It seems the city is looking for money wherever they can get it, and that means that hair and nail salons and barbershops better watch out: authorities are fining establishments for common sense pricing practices prevalent throughout the neighborhood.
The city has issued fines ranging from $50 to $500 to at least 138 businesses so far this year – mostly salons and barbershops – for charging different prices to different genders. Business owners say the fines are ridiculous, and that the law ignores basic inherent differences between the sexes.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
The salons are among 138 businesses that have been hit this year for violating a little-known provision that has many pulling their hair: gender-pricing discrimination. The majority of violations so far this year—103—were issued to salons and barbershops.
“It’s ridiculous. I have some guys who need to come in every two weeks,” said Ania Siemieniaka, the owner of Freckle Skin and Hair, which had to pay $175 for a violation. “If I raise my prices, I’ll lose all my male customers.”
The city’s Department of Consumer Affairs began stepping up enforcement of the law last year, when it issued 580 gender-pricing violations to businesses, more than double the 212 doled out the year before.
… The fines for first-time violations range from $50 to $200, while those for subsequent ones are $100 to $500.
Nearly all the fines have resulted from DCA sweeps, in which inspectors pound pavement and give fines to all the businesses in violation of the law along their route. It appears almost none of the fines resulted from customer complaints.
That’s because the pricing policy likely makes as much sense to customers as it does to the business-owners. A woman’s hair is harder to cut, while a man’s cuticles are harder to correct.
“It cannot be the same. It’s much more work to do the men,” [a salon manager] said. “Most men, they need a good cleaning. They’re contractors, you need to do a lot of work on their nails.”
At Vanilla Hair Spa, manager Oksana, who didn’t want to give her last name, said the charge to wax men used to be $5 more than for women.
“If someone’s waxing a man’s back and a woman’s back, it’s like day and night,” she said. “Of course it takes longer for men. It’s more labor, more product.”
… But Leon Kogut of Leon’s Fantasy Cut in Newkirk Plaza in Brooklyn said he’s never been made aware of the law in 21 years of business.
“The guy says this is discrimination,” said Mr. Kogut. “What about insurance? Man’s life insurance costs more than women. Same thing with car insurance.”