ruined, your seeing a chiropractor just so you can work, your eating over the counter pain pills just to function. Obese woman are the reason I left the business. I just couldn’t do it anymore AND I was starting to get really grouchy about it. I don’t want to be grouchy and mean so I made the decision to leave. Obesity is a problem that trickles down in all areas from the woman who is obese all the way down to the woman who is trying to provide them a service. Next time you are getting a pedicure look at the size of your provider. Is she slender? Small? Tall and thin? average size? If it’s yes to any of these and you are obese I can guarantee you are hurting her and she is grumbling under her breath about you, bitching about you in the employee area and dreading your next visit.
But I do NOT in any way agree with how this salon handled the situation.

Gigi December 31, 2013 - 1:30 PM

I’m sorry but everything you just wrote is crap. I have a cosmetology license, and worked pedicures from 18 to 21, and never complained about a customers weight. Sure I had complaints but weight was not one of them. Now that being said, I am now morbidly obese and I get pedicures. I am very large but I can still move. I can get in and out of the chair on my own just fine. I’m not plopping my “very heavy” legs into anyone’s arms and they certainly aren’t lifting my leg for me because I can’t do so myself. I think it’s ridiculous for you to stereotype all obese women as some kind of fat slobs that can’t do anything. Perhaps you had experiences that led you to that conclusion, but please don’t push that vision on everyone. Don’t shame overweight people into feeling like they are hurting people for trying to keep their feet nice.

Janae October 6, 2013 - 8:48 PM

This is messed up. Not only because of the discrimination but because with a little more thought this situation may have been easily avoided. The chairs would wear out over time regardless of the weight of the occupant and 200 lbs is not necessarily overweight for every person. Besides that you can’t always tell how much a person weighs just by looking. What the salon owner should have done is raise her prices by a few dollars instead of creating a surcharge for overweight customers. If $5 extra for some people was enough to cover the cost of replacing a chair then the price hike would probably be so small that her customers would barely complain. Then she could invest in better quality chairs without hurting people’s feelings and losing customers.

Karen October 6, 2013 - 8:57 PM

Wow! At first I thought it was ridiculous, but, yeah, the chairs DO have limits. I am a hairstylist, and I’ve seen a chair break due to a very large client. But maybe they could just have one heavy duty chair? It would cost a lot more than a standard chair, though, so that might lead to having a surcharge anyway. But it’s kind of a bad business tactic. It’s not the same situation as an airline seat. But, if a salon DOES add a charge, it should be posted.

Karen October 6, 2013 - 8:59 PM

And I don’t think obese persons should be considered a “protected” class. It is not (usually) something out of one’s control.

Francesca October 16, 2013 - 1:30 PM

Doesn’t Tran know they make salon chairs with 300lb+ weight capacity? Also, instead of charging heavier customers $5, why not include a small service charge on every customers bill? Say, $1, or even $0.50; have it posted with the service prices. That way she could avoid having any one customer, or set of customers feel discriminated against.

TY November 26, 2013 - 1:38 AM

I agree with both women on both perspectives. The customer is right about the $5, if she is over weight, instead of being direct, the owner should post a sign framed out in the open (because I do work at a nail salon and nail supplies and equipment is EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE believe it or not) that way if the sign is out in the open nobody gets their feelings hurt and also she could’ve handled it the appropriate manner. And the owner is right as well because why have one overweight customer break a $2500-3000 chair but only get charged $24 for a pedicure..? People think it’s so easy to own a nail salon but it’s not. I go with my boss to help get supplies too and I’ve browsed at the selection of chairs. When the girl said $2500 repair she didn’t mean repair bc once you break a chair it doesn’t really get “repaired” . Pedicure chairs are a one time only use. Once you mess it up it can get fixed but break down again and her “repair” means to replace not to fix.

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