Salon Accused Of "Black Hair" Surcharge - U2 Feedback

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Old 05-30-2005, 05:02 AM   #1
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Salon Accused Of "Black Hair" Surcharge

I can definitely see how this woman would be offended by that, why can't the salons just set a standard price for certain types of services and just leave it at that? Maybe the customers could just tip more depending upon the amount of work done, but then of course the owner doesn't get the money I know a salon I used to go to charged less for men, I don't even know what the prices are for men/women are at the salon I go to now. I hope there's no difference..I know the stylist I go to, the men she sees tend to be a much bigger pain in the backside over their hair..

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - An Alabama woman is seeking class-action status for a lawsuit against a Dillard's Inc. hair salon for allegedly charging black women more than white women.

Debbie Deavers Sturvisant alleges that a hair salon in a Tuscaloosa, Ala., Dillard's department store charged $35 to wash and set her hair, while white women paid $20 for the same service.

Sturvisant's lawsuit could bring a whole new level of attention to the general practice across the country of charging differently for hair care based on ethnicity.

Officials in Arizona, California, Florida, Maryland and Massachusetts have already addressed race- and sex-based pricing differences at hair salons.

"The stereotype is that all black hair is the same. But that's erroneous, just as all hair for Caucasians is not the same," said Patrick C. Cooper, a Birmingham, Ala., lawyer who plans to represent thousands of affected customers. Sturvisant's lawsuit was filed in February.

Cooper said the department store's "policy completely ignores hair length, which should be the real determining factor in how much they charge. Pricing ought to be based on reality, not stereotypes, and Dillard's needs to stop what they're doing."

But Little Rock-based Dillard's says that's an oversimplification that distorts its policy.

"Dillard's does not charge different prices based upon the race of the customer," the company said in a statement. "Prices for salon services are based upon the level of experience of the stylist, degree of service, amount of time required and the cost of materials provided to the customer."

Tom McArthur, an instructor and manager of ABC Barber College in Hot Springs, Ark., said different charges based on race and sex are typical. Training manuals routinely note major differences between "black hair" and other ethnic groups' hair, he said. Also, he said, additional skills must be taught to cut the coarse, tightly curled hair commonly called "black hair."

"It's a whole new way of cutting. Not everyone can do it. I cut both and I do it pretty fast, but I grew up in this business," McArthur said.

The more a stylist has to do with the hair, the more the customer can be charged. McArthur said that explains why women are generally charged about twice as much as men.

Still, civil-rights law expert Robert Belton said Dillard's could be in trouble if the pricing is determined solely on race, and not on other factors, like amount or style of hair.

"If they're saying that because of a person's color that it takes more time, then it's obvious that it's race," said Belton, a professor at Vanderbilt University Law School.

He also said Dillard's could be hurt by past race discrimination cases, including a 2002U.S. Supreme Court ruling that awarded $1.2 million to a black woman who alleged she was not allowed to sample cologne at a Kansas store.

But Dillard's is not alone in having to deal with new concerns about hair care. Eight women filed a federal class-action lawsuit against Hair Cuttery last year, saying the national salon chain unfairly charged black customers more. Also, Arizona, California, Massachusetts and Florida all passed new laws recently to curb pricing based solely on gender, according to a report in the Arizona Business Gazette.

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Old 05-30-2005, 05:39 AM   #2
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Certain races do have traditionally different hair types, but it is in no way exclusive. What's more important is the differences resulting in product usage and so on, is so minimal it is utterly ludicrous to be this pedantic. I wonder if this salon owner also charges red-heads more, as typically, they do have thicker courser hair than say your average natural blonde.
Any stylist worth their training will be adept at cutting very fine hair, wiry hair, thick strong hair, heavy hair, cowlicks, curly hair, straight hair, permed is stupid to charge based on the client's racial background. I cannot see how it is anything but discriminatory.

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Old 05-30-2005, 06:10 AM   #3
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I can't see how it's anything but discriminatory either. I'm whiter-than-white and I have very thick hair
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Old 05-30-2005, 07:00 AM   #4
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I have a hairstylist in my family. We were taking about this issue and she said it does take longer to do black hair and it requires more product as well as more training. She also said the products used for black hair are more expensive.
Im not agreeing or disagreeing just stating her explanation. Also just like plumbers and other professionals, stylist charge for their time and products.
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Old 05-30-2005, 09:43 AM   #5
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When I get my hair colored all-over at a hair salon I have to pay more becuase my hair is very thick...

A $15 difference just to wash and set sounds pretty steep though...
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Old 05-30-2005, 09:50 AM   #6
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I have three times as many follicles as anyone else. It is coarse and wiry and hard to handle, and any hairstylist in his/her right mind would charge me three times as much as other customers, whether it's long or short--and deserve every nickle. At the moment it's grown halfway down my back.

I am also white.

(And for some reason, at the dawning of this new century, I feel like I ought to apologize for that fact that I was born white.
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Old 05-30-2005, 01:18 PM   #7
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I really hate to admit this. I use to do some hair modeling and became good friends with a stylist that worked for a very high end national salon(I had almost 4 years worth of free haircuts). So my few years there I became very aware of how things work.

This salon charged a flat fee per service. Let's say you just wanted to get a cut and a shampoo, you'll pay $__ amount. Ok so a man will come in get a trim and will take less than 10 minutes. A woman will come in and wants to chop off all her hair and do something completely different and it takes an hour. But they are charged the same and at the end of the day it evens itself out.

Yes some hair naturally takes longer and more care than other.

One thing I found out that us redheads can't dye our hair the same way everyone else can(as if we didn't have enough to single us out). Apparently the red hair cell is more oval shape as most other hair cells are circle and the dyes(especially over the counter) will not work. So they have to use special dyes, but they won't charge extra they hope at the end of the day it evens itself out.

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