As a worker in the service industry, it can often be difficult to say no to a paying customer, particularly when business isn’t that great.
But if the customer is demanding a service that could be harmful, is it wrong to refuse?
Nail salon owner and Reddit user nail-lady-throwaway recently encountered one such demanding customer, so she turned to the subReddit “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) to see if she was in the wrong, asking:
“AITA for refusing to do a child’s nails?”
The original poster (OP) explained what led up to the incident.
“Throwaway as I don’t want this tied to my main account.”
“So I run a small nail salon in my city. Yesterday, this woman came in, and brought her daughter, who was roughly 6? 7? Maybe 8?”
“To be honest, I’m not quite sure of her age but she was definitely in grade school.”
“Because of how things have been going lately, business has been a little slow, so her daughter waited in the lobby area while the mother had her nails done.”
“She seemed nice, we got to chatting and I mentioned she was my last appointment for the day and that business has been really slow as of late and I might close up early today.”
When the mom asked the OP to do her daughter’s nails, the OP was more than happy for the extra business.
“She asked if I could do her daughters nails after her own and that she would pay for both sets. I said sure, I love my job and I could definitely use the business!”
“I figured the little girl would want her nails painted, some gems, maybe a few stickers or a cool design and that would be that.”
“So when the mother was finished and paid, I brought her daughter to my station and started asking her what she liked/what colors she wanted, etc.”
But the mom had a very specific vision for her daughter’s nails.
“She looked super excited, but then the mom interrupted and said ‘she can get what I have!’ Mind you this lady has long, full acrylics with heavy gems.”
“So I asked if the little girl just wanted the same color/maybe some cool gems like mom. The mom interrupted yet again and said ‘no no, exactly like me! She can be my mini me!'”
The OP explained the harmful effects acrylic nails can have on kids, but the mom wasn’t having any of it.
“I laughed politely and told her it wasn’t good for a child to have acrylic nails as they can damage the natural nail bed, and I would be happy to make a more age-appropriate matching style.”
“She kept insisting and when I wouldn’t give in, the mom started getting visibly upset, telling me she didn’t understand why I couldn’t do that, that it didn’t matter, she gets acrylics all the time, etc.”
“I told her that I would not be doing her daughter’s nails as I didn’t want to ruin her natural nails and damage them.”
Eventually the OP told the mom to leave.
“The more she tried to convince me, the more I got annoyed, and eventually I told the mom to please leave. The mom got so upset, grabbed her daughter, and left.”
“I feel like an a**hole because I turned away a paying customer and her poor daughter looked so upset. Other nail techs in my position may have just done it anyway.”
“I feel like I could have compromised more.”
Redditors weighed in on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
They assured the OP she was right for trying to protect the child’s nail health.
“NTA. You are a better person to that little girl than her mother is.”
“Acrylic nails for a child?! That is definitely A – hole territory.”—activelurker777
“Yeah, WTF?? Next time just say something like you could lose your license or that it’s illegal or something… goes against health code violations… etc. Because it should, if it doesn’t!”
“It would rip her thin little natural nail bed off or just devastate it. And then you’d have to deal with the mother’s tirade tantrum on the other end once that happened.”—Agreeable_Tale1305
“Nail tech here. At my salon, we don’t even paint gel polish on little kids.”
“They get regular polish and a cute design. That’s it. Nothing that can damage their nails.”—DemonicAnjul
“NTA you’ve already tried compromising with suggesting a more child friendly style but the mother was adamant on her position. If she wants it done, she could get it somewhere else.”
“Getting your nails done is a luxury so you’re free to deny service.”—Em_TD
If the OP had agreed to do the nails, who knows what could’ve happened?
“NTA because fast forward a few weeks she would have blown you up with nasty phone calls and reviews online saying you ruined her daughters nails permanently.”—goosegrl21412
“NTA. You might have lost a customer, which obviously sucks, but you did the right thing.”
“That little girl could have even injured herself or someone else with those. She doesn’t know to be more cautious with long a** nails, or to keep the undersides clean.”
“Can you imagine a kid trying to play at the park with nails on? That mom was not thinking clearly.”—Pining4Cones
“Can you imagine the mom’s reaction when her daughter accidentally rips off a nail at recess? Mom would blame the nail tech for her daughter’s pain and suffering.”—TitaniaT-Rex
“This is what makes what this lady was asking for so ridiculous, to me. Not considering that acrylics are bad for your natural nails at first thought would be one thing.”
“But anyone who gets long acrylics knows how easy it can be to break them and how bad it hurts! Obviously a little kid would be much more likely to snag them in something and hurt themself.”
“How careless can you be to not consider how badly this could hurt your kid? Not to mention how inconvenient they are, that you have to pretty much change how you use your fingers entirely.”
“I’ve forgotten that I just got finger extensions and poked myself in the eye countless times and I’m a grown a** woman. Unreal.”—Slime__queen
It sounds like the OP made the right decision in denying the mom’s demands.
While the little girl may be upset now, the OP can rest assured knowing that the girl’s hurt feelings are nothing compared to the physical pain she could’ve experienced by accidentally ripping off one of her new acrylic nails.