I spoke with a young journalist yesterday, who was following up on last Sunday’s New York Times article, The Price of Nice Nails. She contacted me after I tweeted about the speedy response the article had resulted in.
It had taken just one day (!) for the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, to announce he would be doing something “as soon as possible” about the horrendous abuse of nail salon employees in New York.
I know that New York City isn’t the only place in the country where a summer pedicure is de rigeuer, so what this article exposed is no doubt true across much of the United States. Some of the disturbing ways in which women are treated in this industry are: women having essentially to pay for their jobs, women not being allowed to talk in the salon, and a race-based preferential system that dictates who gets the best clients.
If that doesn’t disgust you, I don’t know what will. It disgusts me, but it doesn’t astound me. Every time I pass a nail salon that advertises a “mani/pedi” for $25, I wonder who it is who believes that the close and personal service of one individual, in this day and age, and in this country, should cost that little. One of my favorite hashtags is #getreal.
So what did the journalist I spoke to ask me about? She asked me if I frequented nail salons. I do. I told her that I get pedicures in the summertime. She asked me if the article influenced me and if I will change my behavior because of it. It did and I will.
I told her that although I’ve always been wary of cheap nail salons, and try to go to places where it at least looks like the staff are well treated, I will definitely scrutinize my salon much more closely the next time I go.
I think that if we can’t pay a fair price for our little luxuries, then maybe we shouldn’t indulge in them. We can’t do a lot about most of humanity’s suffering, but we can do this. #getreal