Salon Charges ‘Overweight’ Customers More for Pedicures, and People Are Pissed

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(Facebook/Deshania Ferguson)

A Tennessee nail salon has sparked outrage this week–and racked up a disturbing number of supporters–after allegedly instituting an extra fee for “overweight” people who wanted to get pedicures.

A Memphis salon client named Desahnia Ferguson said she saw the sign saying, “Sorry, but if you are overweight, pedicure will be $45 due to service fees for pedicurists” when she went to get her nails down, and she was furious. Who wouldn’t be? Even if a person was not going to be given the surcharge, a sign like that is not conducive to an atmosphere of relaxation. A sign like that is a sign to find a new nail salon. It’s not like nail salons are difficult to find, there’s probably one within the block that does a perfectly nice pedicure and doesn’t charge extra for overweight customers.

WREG News went to talk to the salon owner, and he says the sign was never posted in his salon, but Ferguson says it was there and he just took it down after he started getting negative attention. Photos of the sign did show it in a nail salon that was identical, with the same walls, floors, and displays as the salon in question. And while he says he never had the sign up, he says customers have gotten upset with him over his anti-fat policies in the past.

The owner told reporters that instead of charging an extra fee for overweight customers, he’s just going to refuse service outright if they are “severely overweight,” though he does not say if that means he will be making customers get on scales, or if he’ll just be giving everyone the creepy old up-and-down look when they come in to make sure they’re an acceptable size for him.

It’s difficult to understand how an extra fee would make sense for a pedicure. It’s not like larger customers use more nail polish. But he maintains the ban on larger customers is necessary because it’s more difficult for the technicians to give pedicures to heavier customers, and he also says there’s a risk of damage to equipment. He says he’s had two pedicure chairs broken in the past, and those giant chairs are quite expensive. They seem pretty hardy, though.

The phrasing of the sign claims the extra fee is a “service fee for pedicurists,” but a “service fee” would be money that goes to the nail technicians themselves, and in this case it seems highly unlikely that any of that is being passed on to the people actually doing the pedicures, especially when the owner says he’s concerned about his chairs. That cost would be about him, not the nail technicians.