… and these little piggies went on a boycatt

11 May

Hello, hello, hello!
  
I have returned after an inexcusable (well, actually some of my excuses are pretty good) hiatus. It was not like there were not topics for me to rant on and on about. There were, but they never made it to SK.

Well, we’re here now and ready to change the world – or at least share our opinion on a few things. So, let’s get to it.

As you know, we had quite the winter here in the Northeast. The downside was all the shoveling and heaps of impassable snow. The single upside was that no one had to bear witness to my pub’s toenails. Unless she has a tropical trip planned in winter, she never shells out the cash for a pedicure.

Last week, the weather changed drastically from frigid winter temps to the mid 80s, with little time to fish out the flip-flops from the attic. Once they were acquired – which took 2 days, as one was visible and another sneaked off to another part of the attic during the winter – Pub slipped her feet in and looked down to see the most atrocious toe nails.

This made her think. Why must one spend at least $15 each week for toes to be “sandal ready” every spring and summer? Why can’t they be nicely trimmed and kept in their natural state? Who gets most of that money, anyway? The sweet Asian girl who toils away at Pub’s feet, or the man in charge (It is always a man) barking what sound like orders in a foreign language at the women hunched over clients’ hands and feet, filing, painting and massaging.

Also, when was it decided that everyone born into the female persuasion cannot bear her toes unless they are glimmering with fresh polish of the latest color? Toenails are not like hair and teeth.You can’t simply pass a brush over them. Successful pedicures take at least an hour to complete. And they were not mainstream until a few years ago. Pub never had a professional pedicure until she was 26. Now appointments are booked for girls as young as 3. Wow!

Pub decided she is not going to be part of this nonsense and dared just the other day step out on the town in her bare nails. If anyone minded, they have not expressed it.

Then yesterday, the New York Times featured a front page article on the very topic Pub has been pondering. You can look at it here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/11/nyregion/nail-salon-workers-in-nyc-face-hazardous-chemicals.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&region=CColumn&module=MostEmailed&version=Full&src=me&WT.nav=MostEmailed

It’s a well-written, lengthy piece, and I’ll post a few bullets here. You’ll be amazed at who is paying the price for our cheap pedicures at the Asian-run salons.

  • Majority of pedicurists work 66 hours each week at less than minimum wage.
  • Many pedicurists report not being paid at all.
  • They receive no benefits.
  • Most are illegal, so have no recourse.
  • Some even have their tips docked.
  • Some are penalized for drinking water on the job.
  • Many live in deplorable flop houses when not working in a salon
  • Many have suffered miscarriages or delivered babies with birth defects, likely caused by their exposure to noxious chemicals.

The list goes on and on.

Now Pub feels even better about boycotting this industry that resembles the 19th century slave drivers. She even feels a bit like my dad, A. Bronson Alcatt, a devout abolitionist who refused to wear or use cotton as long as its production was the root of unnecessary human suffering.

I get a mani/pedi every few months at the local pet salon, necessary for cats who like to scratch. That’s an unfortunate photo of me and manicurist above. My plastic head gear is not flattering.  I find it interesting that the pedicurist for blogging cats receives a livable wage and benefits, while the pedicurist for human are treated like abused herded animals.

Let’s boycott or boycatt employers who exploit their manicurists. Some other time, we’ll do something about the word “boy” cott.

xo, LMA and Scrabble

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12 Responses to “… and these little piggies went on a boycatt”

  1. Carol Jamison May 11, 2015 at 4:20 pm #

    Yay! You’re back! Thinking I will paint my own toes!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. onespoiledcat May 11, 2015 at 4:28 pm #

    Welcome back! Interesting topic……my Mom hates her feet so pretty much ignores them except for the nail trim/occasional lotion to soften rough skin thing. Otherwise – let the feet fall where they may (oops….I think that’s supposed to be “chips fall where they may???”). Anyway, whatever……..feet are utilitarian and it’s not necessary that they be a fashion statement right? I feel that way about my paws.

    Hugs, Sammy

    • Louisa May Alcatt May 20, 2015 at 10:58 am #

      true, they do not need to be a fashion statement, but more importantly, workers should not be mistreated and/or abused. Where were the boards of health in all this?

  3. Bruce Thiesen May 11, 2015 at 10:41 pm #

    Smiles our here to see SK and Pub here on my screen.

    It’s a sad story and hats off to the NYT for their spotlight. We can only hope it has some lasting effect and help spur some basic improvements.

    • Louisa May Alcatt May 20, 2015 at 11:05 am #

      I think the NYT article has already made a difference, which is good. Chock up another for the power of the press! xo, LMA

  4. Unconfirmed Bachelorette May 11, 2015 at 11:01 pm #

    So sorry about your headgear, but you do look rather lovely, even so. I have given up putting polish on fingers and toes, better to let the nail beds breathe fresh air. But if I hadn’t, I’d surely join the girlcott. The Three Black Cats do their own pedis. They are supporting me in my quest for early retirement. (Not entirely a selfless act–they know there will be much more petting when I don’t leave them alone all day.) Glad to see you, LMA.

    • Louisa May Alcatt May 20, 2015 at 11:06 am #

      yes, we’ve let the hairdresser go, now the mani-pedis. On the subject of early retirement, let me know what you think of my post today, xo, LMA

  5. sued51 May 12, 2015 at 6:41 am #

    LMA, glad you are back! And this is a timely topic! I was just reading the article yesterday about the conditions in this industry and the belated efforts to do something about it. Good post!

    • Louisa May Alcatt May 20, 2015 at 10:57 am #

      Thanks Sue. At least the subject is out there and hopefully that will mean change for the better, xo LMA

  6. roughwighting May 20, 2015 at 7:45 am #

    Been missing your posts, and your dropbys at my place. So nice to have you back, humor restored (I know, I know, hard to chuckle about anything this past winter). Glad you found your flip flops. I also read that NY Times article and think it would be smart for those of us who, perhaps can’t reach our own toes, or who find the soak in the pedi tub so good for our ‘always walking sore feet,’ that we ask the owner/manicurists exactly what their employee policy is. The answers may produce change…

    • Louisa May Alcatt May 20, 2015 at 10:54 am #

      Excellent idea. I am surprised the local boards of health were not on to this already. Nice to see you again, Pam, xo LMA

  7. Crystal M. Trulove May 20, 2015 at 11:56 am #

    “I find it interesting that the pedicurist for blogging cats receives a livable wage and benefits, while the pedicurist for human are treated like abused herded animals.” That line gave me chills. It’s true, and shocking.

    I heard about the NYC piece because one of my regular news sources, APM’s Marketplace (a financial podcast), brought the author of that article in for an interview. She explained that the women are so desperate for training, they agree to work for free “at first,” to pay off their debt for being taken in. But then get trapped because when you aren’t earning anything, you can’t save up for your escape. Also, she talked about the racism in the nail business, where Asian women are at the top, and Latinas, and black-skinned people are at the bottom. Even while Asian women have deplorable living and working conditions, the darker skinned women have it even worse. No one complains because, as you said, many of them are desperate for the work, and/or illegally working.

    Thank you for your voice!!

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