An upscale London beauty salon is gaining some attention today after a report surfaced that the business charges larger customers a so-called “fat tax” for leg waxes.
The salon, MM Bubbles, is currently running a $33 leg waxing promotion. But there are limits to the promotion. To be specific – you must be under a size 12. Women over a size twelve will be charged an extra $8.50 for the waxing, and women over size 18 could be charged an extra $16.00.
The report was confirmed by British newspaper The Sun, which sent a plus-size woman to the salon for a leg waxing. The woman, identified as Helen, was charged the extra $8.50 for her waxing.
“I know maybe for you it is not very nice but I use more stuff,” Helen recalls the owner telling her. “Luckily, I'm okay with my size. But for other women worried about their weight this could really devastate them.”
Huffington Post writer Ellie Krupnick points out that the concept of a “fat tax” is not unique to the beauty industry. A proposed Nevada legislation would add a similar tax to any meal that is over 500 calories. Meanwhile Mexico’s senate recently passed a one-peso-per-liter tax on soda and an 8% tax on junk food. The difference, though, is that these other taxes are based on a product, not a person. A more fitting example is the on-going debate amongst airline companies about adding fees for heavier passengers.
Writer Samantha Brick went on the Today Show in April and openly argued that airline companies should charge heavier customers more. Brick argues that it is not an issue of discrimination, but of simple economics.
“Planes go in the air using fuel and that fuel is calculated on the weight of cargo and passengers. If we are all getting bigger then we need to pay more to pay for the fuel,” she said.
A representative from MM Bubbles recently released a statement defending the economic soundness of the salon’s tax.
“Please note that this is quite common in beauty salons in London,” the statement said. “Our waxing prices are advertised as "starting from." I don't see this approach as a discrimination against larger persons, is just common sense. If we use more time and products on one particular customer we need to add a small surcharge. We cover our extra costs in this way. The same logic is applied when someone is going in a hairdressing salon. He/she will be charged depending on the length of the hair.”