This story was originally published March 20, 2017.
The perfect nail salon should offer more than just a utilitarian, in-and-out service that spares you the stress of knocking over a bottle of OPI onto your hardwood floors (again). Ideally, it should stock a solid array of polishes, play a soothing Zen soundtrack that lulls you to sleep in the pedicure chair, have an excellent selection of recent magazine issues, and be known for paying and treating their highly-trained staff fairly.
And a good nail salon — or any nail salon, for that matter — should never, ever have a sign on the wall indicating that "overweight" customers will be charged an additional fee to get a pedicure, on the basis that they are "overweight." If that sounds completely absurd, that’s because it is. Yet somehow it’s still a real thing in 2017 that was spotted in a Memphis nail salon by a customer named Deshania Ferguson, who photographed the sign and shared it to Facebook. “Sorry, but if you are overweight, pedicure will be $45 due to service fees for pedicurists,” reads the sign in her image.
Ferguson’s post was quickly met with outrage from her friends and followers across the city, some of whom contacted their local news channel, WREG, to investigate the offending salon. While the salon’s owner denied that the sign had ever been posted in his business, he did say that he doesn’t service anyone who’s “severely overweight,” as he claims it’s difficult for technicians to give those customers pedicures and allegedly puts his expensive equipment at risk.
Regardless of the salon owner’s reasoning, this situation is exactly what it sounds like: discrimination. Weight discrimination is a huge — and growing — problem, and it occurs everywhere from the workplace to, apparently, the nail salon. And, like all types of discrimination, based on age, sex, race, religion, or disability, it’s a completely unacceptable way to treat other human beings.
You know what else it is? Bad for business. We can't imagine this newfound infamy will be doing this man's salon any favors.