Pedicures By The Pound

Here we have the case of a ridiculously overweight individual who is shocked, simply shocked, when they are treated differently than non-ridiculously overweight individuals. Now, the way that the woman was treated differently seems to be legit, but the way that it was carried out seems to be ridiculous. After all, can you really justify charging someone an extra five bucks for their pedicure because they might break the chair with their enormous arse?

I'm not so sure that you can, but that's what happened. According to
WSBTV, a one Michelle Fonville had gone to Natural Nails on Covington Highway in DeKalb County (that's somewhere in Georgia) for a manicure, a pedicure and eyebrow arch. For those services, she was charged $29. Now, when I read the $29 part, I couldn't believe how cheap that was. She had her feet done, her nails done and her eyebrows arched for under thirty bucks? That's a deal in most places.

But at Natural Nails, it's usually even more of a deal, as they usually only charge $24. When Ms. Fonville realized that she had been overcharged by $5, she brought it to the attention of the salon manager, a one Kim Tran. And that's when she got the news that she was just too darned large. See, the justification for the extra $5 was that is was a surcharge that they had imposed "...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." Oh. Awkward.

Tran told the reporter from WSBTV "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.” She forgot about the eyebrow arch. Oh, never mind. Sorry. I digress. Is that fair? Well, those are your prices, right? How DO those places stay in business anyway? I've never been able to figure that out.

Although Ms. Fonville claimed, “I was humiliated. I almost cried. Tears were forming in my eyes”, I'd like to point out that her humiliation did not stop her from running to her local news station and telling them of the tale. Nope. She didn't have any problem doing that. I'd also like to point out that she almost cried. Almost. That's not the same as crying.

Here's the part about this that I really like: "Tran said she refunded the $5 surcharge, and told Fonville to take her business elsewhere." Awesome. But naturally, that was not so awesome if you were asking Ms. Fonville because she said, “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." I'm not so sure.

I'm not so sure that this is discrimination. I'm not so sure that charging the $5 is such a good idea, but that doesn't necessarily make it discriminatory. If the manufacturer of the chair specifies that it cannot hold more than 200 pounds, then is the salon is technically being negligent if they let people who are clearly over 200 pounds use the chair? They might be. I can just see some obese asshat getting stuck in one of the chairs and the fire department has to come and Free Willy and then the salon ends up getting sued because they let them sit in a chair that wasn't meant to hold the girth of a tractor trailer. It's not like that's unheard of. If this was a case of what the manufacturer recommended, rather than charge the $5, shouldn't the salon just not cater to those over the weight limit? (Do they really need a pedicure? Can they even see their feet? Ohh. I didn't really write that, did I?)

So, I guess the salon should have a sign in the window informing people of larger carriage that they are going to be charged an extra $5? Or should they have something like one of those things at the airport where you check to see if your bag is too big to be a carry on? You know, like if the person can't fit comfortably between the width of some device, then they're too big for the chair? Or do they just eliminate service to the overly rotund all together? If they're only charging an extra $5 and a new chair is $2,500, they're going to need 500 behemoths that want pedicures. Do they have that large (pun totally intended) of clientele from that particular segment of society? Down in Georgia? I'm guessing they most certainly do.

I'm pretty sure that this isn't discriminatory. I think that the salon owner has a legitimate concern, but I don't think that charging an extra $5 is the answer. I think that she just needs to eliminate the problem by posting a weight limit somewhere. That way she doesn't end up with any broken chairs and doesn't need to impose a surcharge. And if Ms. Fonville doesn't like it, perhaps she might consider shedding a few pounds. It's not like she has to be that large, right? (If anyone leaves a comment having anything to do with the thyroid gland or a slow metabolism, so help me, I'll stab my screen.)