Popular Toronto nail bar says it was victim of racist tirade after woman refused to pay for manicure
The owner of a popular Toronto nail salon says his employees became the target of a racist attack after a customer refused to pay for a manicure. (Facebook/Organic Nail Bar)
TORONTO -- A popular Toronto nail salon that just recently reopened following the COVID-19 lockdown says its employees became the target of a racist tirade after a customer refused to pay for her manicure.
Mike Duong owns Organic Nail Bar Blue Jays, located on Queen Street West near Spadina Avenue, and says he and his team had been working hard to open their doors safely after months of closure.
“We put a lot of effort into it,” Duong told CTV News Toronto on Tuesday. “We were suffering during the pandemic. We were closed for four months. So paying employees, the rent, other financial responsibilities, there is a lot of pressure.”
On Sunday, a customer was in the middle of a premium, $80 manicure when the problems started, Duong said.
Video posted to Instagram shows a portion of the interaction between the customer, who CTV News Toronto has decided not to identify, and Duong’s staff. In the video, the customer can be heard complaining to the staff about the quality of the service during the manicure.
Vicky Luu, the store’s manager, alleges that the customer began asking for discounts and yelling at the staff. More than an hour into the manicure, Luu said the customer then left the store without paying for the service.
On her way out, Duong said the customer began hurling racist remarks at his staff and then yelled “Why do they let Asian people in our country?”
The business says the customer even posted a negative Google review of the business following the incident, which they say the customer later deleted.
Duong, who immigrated to Canada in 1991 from Vietnam and built up his nail bar business “from scratch,” said the comments are especially hurtful.
“It’s sad and upsetting,” he said. “We are trying to provide a service that society wants and needs. So mentally, emotionally, this incident has left us feeling very damaged.”
Duong said he is in the process of collecting evidence and plans to contact the police to press charges. The business says they have retained legal counsel and will be filing a lawsuit against the customer.
Communications provided to CTV News Toronto from the nail bar appear to show the customer explaining to the business that she was “pissed off” and responded to a potential lawsuit by saying “I don’t have a lawyer, I’m a millennial.”
“What are you going to sue me for, I have nothing, y’all are stupid,” the customer added.