When A Description Is Too Accurate….Or Why People Need A Filter On Their Mouths

by admin on November 4, 2014

Here’s a quick nasty customer story: I am a hair stylist, and my salon is in a popular shopping center so we get a lot of walk-ins, so sometimes when those walk-ins want to return they forget the name of the stylist they saw (even though it is on a business card we hand you, but things get lost). A woman called for me, trying to say the blonde girl. Well, there are a lot of us blondes here, she needed to be more specific, what part of the salon was she seated at the first time, we all have assigned spots, then we can identify your stylist. She says, “I sat at such and such part and that she was kind of fat. Not obese, but a chubby or chunky kind of girl.”  Not only that, my manager told me exactly how the customer described me. I don’t know who is worse, the customer for being rude or my manager for repeating it!! I tacked on an extra color charge, which normally I won’t do, as I clearly need the extra money to feed my face. 1031-13

Your manager utterly lacked any discretion in passing on the information to you.  What purpose does it serve for you to have known that much detail the customer used to figure out which stylist she was remembering?  People need to think about the consequences of their choice of words and if those words will edify or tear down the hearer.   A gracious and professional manager would have listened to the customer, figured out which stylist it was, mentally edited out the non too flattering description and merely informed you of the appointment details.

The question should be, “Who is being served by passing on that information?”  And if the answer is, “Gee, that would be me because I’m going to get some kind of freaky thrill watching someone else get offended or hurt,” then you (generic) need to consider your motives for blabbering details that serve no useful purpose.

{ 110 comments… read them below or add one }

DGS November 4, 2014 at 8:52 am

The customer was trying to be descriptive (and utterly lacked discretion), but it’s the manager who needed his or her mouth stapled shut. I’d say the extra charge was misplaced; as the manager is really at fault here for being rude and cruel.

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Jinx November 4, 2014 at 8:53 am

Honestly, the fact that that’s the only way she can remember you or describe you says a lot more about her than it does you.

I have friends who when telling stories of other people will insert not-nice snippets like that in describing others. They do it as if innocuously, saying “Oh I was in line and the cashier had terrible teeth” when the cashier (and their teeth) has nothing to do with the story.

To me, the ability to only see the unflattering (and rehash it to others) speaks of a great self-insecurity. Something the customer and the manager must share.

No person on this earth is perfect, and I don’t think it’s necessary or polite to describe people in terms of your perceptions of their imperfections.

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amii77 November 5, 2014 at 2:11 am

I don’t think it’s necessarily a case of a person showing self-insecurity. But rather, it’s often easier to describe irregularities or imperfections in people because they are easier to notice. If you say “she was the well-dressed girl” or “she had nice teeth”, that could mean anything. My idea of “nice teeth” might be different than another person’s idea of “nice teeth”.

But a person with bad teeth or a high-pitched voice or a lazy eye is going to be instantly recognizable, just like a large person amongst a group of thin people will be recognizable for their weight.

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AnaMaria November 4, 2014 at 8:58 am

Oh, wow! What a slap in the face to the OP- she must have done an excellent job for this customer to return and request her again, and the manager has to turn it into an insult. I’m not particularly surprised by the customer- some people are just clueless when it comes to tact- but if you have enough sense of professionalism to manage a salon, then you should know better than to repeat something that is so hurtful.

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JO November 4, 2014 at 6:25 pm

This exactly.

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Another Sarah November 4, 2014 at 9:01 am

I can’t believe admin hasn’t said anything about the fact the stylist overcharged her client based on a description she found unflattering.
The customer did not attempt to insult the stylist, she gave a description of her to someone who she had no idea was going to pass that info on. She wasn’t rude about her, or fatshaming, or mean in any way. She described her.
The stylist doesn’t like being described as chunky or chubby, well that’s a shame but that’s just life.
I get called “the large one with glasses, not fat but quite big” or words to that effect. You know how pleasant it is? Not at all. What I do about it? I get over myself because the most descriptive things about me are that I wear glasses and could stand to lose 2 stone

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Tracy P November 4, 2014 at 9:10 am

At least the next time the woman comes in, she’ll easily be able to say: “I don’t want to be done by the blonde woman that overcharges.”

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Lil November 4, 2014 at 9:10 am

I don’t think the stylist overcharged her. I think she usually waives the additional amount for extra color as a courtesy to her customers and she chose not to do this in this instance.

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B November 4, 2014 at 10:00 am

Agreed. The manager was an idiot for passing this on – at best stupid, at worse downright mean – but the OP was not there when the customer was trying to describe her. If there are loads of blondes and one has a different physical characteristic, it’s the easiest way to identify her. The customer did not say, “She was a big fat minger”. There were many kinder ways she could have said it, but as Sarah points out, she’d have no idea a *manager* would pass this on. She just wanted to identify you.

I have been described as ‘the stocky blonde one with the big nose’. Yep, well, you aren’t going to mix me up with my colleagues when you meet me.

OP, did you honestly defraud your client with your ‘extra colour charge’? If you did, you are as unprofessional as your manager.

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Kirstenh November 4, 2014 at 12:48 pm

I don’t think the OP overcharged or defrauded the customer, I think she just included an legitimate charge that she would normally waive for repeat customers.

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Eva November 4, 2014 at 10:36 am

“the large one with glasses, not fat but quite big”
is something I would use to describe a colleague of mine. She is NOT fat, just sturdy. Big bones or something like that.

And frankly, in giving a description people tend to start with the most obvious parts. Size. Haircolour, possibly skincolour and, yes, weight. Why beginn with Make-up or Earrings? Or clothes, that most likely have been changed anyway?

The description was not flattering, but not insulting and well… weight is something that distinguishes us from others. I have no doubt, that I was for the longest time “the tall skinny one with glasses” (and boy, would I have loved a few extra pounds.)

The boss should have known better, than to repeat the exact words, if that is what she did. But we should learn to accept a few imperfections. And yes, I wish I had learned that as a skinny teenager.

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MichelleP November 4, 2014 at 11:04 am

You honestly don’t think that the customer was being rude in describing the OP as “kind of fat, chubby, chunky kind of girl”???? I hope that’s a joke. That is cruel, unnecessary, and certainly is fatshaming.

I have to agree that the OP shouldn’t have put on an additional charge, but it couldn’t have been much or too out of the ordinary otherwise the rude customer would have noticed.

OP, you handled it better than I would have. There was no excuse for the customer saying it, and certainly no excuse for your manager repeating it.

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monkey's mommy November 4, 2014 at 11:43 am

No. The customer wasn’t rude. She didn’t say that to OPs face. She tried describing her as a blonde and was pressed for more. She doesn’t know OP well enough to give much more information than what she saw. Its likely her clothes and jewelry and even hairstyle for the day were different, even if she recalled what the stylist wore last. What’s left? Look, as one chunky blonde to another, it smarts but its life. If we don’t care for the accuracy of the description, we know how to change that. The manager is the idiot for telling OP, since OP didn’t actually hear it. And manager may have embellished. You were in the wrong to charge her more either way.

With that said, this chub is heading downstairs to the corporate gym 😉

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Eva November 4, 2014 at 1:24 pm

You put that better, than I did 🙁

I do not try to judge People. Sometimes a description is just a description, even though I try to avoid words like “fat”, unfortunately there are skinny or fluffy People running around. And one needs words to describe them.

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imc November 4, 2014 at 3:59 pm

I completely agree with monkey’s mommy (and boy, was that fun to write).
Honestly, what other detail was the costumer supposed to remember about a person who was standing behind her back the whole time they were together?? Does anyone here spend the best part of their hair treatment committing to memory their stylist’s physiognomy and eye color through the mirror?? Or do you do that in the 40 seconds they’re eye-to-eye with the person telling them what you want done to their hair??

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another Laura November 5, 2014 at 2:35 am

But there are less inflammatory ways of saying it. Full-figured, curvy, robust. Even plump is better than chunky. Chunky is a discriptor for peanut butter, not people.

LonelyHound November 5, 2014 at 10:28 am

In response to anotherLaura’s reply to this post. Even the “less inflammatory” ways of saying things can ruffle feathers and offend people. My mother calls me homely which is a less inflammatory way to say unattractive or plain. In other words, ugly. She was trying to nicely say that she did not consider me pretty, but the word hurt all the same (still does to this day). You cannot tell what will offend people. Your “polite” way of saying something might offend someone, and the “impolite” way might not. The long and the short of it is that the manager should never had relayed the description to the OP.

Hollyhock November 4, 2014 at 3:19 pm

I disagree that the customer was rude.

We might not like it when they apply to us, but “chubby,” “chunky” and even “fat” or “obese” are perfectly serviceable adjectives, not slurs or insults.

To use terms like “curvy” or the worse “fluffy” to describe people who are substantially overweight is to water down our language.

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admin November 4, 2014 at 5:01 pm

I was taught at a young age to describe my large grandmothers as “pleasantly plump”.

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NostalgicGal November 6, 2014 at 12:09 am

Generously built… is one way I can put it. I describe myself as ‘well upolstered’.
If you are larger than average it is not easy to say it without hurting someone…

Dannielle November 5, 2014 at 2:17 am

As a fat girl, I agree! Nothing annoys me more than people who try to be overly-nice about my weight to the point where they sound ridiculous. I’m not “curvy” (unless you could my big round belly as a curve!). I’m not “fluffy”. And I’m certainly not “big boned”, “plump”, or a “slightly bigger girl” (as my grandma likes to say).

I’m fat. And it should be okay to say that. I enjoy eating and its no secret to my friends that I eat a lot. Why should people tip-toe around describing me as I am? I’m not ashamed. But it seems a lot of people are ashamed FOR me! D:

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Eva November 6, 2014 at 4:21 am

I used “fluffy” just for the occasion. Sorry about any misunderstanding.

Inspired by the time I sat beside someone of the rounder persuasion in a cinema and well… he sort of spilled over into my seat. Like a big fluffy pillow. Although I wouldn’t have been as creeped out by a pillow pressing against me. I mean, not his fault, but still… I did not enjoy myself.

Weaver November 5, 2014 at 6:28 am

I’ve never heard of “fluffy” being used to describe an overweight person before! (And agree with you that it’s rather ridiculous). If someone used the word fluffy to me when describing someone I didn’t know, I’d picture a rather diminutive, ditsy, meek person with fluffy hair. Oh well, live and learn!

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NostalgicGal November 6, 2014 at 12:12 am

I’m also ‘fluffy’. The farther I get past menopause (early and surgery induced) the more body hair I seem to be able to muster. My arms for example are not dark or heavy but it is ‘thick’ and right after a shower I am definitely ‘fluffy’. (Last year I grew a moustache and succeeded for Movember, the friend paid the bet too, it was for a good cause. This year we both agreed just to make the donation….)

Another Sarah November 5, 2014 at 9:45 am

I actually find curvy quite offensive. Curvy is describing a body shape (hourglass). That people use it incorrectly to describe fat people says a lot about society’s perception of the “right” shape – namely that girls with larger boobs/hips that don’t fit a skinny waif image can be fat-shamed now, whether they’re actually overweight or not.

And frankly all those “nicer” words sound like mealy mouthed euphemisms – make no mistake, we all know what they mean. If I was going to be offended about being described by my weight, I’d be far less offended by someone saying “Oh Sarah, she’s the chubby girl” and everyone getting on with their lives than someone dancing around the word fat as though it was a dirty word. Because by doing that, to me, they’re making a really big deal out of the fact I’m overweight.

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tsukinon December 12, 2014 at 3:53 pm

Yes. Dancing around the word fat is ten times more offensive. I’m fat. Okay. I weigh more than what’s considered normal and a higher percentage of body fat. This says nothing about who I am as a person, no more than having straight hair or pale skin. But when someone dances around using the word “fat” for a “nicer” term, that’s even more upsetting because it says that my body is so offensive to people that they can’t even describe my appearance with a neutral term.

ImJustSaying November 4, 2014 at 11:44 am

It sounds as if the OP usually waives the color charge for people but for this particular customer, who couldn’t find the words curvy or fuller in her vocabulary, she got charged for the additional service.
I think the manager would notice a stylist charging people for treatments they didn’t have done. If the woman got a color treatment she should pay for it. If the stylist chose to waive it for any particular reason that’s her right because the money would come from her pocket.

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Miss Raven November 4, 2014 at 2:56 pm

That’s how I read it, as well. “Which I normally wouldn’t do”… Oftentimes, coloring or highlights are charged on a volume basis. Something like “Starting at $30” which means that if you have a ton of hair or want a very complex coloring job, the salon reserves the right to up the price, which is logical. I read it as though the OP typically does not charge an additional fee in this way (prerogative), but she didn’t want to do this tactless client any favors.

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LiLi November 4, 2014 at 1:03 pm

I am reading this as “I normally waive my charge for this service, but since she was mean I charged her by the book” My stylist does something similar with color, ie if I am combining all over color with partial highlights my regular stylist usually charges me for a full highlight instead of the all over color and the partial highlight separately, which saves me about $15.

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SusanB November 4, 2014 at 9:04 am

The customer was asked for a description and she gave the description she remembered. While unflattering there in no reason for your boss to have repeated this to you. None, it serves no good purpose and she should know that.

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Wild Irish Rose November 4, 2014 at 9:37 am

The boss shouldn’t have repeated what the customer said. Period. However, for OP to tack on extra charges because of it is beyond uncalled for and deceptive. What on earth makes you think, OP, that people aren’t going to figure stuff like that out? Shame on you for cheating your customer, because that’s what you did. If I were that customer, not only would I never return, but I’d be telling my friends to stay away from you as well. And if I were your boss and I found out you did this, fired is what you would be.

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admin November 4, 2014 at 11:40 am

Hair stylists of salons I have patronized have the discretion to charge more or discount. There is nothing unethical about this since salon prices are usually listed as “Starting at $…..” with the exception of the bargain cutters like Costcutters, etc If you have exceptionally think/curly hair, it will cost you more to have certain services. If you come in with purple hair and want it changed to green, there will be added charges to a normal color fee. Behave like a jerk or be a difficult client and very likely your stylist will add an additional $10 charge to your bill. Act with kindness and your stylist is likely to discount the charges. Most stylists are independent contractors renting booth space in an established salon and therefore quite free to determine how much they wish to be paid for certain services, including having to deal with difficult clients.

If the OP’s client was that obtuse and rude in describing the OP on the phone behind her back, one could conjecture that the client was similarly rude in the chair.

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Tracy P November 4, 2014 at 3:45 pm

Well geez, if we’re going to throw in conjecture, we can think that the woman didn’t actually describe the OP as the manager said. Heck, the manager just might not like the OP’s weight and made up the woman’s description to try to shame her.

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Another Sarah November 4, 2014 at 9:32 pm

Extra charges work off extra work. If you have purple hair you want to go green the colour will have to be stripped first so you are paying for two procedures. If you have extra thick or curly hair, it will take more time to cut your hair, meaning the stylist will not be able to book as many appointments. You are paying for the extra time. Although the cards rarely say it because it’s too complex, there is usually a very distinct pricing structure
But being charged extra over second hand gossip? That is grotesquely unethical.
And I absolutely don’t buy that this was choosing not to waive a fee.
You don’t say you ‘tacked on an extra charge’ if what you did was not give her a regular’s discount. Moreover the stylist said she works in a mall setup where repeat customers are rare. There would be no logic in discounting every stranger who walks in, otherwise why have the extra price bracket?

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Mags November 4, 2014 at 9:49 am

I am obese, and some but not all of my aunts are obese. My mother is naturally thin — always has been, always will be. You know how magazine articles always include people’s ages? (Jane Smith (37) watched a movie yesterday. Bob Jones (29) also enjoyed it.) That is my mother with weight. “Sue Doe came by for a visit. She’s lost a lot of weight. She’s not slim, but she is more streamlined.” “I hired a new electrician yesterday. I’d say he was about 165 pounds. He did a good job, if you ever need someone.” Not with every person, but uncomfortably often. It has never occurred to me, when she is telling me a story about someone I have never met and probably never will meet, to ask what their weight is. If she’s seen someone she hasn’t seen in years, the most important thing to me isn’t whether they’ve gained or lost weight. But that is very often the first detail she gives, completely irrelevant or not. My own theory is that she is trying to comment on my weight, but doesn’t know how to do it. I mentioned this propensity of hers to one of my brothers who is very fit. He said he’d never noticed. Maybe she does and he literally never noticed, or maybe it’s just a special service she offers to her only overweight child. I wonder if that’s the first thing she tells people about me? “Oh, yes, I have a daughter. She’s obese. Right now, she’s working on . . . ” I’ve heard her do that when talking about one of her sisters: “You’re from Pleasantville? My sister Lucy (she’s very heavy, quite obese), is thinking of moving to Pleasantville.” My mom is normally not a horrible person, but I find this trait pretty awful.

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Hollyhock November 4, 2014 at 3:21 pm

I wonder is she is worried about the health of you and her other relatives and is constantly subconsciously assessing others to reassure herself that those she loves are not too far outside the healthy margins? That might account for what admittedly is a very odd verbal tic which must get rather annoying.

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Garthl November 5, 2014 at 1:18 pm

“My mother is naturally thin”

lol

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Ladyxaviara November 4, 2014 at 9:54 am

While being described as chubby can be hurtful (and the manager definitely should have kept their mouth shut), this client obviously liked the work the OP did, enough to be a repeat customer. The OP then overcharged her as petty revenge? There goes the potential for a long term working relationship. The level of unprofessionalism is rampant throughout the entire establishment, it seems.

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Specky November 5, 2014 at 10:15 am

She didn’t overcharge the client. In her description, she stated that she included a charge that she normally might have waived for another client. This is not overcharging.

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AS November 4, 2014 at 10:12 am

As “Another Sarah” pointed out before, I too am surprised that the admin didn’t point out anything about the OP over-charging the customer, which is not only a worse offense in terms of etiquette, but outright cheating a customer.

If you look at a person, just think of what would be the first characteristics you notice. For most people, it would be whether the person is a male or female, their body type, and hair color. And maybe some special quirks, or if they are wearing glasses or not, etc.. It is hard to notice any other description, especially when the hair stylist is behind you cutting your hair. It is not always easy for a customer to remember exactly which chair they were sitting on, especially if the other chairs were not occupied at the time. So, this customer pointed out the first (neutral) description of OP saying that she had blond hair. When asked for more description, she said that OP was chubby. The manager figured out who the stylist was, and then generously (sarcasm!) shared the information with OP!

OP in turn got so fixated for being called chubby that she ignored the obvious flattery that she actually does her job so well that a one-time customer bothered to call the salon to ask for the stylist. And then comes what IMO is the worst etiquette breach – the OP overcharged the customer for a service she didn’t provide! Okay, she didn’t call you a supermodel. Because if she said that, the manager might not have gotten the right stylist – OP. But instead of beating about to bush to be “politically correct”, she just pointed out the next obvious feature of OP. Not every one has a supermodel figure, but that doesn’t make them worthless. Your insecurity is not the customer’s fault. Your manager telling you that you were called chubby wasn’t the customer’s fault either.

If the customer figured out that you had overcharged her, chances are that she’s not going to return.

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crella November 6, 2014 at 4:38 am

I thought that she charged her for something she usually did for free as a courtesy. In other words, charged her the full amount that her cut/color cost without giving her a discount on it, she didn’t charge her more than the salon charges for those services.

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Laura November 4, 2014 at 10:34 am

This is why I hate having to get descriptions of people! It often doesn’t seem flattering. Just yesterday for work I was told to check in with Laura “an older woman, frizzy brown hair, kind of frumpy.” Super unflattering description that I would NEVER repeat, but also effective in a sea of brunettes in business suits…Trying to identify people by physical characteristics always feels so rude, but sometimes necessary in this case. The manager was far more rude passing on the description than the customer was in my opinion!

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internetmama November 4, 2014 at 10:42 am

I am absolutely terrible at remembering names and faces. It’s not an insult; my brain simply does not do well with facial recognition. So if I need to remember someone I might focus on other things such as funky glasses or a cool tattoo that is displayed. Once I did refer to someone as saying she “has red hair, she’s a little plump” in a whisper to another worker, followed by “Please don’t tell her I said that.” I couldn’t think of any other way to describe her. I was relying on the coworker’s discretion and common sense to not repeat it to the lady. Your supervisor should never have told you that. She should have just said “This lady asked for you to do her hair again.”

As for the extra charge, are you saying that you padded the bill because you were mad at the customer? If that’s the case I don’t care how rude the customer was or you think she was, ethical people do not get even for a perceived slight by adding a punitive charge.

I am chubby myself. I readily admit that an apt description of me could be “the chubby, plump one with the long black hair.” That’s the reality. There’s no malice intended.

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internetmama November 4, 2014 at 6:28 pm

After reading other people’s replies I realize you did not pad the bill but simply charged what you ordinarily would have waived. That is certainly within your right but I still feel that the customer was simply trying to describe you in perhaps not the most flattering terms but the best way she could think of. It’s your manager who has the rudeness problem. Personally I would have still waived the color charge but that’s just me.

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Lindsay November 4, 2014 at 10:44 am

I don’t think anyone is to blame here other than a manager with no tact. If I’m describing someone that cut my hair once, I need to use whatever I remember. Hair color, age, build, perhaps distinctive eyeglasses, without placing a value judgment on any of it. It’s silly to require that nothing unflattering be said. It’s like insisting on beating around to the bush saying “He was tall, had dark hair, dark eyes, short dark hair, blue shirt” if what you really mean was “He was a tall black man wearing a blue shirt”. The customer was not rude. She liked the skilled service you provided and is trying to use the best way she can to be sure she gets the same stylist. I’d go so far as to say you should be grateful she requested you specifically, as that speaks to your talent. That you happen to be chubby is a fact, nothing more, nothing less.

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AnaMaria November 4, 2014 at 1:36 pm

As an ESL teacher I have students from different races and ethnicities, and sometimes if I have to leave them with a sub I’ll include physical descriptions so the sub can remember names quickly (and so the kids won’t try to switch names and cause problems). My classes are small so I can usually find a distinct feature to mention about each student (“Tallest,” “Wears pink glasses” “only boy in this class”) but there’s a few where it would be a lot easier to just say, “The only student who is Black/Asian/Latino.” Of course, you don’t throw those kinds of things around in a professional work environment, so I have to find other traits that might be more vague but create less of a risk of offending someone!

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another Laura November 5, 2014 at 2:45 am

But you could include nationality or mother tongue as a descriptor without controversy in such a class I would think. “Pedro is from Peru, Jeanne has a French accent. Sasha lived in Serbia.” These are in no way racist but will help describe the students.

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abf November 4, 2014 at 10:48 am

Here’s my question: Do you know for fact that’s what the customer said to the manager? If you didn’t hear it from the customer’s mouth, you don’t know for sure. Your manager could have been making a dig at you and the customer got the blame. I agree I would have been hurt too, but your action of overcharging based on heresay is unacceptable. The woman called and requested you. She was obviously pleased with your work. Why punish her? A happy, pleased customer is priceless.

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Specky November 5, 2014 at 10:17 am

She didn’t overcharge the customer. She included a legitimate charge that she might have normally waived.

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Livvy17 November 5, 2014 at 3:44 pm

No, she wrote “I tacked on an EXTRA color charge”….meaning in excess of normal charges.

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another Laura November 6, 2014 at 2:33 am

Or could the word “extra” apply to color rather than charge? As in the woman had highlights or multiple colors which requires more work and could thus merit a higher fee (at the stylists discretion).

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P November 4, 2014 at 11:00 am

Your boss was a bit tactless, but the customer used a descriptor – nothing more, nothing less.

You, on the other hand, deliberately overcharged her out of nothing but spite.

You come out of this smelling of *much* fewer roses than she does, OP.

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Shoegal November 4, 2014 at 11:06 am

Describing someone’s build isn’t necessarily negative information. Would it be offensive if she said the really skinny girl? If you were describing a man as a “very large stout man” would that have been viewed as a bad thing? The manager needn’t have passed on the information – like the admin said what purpose did it serve? The OP didn’t like the description and passed that negativity onto her customer.

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Goldie November 4, 2014 at 2:01 pm

“Big” is a descriptor, “curvy” is a descriptor. “Fat, chunky and chubby” is rude an unnecessary. Just like if she’d said “a bony, anorexic kind of girl” instead of “really skinny”.

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lilo November 5, 2014 at 2:25 am

Except “big” can mean anything. Some people might think “big” means fat, while others might think it means “muscular” or “stocky” or “slightly overweight”. When I was younger, there was a girl in my class who was often described as “the big girl” because she was tall and built like a likebacker (iirc she did weightlifting). “Big” can mean anything.

“Curvy” usually refers to a woman with an hourglass figure. Big boobs and hips, but small waist. So if the OP is fat and not particularly curvy, then that is another descriptor that would not apply to her.

On the other hand, “Fat”, “Chunky” and “Chubby” DO describe a fat girl. If someone is fat then they are fat. Why is that such an offensive thing to be? I’m fat. I’m not ashamed to be fat. People need to stop acting like “fat” is a dirty word.

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Goldie November 5, 2014 at 11:13 am

Well if it’s not offensive, then why was the OP offended? And most people understand what “big” stands for, these days. I doubt the manager would’ve gone out of his mind looking for a muscular girl that works for him had the customer said that OP was “big”.

I’m not fat FWIW… and I don’t think I have it in me to call anybody fat. Especially if it’s someone whose service I liked so much that I’ve come back to ask for more.

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InTheEther November 6, 2014 at 7:35 pm

We’re kinda fighting over euphemisms here. Yeah, a lot of people substitute big for overweight, but that’s like insisting on saying a woman has “close female friends” instead of just saying she’s gay. We’re talking about a state of being here. Pointing to Kendra’s post as to what would really be mean.

And actually, I know a lot of people who would actually be confused as to whether “big” meant built like a tank or overweight. If you were trying to describe someone to me I would probably stop you and make you clarify which it was. My brother, while a little chubby, is 6′ tall and matches the built like a tractor description, playing defense in school and now working a job where he has to haul around heavy machine parts. On the other hand my mother is naturally built very petite but for a lot of her adult life has been overweight. Trying to use the word big to describe both is just plain inaccurate.

On another note, look up the article “4 Offensive Words That Started Out as the Polite Alternative” (if you have thin skin prepare to not like the site). Even if everyone goes along with just saying big instead of overweight, by your logic everyone knows that’s what it stands for and therefore the word “big” as a descriptor is well on it’s way to becoming a rude word.

Kendra November 6, 2014 at 10:29 am

I disagree, “Fat, chunky and chubby” are descriptors. “Lard a**, Blubber Mountain, Miss Piggy, Beached Whale, Two-Ton Annie” are rude and unnecessary. The customer was trying to describe a hairstylist she likes and wanted to make sure she got the right one. The hairstylist decided to take offense, which is her right, but the line about needing the “extra money to feed my face” speaks more about the OP’s personal insecurities than anything the customer said. I learned a few years ago that we all have something about ourselves we are less than pleased with. The way I see it, there are three ways to handle this: change what we don’t like, make peace that it is what it is or continue to make ourselves and everyone around us miserable with unmet expectations. I chose to make peace with it.
By the way I, and other women I know, have been called all of those names at one time or another. THAT is “fat shaming”. Describing someone’s body type is not.

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MichelleP November 4, 2014 at 11:06 am

I am a large woman and have struggled with others’ cruelty all my life, including my colleagues and bosses. One in particular stands out: I worked for an older woman and her son who owned a hotel. Worst job I ever had, but long story short, in one of the (many) calls I got from the mother when I was off work, she told me that a customer described me as “the huge woman”. The sad part is she honestly had no idea why I got offended.

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just4kicks November 4, 2014 at 4:22 pm

Yes, I’ve gotten that too, sadly. I know I’m overweight, I’ve got eyes and mirrors at home. I sure as hell don’t need it pointed out to me! I was once referred to as, by a customer that had a complaint (not about me), but said to the manager, “No, it wasn’t the OLD FAT ONE, it was the young blonde FAT one….Thanks, thanks alot….

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Dyan November 4, 2014 at 11:15 am

rude, the customer was rude, YOU never say anything like that..and to someone who is going to work on your HAIR…she is lucky she did not end up with a bowl cut

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B November 5, 2014 at 4:38 am

She didn’t say it to the hairdresser. She said it to the manager when she had to pick out which blonde the OP was. The OP should never have been told this was said.

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Molly November 4, 2014 at 11:24 am

I’m unclear as to whether the OP overcharged the customer or just didn’t waive a legitimate fee that she would usually waive? Obviously, overcharging someone would be grossly unprofessional and childish. Either ignore it or refuse them service, no need to cheat them!

Like others said, the manager seems to be the rude person in this scenario. I think it is possible or even likely that customer assumed her description would not be repeated. Anyway, if you are overweight, people are going to call you fat sometimes. If you are normal weight (whatever that is), people are still going to call you fat sometimes. It might sting a little, but sometimes people don’t mean any harm and are just ignorant or putting their foot in their mouth. If you can ignore it, laugh it off, or politely rebuke them, you’ll probably have a happier outlook.

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Michelle November 4, 2014 at 11:25 am

I agree with the posters who said the manager should have had more discretion. There was absolutely *no* reason for her to repeat that! I think the manager was the rude one! It’s true that the customer’s description was not very flattering, but maybe she just honestly could not think of a different way to describe the OP. The fact that the OP added an extra charge as revenge/payback makes her just as rude.

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Princess Buttercup November 4, 2014 at 11:28 am

The manager is the only one to blame here. Thr customer described you as best she could. If you are plump, then you are plump, accept it or change it. Don’t get mad at others for seeing you as you are instead of how you wish you were. It was bad etiquette for the manager to repeat unneeded and potentially hurtful info and it was bad etiquette for you to charge the customer extra just because you don’t like how you look.

I am a woman of size, and I mean that in every way. I am tall and fat. My size alone makes me intimidating to many and makes my appearance stick in their minds. But I accept that I am how I am. I’m not going to shrink in height any time soon and no dieting, eating better, etc makes me lose any weight so I am what I am, big. So when people try to insult me by calling me fat, I laugh at them for being fairly pathetic. “Oh really? I’m fat?! I hadn’t noticed! Why didn’t anyone tell me?! Try harder next time Captain Obvious.” Is usually my response. And then I move on.

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mark November 4, 2014 at 11:29 am

As a general reply, I’m not sure that she overcharged her customer. It could be she often/usually offers the color service as an included service, but this time just choose to “unbundle” the charge.

I don’t usually describe people by their waist line (except for myself) because of how sensitive people can be about it. I once made the mistake of asking an overweight woman if she was pregnant. She wasn’t really offended, but I was intensely embarrassed by that mistake. I’m a little more careful nowadays.

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LonelyHound November 4, 2014 at 12:53 pm

I am straddling the fence on this one. The OP writes, “I tacked on an extra color charge, which normally I won’t do, as I clearly need the extra money to feed my face.” This says to me, at minimum, if the customer got her hair colored, she added in a charge that she normally waives. However, if the customer got a cut then she added in a charge that did not apply to the customer so overcharged her. Either way the added charge, valid or not, was done in spite. The manager was awful to relay what the customer used to describe OP with, but OP was just as awful to spitefully charge the customer something she would not normally do just because she was mad at the way she was described.

Many many people have difficulty remembering faces and names of people they have met just once. The fact that the customer wanted you enough to continue to try and give the “best” description she could speaks to your talents as a stylist. I am in the minority here when I say I do not think she was rude at all. She was using descriptors. When the blonde one failed she tried the only things of which she could think. It sucks that it was your weight, but what sucks even more is that you are so sensitive that you charged the customer out of what appears to be spite. I am on the very chubby side. It sucks when people describe me as the smiley chubby woman. I operate under the mentality if you hate it, change it. So that is what I am trying to do. So, you can either whine about it or change it.

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mark November 4, 2014 at 7:02 pm

I’m ambivalent as well. I’m not philosophically opposed to a “jerk” tax. Or not offering a discount to a “jerk” if you will. Of course as a business practice it may not be the wisest course. On the other hand charging for a service not rendered is definitely wrong. I don’t know if we have enough info to know.

I’m definitely overweight myself. I’m actually not touchy about it in general, but some people are. And I don’t find that surprising, our society often is very judgmental about people who are overweight, and in general being overweight can result in getting fewer opportunities (discrimination). Similarly other physical attributes can work against one, for instance being a short man or bald, or in the case of a female having small breasts also can work against them. So it’s natural to be sensitive to “descriptors” that are also used to “discriminate”. I’m not saying you don’t have a point, it’s just for some people it is a sensitive point for them and one shouldn’t be surprised at bit of crankiness on some peoples part.

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Miss-E November 4, 2014 at 11:38 am

I’m a person who is very sensitive about their weight and is easily insulted by the kinds of comments that people make…and even I must say I don’t think the client was intentionally trying to be hurtful. How else can you describe someone you don’t know? She obviously thought highly of the OP to request her again and since she didn’t say it directly to her I wouldn’t call it fat-shaming. It’s likely she assumed that the manager would never repeat such a thing and she really shouldn’t have. That was the cruel part.

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Ashley November 4, 2014 at 11:39 am

Wow, no comments from Admin about the spiteful color charge? Anyway…

Sometimes describing people can be hard, but the customer was a little thoughtless in their chosen description. The manager sucks for passing it on, what were they trying to accomplish by telling you that’s how a customer described you?

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Gabriele November 4, 2014 at 11:40 am

Mags,
I’d start describing your mother as ‘she obsesses about weight, not mine to me but everyone elses’. Perhaps if she hears this about herself she might reconsider. You could also start telling her it’s not your fault you didn’t inherit her ‘think’ genes and that it’s unfair that you didn’t.

I have two older sisters and they took after my mother’s side of the family. Me, I have photos of my father’s aunts and uncles…I’d fit in with that side of the family perfectly. Of course my mother (whose maiden name was Graves) suffered from Graves’ Disease (overactive thyroid) later in life and my thinner sister experienced the same thing. There were many times I rued being ‘my father’s daughter’ but in retrospect, it was a better deal for me.

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WendyW November 4, 2014 at 11:53 am

You punished a repeat customer for trying to describe you well enough to be sure she got the stylist she wanted? She liked your work enough to try and get you again and you reward her loyalty by overcharging her because she described you as chubby, sort of fat? Not cool.

She was simply trying to describe you physically, using whatever details were in her mental picture of you. And yes, people’s size is part of their physical characteristics. What else was she supposed to say? There is really no way to describe us fuller figured gals without offending *someone*.

The manager should not have passed that on, but no reason to punish your customer for making an effort to seek you out specifically, so she can pay you to provide the service she was obviously very pleased with.

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ImJustSaying November 4, 2014 at 11:54 am

It occurred to me as I read the other comments that the description could have come from the manager and been fed to the client.
I worked in a fun store that people frquent around gift giving times (Birthdays, Anniversaries, holidays) so they come in in a very spread out but regular fashion. If there was a question about who helped a particular customer i would go through some characteristcs because each of my 4 co-workers all male had pretty disinctive looks.
Was he taller or shorther
bigger or leaner build?
Did he have hair or was he bald?
Facial hair?
darker hair or more blonde?

All of these descriptions were “fed” to the customer by me. So the extra charge though I think it’s her right to choose to charge for a given service or deduct for “good behavior” could have been unwarranted.

Side note: my favorite thing was when a customer would say A woman helped me but I can’ remember her name.
I was the only woman that worked in the store for 2 years straight. Sometimes people just have bad memories

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wren November 4, 2014 at 12:02 pm

What kind of person repeats an unflattering, unkind remark to someone, ever, at all? An idiot, that’s what kind. That manager is oblivious about “what you just don’t say to someone.” Totally unnecessary to repeat the description!!! Manager is in the outer circle of etiquette hell.

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Markko November 4, 2014 at 12:05 pm

I am HUGE; if someone described me as the “fat old man with glasses, I would hardly be able to argue. Still, I must say something in defense of the customer because I have seen this happen: The owner may has asked if she was chunky or fat, then passed the answer on as though the customer actually said it. I have also seen managers really distort innocent comments or descriptions that the customer did not intend. The manager could even have made a comment more offensive by her delivery or tone of voice. In truth, I would make up the overcharge you did over time so as not to offend her. If she asks about the slightly lower price, say it is because she is a good customer and likes your service. If she really likes your talents, there should be many opportunities to return your overcharge gracefully.

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WendyW November 4, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Also, it may be your manager that initiated it.

Customer may have requested the blonde stylist she had last time. Manager has several blonde stylists, so may have said “We have several. Was she short, tall, skinny or fat? Tan or pale?”

Customer may have gone off those clues to reply “She was the tall fat one, I mean chubby, not fat, you know…”

And at that point may have realized how it came out sounding unflattering, I know I can see myself being awkward in just that way. No harm meant, just using the cues given, but sounding like a donkey’s rear without meaning to.

I feel bad for the customer here.

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Huh November 4, 2014 at 1:34 pm

The one who I think was the rudest was the manager, because I can’t come up with any kind of situation in which it was needed to tell how the OP was described by the customer, without them doing it deliberately to be mean. I’ve had people described to me in not so sensitive terms, and I’ve never ran and told them, “Guess what they said about you!” And as someone else said, are you sure the customer actually said it, or is mean manager lying to get a dig in on you?

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NostalgicGal November 4, 2014 at 3:33 pm

Color charge aside… manager shouldn’t have passed it along.

Perhaps if your station is yours alone (you don’t have to share space/time with someone else) that you can personalize it a little-just one accessory or decoration that would stand out-with management approval. Then if someone is trying to describe you, they can say ‘oh it was the one with the big jeweled/glam/bling hand mirror’ as an easier descriptor….

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just4kicks November 4, 2014 at 3:40 pm

My husband has a very bad and annoying habit of blurring out how “fat and gross” heavy women are on tv. I’m a size 14-16, and just this past Sunday night watching “Homeland”, he said “what a fat ass” Claire Danes has!!! I said “you’re crazy! She’s is like a size FOUR! If you think SHE’S fat, I’d hate to hear what goes through your head when I leave a room!!!”
I also told him to keep his dumb comments to himself, as we have a beautiful almost eleven year old daughter, whom I’m trying to instill a good body image in.

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MM November 5, 2014 at 7:47 am

what a charmer

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just4kicks November 6, 2014 at 6:48 am

@MM: Isn’t he though?
I have the sneaking suspicion they are passive aggressive remarks directed to my less than perfect body. Oh well, four kids and a less than enthusiastic attitude towards exercise will do that to a gal! 😉

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Jaxsue November 7, 2014 at 10:51 am

Claire Danes fat?! I have no words for that (obviously, I do, since I’m posting). I’ve lost 40 lbs in the past year; I am no longer overweight at all, but I still don’t have Ms. Danes’ figure. Sometimes you can’t win!

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just4kicks November 7, 2014 at 12:35 pm

@Jaxsue: Many congratulations on your weight loss! Great job! 🙂
I think Ms. Danes has a lovely figure also, she is FAR from overweight. I was a size 8 when we married almost 20 years ago. I will admit to a certain extent, I have let myself go. I also take medication which keeps the weight on. I’m currently a size 14/16, depending on the clothes. My husband drives me crazy when he does that. Our daughter is in fifth grade and getting changed for school one morning came out in a different outfit than the one she had put out the night before. I said “what’s wrong with what you picked out before bed?” “Oh…those pants make me look fat!” She is not even remotely overweight, and it hurt my heart that at the tender age of 11 she is thinking that way. I have, many times, told her dad to keep his mouth shut about ANYONE’S weight. To quote that song that’s popular right now, “Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top!”

Again, congrats on the weight loss!

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Kay L November 4, 2014 at 4:28 pm

This sounds like a terribly inprofessional hair salon.

Yes, those little cards get lost. And there is no shortage of hair stylists. This customer was actually showing a bit of customer loyalty By seeking out the same stylist but she is in the wrong salon for that.

The salon should have a record of which stylist this woman saw as well as her phone numbe and email. And if the salon does not keep this information then the stylist should. As has been pointed out stylists are independent contractors with their own business who rent a chair in the salon. It’s in their own best interest to foster a good customer relationship so that their customer never has to describe their physical features to make an appointment.

And if they are not going to do that, it is still their responsibility to be memorable in some way. Because, if you think about this, the stylist acknowleges that the little cards get lost– altho she still expects that the customer is supposed to try and hang on to it– and she acknowleges that the place is full of blonds.

She is leaving it up to her customer to try and figure out how to come back to her for an appointment and she thinks that the way the customer described her is the problem?!

It may have made her feel good to add that extra charge but its not a good way to make more money in the long run and it’s certainly not the way to built a clientele.

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Emmy November 4, 2014 at 4:46 pm

I knew somebody in college who loved the drama of telling people what she overheard about them. I guess for some people it is an ideal situation for them; they feel powerful by relaying information and hurt somebody’s feelings without being the one to blame.

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kingsrings November 5, 2014 at 1:16 am

That happened to me recently. I confided in someone I trusted about a difficult and unpleasant person I sometimes have to deal with. That trusted someone then went blabbing to the jerk about what I said about him, leading him to confront me. An angry exchange occured and now he’s going to be a bigger pain to deal with. Why my supposed friend betrayed me I haven’t a clue, other than they were on a pathetic power trip.

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Kate November 5, 2014 at 4:46 am

I knew girls like that in high school. They got a kick out of passing on idle gossip to stir up disputes – eg ‘Kate, isn’t it funny how Person X thinks you’re stuck up and a bitch?’. Started quite a few arguments until we all learned to ignore it.

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Yet Another Laura November 5, 2014 at 9:35 am

This reminds me of the old saying that it takes two people to insult you. The enemy who says it and the “friend” who makes sure you know about it.

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Skaramouche November 4, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Just adding my voice to the masses’. The customer wasn’t particularly nice but it’s my guess that she just said the first thing that came to her mind when she was put on the spot. She was trying to identify her stylist in an efficient manner and wasn’t very tactful. The only part of her statement that is offensive is “fat”, I suppose. Is “chubby” or “chunky” really so bad? Worse than plump? I’m sure the customer didn’t dream that her words would be passed on to the stylist.

What an absolute idiot of a manager. I manage a team of 6 people in a corporate IT environment. Even if someone was looking for one of them and described the person in rude terms, I would definitely not tell my team member about it. The only case in which I would even consider it is if there was a pre-established inside joke and I knew for certain that the person wouldn’t be offended.

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Cat November 4, 2014 at 8:09 pm

I ran into a like situation in a fast food restaurant. Two of us,both women, were waiting for our orders and we were of different races. The manager was trying to avoid racial descriptions so she said, “The lady with the pretty blouse is getting the fish.”
It was all I could do to stop myself from nudging the other lady and saying, “One of us is about to get our taste in clothes insulted when we find out which of us has on the pretty blouse and which of us does not.” The server was left with the problem of deciding which of us chose the prettier blouse. Er?
The manager meant well; she just was at a loss of how to describe us.

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Goldie November 5, 2014 at 11:19 am

Yeah this is a tough one. I witnessed a scene at an old job where a visitor spent a good ten minutes trying to describe the man he’d come to see to the receptionist and HR rep, and they both had no idea who he was talking about. The poor man was “well he’s tall… he’s a sharp dresser…” until the HR rep finally asked “what’s his skin color? Is he black?” – “yes” – “Ohhh, you’re looking for “Andy”! You should’ve said so!” But then, HOW could he have said so?

Couldn’t the manager have said “the lady with the green, or blue, or whatever color it was, blouse is getting the fish”, though?

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Cat November 5, 2014 at 5:43 pm

It was a multi-colored blouse, but so was the one the other lady was wearing. Maybe I should have worn my hat with the propeller on it. That makes me easy to identify in a crowd-which is where I wear it in case the person I am with loses me. “Hey, have you seen a lady wearing a hat with a propeller on the top of it?”

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Jewel November 6, 2014 at 10:48 am

My son recently sent me on a similar “wild goose chase”. We were at church before service started and he was trying to point out a woman who is one of his Sunday School teachers. He started with the general vicinity where she was sitting, her height (hard to determine when the person is SITTING), the color of her blouse, and that she was wearing her hair in a bun (which did not at all narrow down her identity).

When I said that I still couldn’t tell which one she was, he FINALLY told me that she was the black lady. Considering that our church membership is about 90% white, the color of her skin was the best identifier. When I asked him why he hadn’t led with this information he said that he didn’t want to be “racist”!!

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Noodle November 4, 2014 at 9:37 pm

A similar thing happened at my work. We assist people in finding jobs and a client came in asking for “the black lady with the big butt” (his exact words). Me not being one to look at my c0-workers’ butts, we ended up having to play a game of Guess Who because I still couldn’t figure out who he was talking about. I never did tell her how he initially described her because she really would have been hurt by it.

The manager was out of line to pass that information along. In this case as well as the case at my own workplace, all that mattered was that the clients got to see the people they were looking for.

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HinkleySo November 4, 2014 at 10:41 pm

Well, if you’re fat you’re fat. Society has become so damn sensitive. Being overweight is not good. Getting angry at someone for having eyes that can see that you’re overweight is not good either.
Typical exchange:
Person A- “THAT PERSON DESCRIBED ME AS OVERWEIGHT”
Person B- “You are clearly overweight.”
Person A- “I’m telling Tumblr that you’re a racist”

Oh, and nobody’s perfect, but that’s not a blank check that you can whip out any time someone points out obvious flaws that you can fix.

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CLS November 5, 2014 at 4:52 am

That’s a pretty mean thing to say and doesn’t really seem to fit in on an etiquette blog.

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Ergala November 6, 2014 at 3:56 pm

And exactly why should I suck it up when someone points out my flaws without being asked to do so? I recently worked very very hard to lose weight. I am still chunky but I am nowhere near the size 26 I was at the beginning of the year, I am finally in the teen sizes (as in 16, 18…you get the idea). If someone said I am fat as a descriptor I would be extremely offended. They may not know what I have gone through to lose weight and that is even MORE of a reason to keep those comments to oneself.

Every single time I look in the mirror I am well aware of my size. I obsess over it and I don’t need nor want random people pointing out that I still have a lot of work to do. I hate my nose, I don’t want people pointing out that a nose job could be beneficial to my appearance either. I didn’t gain weight from overeating and eating junk food. For me it was indeed purely hormonal and it took some serious work to combat it. 10 years to be exact. If you find it okay to point out my weight then you should accept if someone points out one of your flaws, like lack of tact or perhaps some physical feature you are insecure about. Hey why be so sensitive right?

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Maggie November 4, 2014 at 10:45 pm

It’s actually quite difficult to describe a person’s face – look at the police identikits for wanted criminals, and that’s using visuals. So we cling to something that distinguishes a person. For example, it could be height. Could be hair colour. Could be skin colour. Could be weight. Unfortunately, in today’s PC world, we only dare mention two of those four identifiers. Our brains are hard-wired from evolution, and sometimes it comes out, no matter what the PC collective berates us about. But the manager was wrong to tell the stylist how she was described.

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AD November 4, 2014 at 10:50 pm

I thought I’d visit my much-beloved grandmother one time, after years of not seeing her. Her first words upon opening the door were, “You got fat!” She didn’t say anything else to me the rest of the visit, choosing instead to gab with my father. It still stings. OP adding the charge was petty, but I fully understand the knee-jerk reflex to lash out at such a hurtful description coming from someone you thought you had a good relationship with.

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Kry November 4, 2014 at 11:52 pm

While the manager was rude to repeat the discription verbatim it sounds like it was fairly accurate and found the person she wanted.
When my daughter (then 11) and I got seperated at a carnaval she gave my discription to the security people as ‘tall, fat and has dark hair and purple glasses’. It can be just a matter of perspective and how discriptive someone can be verbally.

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AnaLuisa November 5, 2014 at 5:37 am

I agree with Lonely Hound – if you ARE really fat, it is not the epitome of tact to call you that but it still remains true that you are fat.

And, as many of the commenters have pointed out, there is a difference between telling this directly to a person and describing that person for someone else, with no offense meant, just to be able to identify him/her.

I, too, think that if anyone is to blame, it is the OP’s manager, because there was no need at all of telling her how the customer described her.

But if anyone describes me as the dark-haired one/the lady with the red jacket/the plump lady, and it is accurate, am I really entitled to be cross at him?

Do not blame the mirror if your mug is crooked, as the classic says.

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Green123 November 5, 2014 at 8:22 am

It’s really difficult to describe people, isn’t it, without making reference to some feature of theirs that they, or society, might be sensitive about.

‘It’s the tall, black girl’ = you’re a racist
‘It’s the young white guy with brown hair’ = you’re describing 97% of people who work here
‘It’s the tall girl with the red dress’ = you’re objectifying what she’s wearing
‘It’s the short girl – no, not her, the skinny one’ = you’re being heightist / sizist
‘It’s the tall lady – greyish hair, glasses’ = you’re being ageist

Etc etc etc.

OP’s boss probably shouldn’t have repeated verbatim what the customer said, especially if she knew OP was particularly sensitive about her size. But I don’t think the customer did anything wrong!

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ImJustSaying November 5, 2014 at 6:50 pm

Being the Tall Black Girl at my jobs I can speak for every last one of us (or you know just myself) when i say
IT”S OKAY TO SAY BLACK IT’S REALLY OKAY.
Or say African-American really slowly so we know that you thought saying “Black” would be too racial.
No seriously, every time a white (or Caucasian) person says African american and I’m the “only one” in the room of people they always slow it down and kind of look at me to see if the term is “okay”.
If there is no malicious intent behind you calling me black, it’s perfectly fine.
SN: This is all in fun. I’m sure people from south american descent feel the say way about me when I say Hispanic or Latino super slowly.

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Margo November 5, 2014 at 8:52 am

I agree with those saying that the manager, not the customer, was the one who was rude and unprofessional here.

It sounds to me as though the customer may well have being trying to describe you in a way which *wasn’t* rude – she specified ‘not obese’ – to me, the whole comment reads as though she was trying to give a description that would identify you without coming across as rude. Yes, she could have picked different words- would you have felt it was less offensive if she had described you are being ‘big build’ , ‘curvy’ or ‘full-figured’ rather than ‘chunky’? but she seems to have tried to soften it even though she had no reason to expect that it would be passed on to you.

I also agree that I would expect a salon to keep details – I know when I ring mine for an appointment I usually say that I’ve been before but don;t recall who I saw – they don’t appear to have any problem checking (of course, since I tend to make appointments at the last minute, I very rarely get the same person twice, but that’s not thier fault!)

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jessica townsend November 5, 2014 at 10:51 am

I am almost 6 foot and im fat, big boned and some msucle. I am a bouncer so in my job this is a major asset especially as a female. As you can guess I have to deal with a lot of the more impolite and aggressive members of society. I have lost count of how much abuse and names I have been called. I just dont care anymore im immune to it. most of my customers call me ‘putrid fat scummy pig’ daily and thats being polite lol. If one of the people I dealt with screamed that I was ‘kinda chunky’ I would probably take it as a ccompliment hahahaha 🙂

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Livvy17 November 5, 2014 at 3:51 pm

The manager was rude to share the information that he/she pressed the customer into divulging, however, if the description is accurate, and the OP is upset by it, the OP should work on herself, not work over the customer with extra charges. (and the OP herself describes them as EXTRA, not just withholding a discount that she normally provides, etc. She’s quite clear that it was done to spite the customer for what she may or may not have told the manager.)

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gellchom November 6, 2014 at 12:50 pm

I agree that the customer wasn’t rude.

The first thing anyone would say trying to describe me is that I’m short. It would be silly not to — “the woman with brown hair and brown eyes and a medium build” doesn’t tell you much, does it? If I had only one leg, that’s what they should start with. If I were the only white person or the only Jew there, it wouldn’t make someone racist or antisemitic to start with those things, either.

I’m chiming in to add that those who accuse her of “fat shaming” and also insist that people should avoid “chubby,” “chunky,” and even “fat” in favor of “pleasantly plump” or something like that seem to me to be trying to have it both ways. Look, if it’s not disgraceful to be fat — and it’s not! — then why is the word “fat” rude? She didn’t say “that gross woman” or “that big slob.”

I’m 5’1″ and 57 years old. What would it say if I would complain that there’s nothing wrong with being short or old but at the same time insist on being called “petite” instead of “short” and get my back up at being called “old” or “ma’am”?

So if you really do accept yourself as you are, accept the words, too. Think about what it means to insist that accurate descriptors are insults.

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Another Sarah November 6, 2014 at 7:19 pm

Well said,

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Tara November 8, 2014 at 9:11 pm

Ugh, the proper term is “heavyset” or “big,” but only when it’s relevant, as it was when this woman was trying to figure out who her stylist was. I go with “heavyset” when referring to women, or “big” when referring to men, but only if there’s any reason that weight should matter at all. Saying someone is fat is just rude. “Fuller figure” would work too, though I don’t use that one because that’s not something that’s already part of my usual vocabulary.

And the manager was absolutely rude to pass on “OH that customer said you’re fat!!” What good does that do anyone?

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nicole November 19, 2014 at 3:04 am

I wouldn’t worry too much about what the customer said. People sometimes have funny perceptions of size. I’m an nz size 8-10 which would be American size 2-4 and 5ft2. A few have described me as being ‘curvy’ or ‘fuller figured’ before which I always find a great laugh. Other people describe me as tiny or skinny. It’s just someone elses perception, along with lack of a brain to mouth filter. Don’t get hung up on it. But charging a customer extra because you felt insulted? Unprofessional, mean spirited and immature. Yes the customer was rude and tactless, but what you did is a hell of a lot ruder in my eyes. You’re a professional and as a stylist, you should know by now that working with the public requires a thick skin. Suck it up. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Honestly, I hope the customer will find a stylist who can handle themselves a lot more professionally.

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