Monday, August 23, 2010


Really sad-mad story via Jezebel about a woman, Michelle Fonville, pictured, who was levied a $5 surcharge on a manicure/pedicure by a nail salon for being fat. You can chop up the story however you like, but by any dispassionate means of measure that's what it was about. The salon owner told the local news:
"...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.'"
The kicker? Again, from the salon owner:
"I didn't want to argue with her about $5. I wanted to make her pleased with her service . . . I whispered...I said, 'I'm sorry, next time I cannot take you.'"
So, to sum up:
  • The salon owner knew the client's weight from looking at her, and in fact can gauge anyone's weight by sight.
  • Normal business wear-and-tear should be divvied up among clients whom we can be sure caused it, in the proportion they do (best way to be sure? to decide in your own head), which means people who land heavily on chairs or scrape them back across the floor will be asked a $.33 surcharge (for instance); chronic nail-biters or those with crusty heels, $1.22; toilet paper-wasters, $.25; noise-polluters $.75 for each cellphone call over 1 minute; people with unmanageable cuticles, $.44; etc.
  • Salon owner is happy to take fat people's money--has encouraged it--but can no longer put the health of her chairs as she sees it above the money she takes; however, will continue to invite people in for conflict and humiliation in a forward-thinking best practices business model.
  • The best way to please customers with your service is to tell them to never come back again.
  • People over 200 lbs. shouldn't expect nail care--not really.
Got it!

The place where I get my [finger]nails done occasionally has pedicure chairs that wouldn't fit half of my fat ass--so that takes care of this issue for me.

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