Dash described watching clients reprimand their technicians, complaining, "You don't know how to do it!" even though Dash was confident that her colleagues were well-trained. "They get really aggressive, and we are really scared at the time," Dash said. "Even if they are not nice to us, we have to survive, so we try to do it nice for them."
Dash told me that before immigrating to the United States, she worked as a counselor in Nepal. She says she feels comfortable conversing with her clients, listening to their problems, and telling them about hers, too. But for her colleagues whose English is limited, relationships are not so easily built.
"When we arrived here, nobody taught us how to communicate with our clients. We just know how to do manicure and pedicure," she said. "I think the customer is always right, but sometimes when they come in, they need to think about [us], too, not just about themselves. It's not our language. We are migrants. If customers understand a little bit, the environment is really nice for each other."
As to how best to understand, Dash and others feel Cuomo has the right idea: just ask.
"This job is a very good job," Narbada Chhetri, director of organizing and advocacy for a nail-salon workers' group, told Refinery29.
"Everyone would like to be [beautiful] ourselves, and to make beauty to others," Chhetri said. "Customers have to know about [their technicians]. Are they eating on time? How long are they working? If [customers] come to the salon at lunchtime, they have to wait for them [to finish eating]. If the customer is conscious and they are taking care of the workers, then it's gonna be good."