Woman Charged Extra For Pedicure Because She's Overweight. Discriminatory or Justified?

Do My Toenails Make Me Look Fat?
By Marianne Mancusi Beach GALTime.com Staff

We've all heard stories of airlines charging more for obese patrons, asking them to purchase a second seat to accommodate their girth. But this one may shock you -- a woman in Georgia says her nail salon charged extra for her pedicure because they said her weight could damage their massage chairs.

That's right. Forty year old Michelle Fonville says she went to a salon in an Atlanta suburb and found an additional five dollars added onto her bill. When she asked, the salon employee said the charge was due to her weight putting pressure on their chairs, which, they claim, can only hold 200 pounds and cost $2,500 to replace.

When she cried discrimination, the salon eventually refunded her money, but asked Fonville not to return.

Check out an interview with Ms. Fonville and the salon here.

I'm no legal expert, but I have to say (and this is strictly MY opinion), it sounds like the salon handled the situation badly. If they were really concerned with the chairs, they should have posted signs, disclosing the extra fee and letting patrons decide if they want to pay it--or take their business elsewhere. Tacking it onto the bill after the fact is, well, tacky, to say the least.

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And yes, they refunded her money when she complained. But think about how embarrassing it must have been to have to fight over it--probably in front of other waiting customers, too. I think if it were me, I'd probably just pay the five bucks to save myself the humiliation. And that's probably exactly what the salon is banking on.

I get that they don't want to spend $2,500 on a new chair after only making $20 on a pedicure. But let's be upfront about it and let the customer make the choice whether or not to sit down.

We want to hear from you. What do you think about the incident? Is the charge discriminatory or justified?

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