The Real Price of Beauty

Yesterday I wrote a piece about my experience in a Downtown Stamford nail salon. At the time, I was reluctant to name the Salon because I didn’t want people to avoid going there given my slightly odd experience. The reason for this was that when in the salon I recognised that the workers must be poor, especially given the request for tips from the lady who painted my nails and gave me a massage. However, perhaps rather shortsightedly, I assumed that everyone – owners and workers – in the establishment was poor. It didn’t occur to me that perhaps the owners of the salon were exploiting the lady that did my nails.

I, of course, have no proof this lady was being exploited, she was perhaps earning a reasonable wage and was only trying her luck in getting tips from me. However, I think if I truly believed this was the case I wouldn’t have given her a 50% tip.

I write this because, although initially I didn’t consider my experience on a deeper level than spending more than I’d bargained for that day, a dear friend of mine pointed me in the direction of a recent article written in the New York Times which has made me think differently. The article, accessible here, discusses the dire conditions many workers in salons across New York City face.

This revelation has immensely saddened me and has driven me to write this post in attempt to increase awareness of the way people are being treated in this industry.

Currently, I can’t decide whether it makes most sense for me to keep going to the salon and giving the lady the biggest tips I can afford, in an effort to help. Or, if I should be boycotting the place to it shut down. One thing is for sure, I will think twice about whether I ever set foot in another nail salon.

Incidentally, the salon is called Nails Hollywood, and is actually Korean owned. I leave you to make up your own mind about this place…

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