This week a story is surfacing about a woman in Akron who was told after she signed up for a month of tanning that she could not use the lay down tanning beds if she was over 230 lbs. Kelly McGrevey was allowed to use Aloha tanning salon’s one stand up tanning booth, but when it was broken, she was told she simply couldn’t tan. When Kelly asked for her money back, Aloha refused. Kelly had never been told that she could only use the stand up booth, and the salon was unable to give her any information about when the stand up booth would be fixed.
Now look. While there are some awesome facilities for bronzing, tanning salons are notorious for creating crazy policies and never, ever offering refunds. The tanning salon had an F rating with the Better Business Bureau and had Kelly done her homework, she might have been less surprised by the shady business practices. But I think the real surprise was probably with the employees of Aloha. I doubt they expected that Kelly would have the guts to make much of a fuss about the new policy. I’ve no doubt they were shocked when Kelly went public and they found themselves being interviewed by a local investigative reporter. Because I suspect that they felt they would be protected from any negative repercussions for their bad behavior by the shame the fat girl felt about her body.
Except that’s not what happened at all. And I think this should serve as a wake up call for businesses everywhere who are count on fat people’s willing compliance with their bogus policies. Fat people are fed up. And we’re rising up. Whether it’s shaming at a fitness center or the requirement to submit to tests and pay more for company sponsored health insurance, people of size seem less likely to stand idly by these days. So companies who shame fat folks should take note, that big girl you shame might just walk away crying, or she might be your ticket to a not so comfortable spot on the evening news. And I for one, am cheering.
The Fat Chick