A Memphis nail salon’s “fat shaming” sign suggesting it would charge extra to overweight customers has gone viral on Facebook over the past week. The salon’s owner, however, denied putting up the sign when interviewed by local media but admitted to having some business-related issues with overweight people who have pedicures in his establishment.
Last Saturday, March 11, a woman named Deshania Ferguson took to Facebook to share a picture of a sign supposedly posted at Rose Nails, a salon located on Overton Crossing and Frayser Boulevard in Memphis.
“Sorry, but if you are overweight, pedicures will be $45 due to service fees for pedicurists. Thank you!”
In the past week, Ferguson’s post has been shared more than 500 times and has gotten more than 70 comments, most of them from angry women accusing the nail salon of fat shaming and discriminating against overweight customers. And while some had suggested boycotting Rose Nails, one commenter had gone as far as suggesting that the salon should be punished by law for discriminating against disabled individuals.
“EEOC – Discrimination Case. Obesity is considered a disability. The ‘weight’ of the customer shouldn’t differentiate in the prices or services rendered. To be more specific… this is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. I highly suggest the owner not only remove the sign, after removal provide equal customer service to all and LEARN THE LAW IF HE OR SHE…BLACK, WHITE, ASIAN OR PURPLE CHOOSES TO CONTINUE TO OPERATE! Boycotting is a temporary loss in sales. Federal and state violations, fines and lawsuits are permanent!”
Due to the outrage caused by the purported sign, Memphis news station WREG investigated into the matter and sought out Rose Nails owner Son Nguyen, AOL News wrote. Speaking to Nguyen, WREG reporter Shay Arthur told the businessman about how many women were upset over the sign. Nguyen repeatedly denied that the sign had ever been put up, and while Arthur didn’t see a sign posted when she visited the salon on Thursday, Nguyen admitted that he has considered putting up something similar in the past.
“No. I told you, I said I’m thinking but I don’t put it up,” said Nguyen, again denying to Arthur that his nail salon was fat shaming overweight customers by charging more than double.
In her news report for WREG, Arthur observed that the flooring, chairs, and walls on a second photo of the sign matched that of Rose Nails.
According to a separate report from Metro, the salon normally charges $20 for pedicures. Nguyen, for his part, told WREG’s Arthur that the only extra charge Rose Nails levies is an additional $5 for male customers, as they don’t come to the salon as often as female customers do.
Despite his fervent denial that Rose Nails charges exorbitant amounts to overweight customers, as seen on the supposed sign, Nguyen acknowledged that he chooses not to offer services to “severely overweight” customers. He explained that that’s because the excess weight makes it hard for nail technicians to provide pedicures and that he’s had chairs broken twice in the past, costing him about $2,000 to $2,500, as he claims. Nguyen added that as he’s been in business for nine years, he is now trying to appease any customers who may have been offended by the sign Ferguson shared last Sunday.
The alleged nail salon fat shaming case in Memphis isn’t without precedent. In a recent example, the Huffington Post wrote in 2016 about a “naked restaurant,” supposedly the first of its kind in Japan, that allows customers to dine in the nude, but with a few catches, including a ban on diners who are at least 33 pounds (15 kg) overweight for their height.
[Featured Image by kzenon/Shutterstock]