This file photo shows a pedicure, which a woman was told she was “too big” to get at a Conway, S.C. nail salon. KELLEY CHINN Fort Worth Star-Telegram
This file photo shows a pedicure, which a woman was told she was “too big” to get at a Conway, S.C. nail salon. KELLEY CHINN Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Business

‘Too big’ for pedicure? SC customer wants nail salon to change its service, not sign

By Noah Feit

nfeit@thestate.com

September 06, 2018 04:47 PM

“It was very degrading, very humiliating.”

That’s what a South Carolina woman said about her recent visit to a nail salon.

Amanda Wolfenbarger went to Conway’s Nail Spa for a pedicure Aug. 31, and said she left the salon feeling embarrassed by an employee who questioned her about her weight.

The salon has a policy denying pedicures to any customer who weighs more than 250 pounds.

It was news to Wolfenbarger, who told The State she has paid for pedicures at Nail Spa on two other occasions — in April and June.

A sign in a Conway nail salon lists its policies, including a prohibition of pedicures for customers weighing more than 250 pounds.
Submitted by Amanda Wolfenbarger

She said she had to ask where the policy was listed, and was shown a sign high on the wall behind the main entrance, which read “We are not accepting any person over 250 lb for pedicure service, sorry!”

“It’s not presented or displayed where you can see it,” Wolfenbarger told The State, saying she took issue with how she was treated by the employee.

“I’ve never been made to feel the way I felt then,” Wolfenbarger said.

Messages left with the salon were not immediately returned.

It began as a routine visit to the salon for Wolfenbarger, who said she was seated and her feet were being soaked. At that point she saw something unusual happening.

The employee who seated her went to another woman, described by Wolfenbarger as “tall, not fat,” and said something to her. That customer “stood up, had a few choice words and left,” according to Wolfenbarger.

Wolfenbarger said the employee then went to another woman, who she described as “large,” and said something to her, prompting her to leave.

That was when the employee came back to Wolfenbarger and asked her how much she weighed.

“None of your business,” was Wolfenbarger’s reply, which she said caused the employee to say she was “too big,” and would “break chair.”

That was when she was informed about the policy, and the employee changed course, telling her to say she weighed 250 pounds.

“I’m not going to lie,” said Wolfenbarger, who was given a pedicure even though she did not say anything about her weight.

Amanda Wolfenbarger
Submitted by Amanda Wolfenbarger

Wolfenbarger reiterated that her grievance was not over the policy, but with the way the salon employee’s addressed the situation.

“It could have been handled discreetly,” Wolfenbarger said. “I understand they have a reason for what they do, but they have to have better customer service.”

She said another customer overheard her exchange with the employee and told Wolfenbarger she would not be returning to the salon.

Neither will Wolfenbarger.

“It comes to a point where I’m tired of feeling like I’m going in for abuse. I don’t want to spend my money there,” Wolfenbarger said.

At a friend’s urging, Wolfenbarger posted about the incident on Facebook. She said she didn’t want anyone else to have to endure that negative experience.

Wolfenbarger said she has received a lot of feedback from her post. That led to a reaction from the salon.

The salon’s owner, Tina Bui, said the sign will be reworded in a more tactful manner, wmbfnews.com reported. Bui said “the policy is in place for customer safety,” according to the TV station.

Wolfenbarger told The State that Bui apologized, but it was not entirely satisfactory.

“She said ‘I’m sorry this happened to you. I can’t help it,’ ” Wolfenbarger said in an interview with The State. “I can accept an apology, but I’m not going to put myself in position where it could happen again. I’m not going back.”

Wolfenbarger said some other salons in Conway and Myrtle Beach messaged her, offering their services. Whatever she ultimately decides, Wolfenbarger said she wants all customers to receive courteous service.

“Treat your customers nicely, they are spending a lot of money,” Wolfenbarger said. “Everybody is not the same size, everybody is not in the same situation. Make an effort and be grateful for your clients.”

Bluffton, S.C., resident Don Russell talks about why he enjoys getting manicures and pedicures, and why he thinks other men should give it a try.

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