Nail salons: an inspector calls

After the New York Times wildly muffed that big outrage story on worker pay at nail salons — and the first installment in Jim Epstein’s series makes a compelling case that it did — Andrew Cuomo’s inspectors descended in force to see what violations they could find. That’s when, to the great detriment of workers and salon owners alike, the real chaos began.

More: Part III of the series is on the supposed miscarriage/cancer epidemic conjured up by the Times. If you like the way Epstein first chipped and then cracked the paper’s well-glossed claws, watch what he does with the solvents.


  • I don’t mean to be a one issue commentator but it seems to me that the increasing trend is to (e.g. by putting waitresses and waiters on hourly wage, without the ability to receive cash tips) and by this latest foray by Andrew, that the real impetus here is to prevent workers from getting cash. That serves two purposes: the workers can then be fully taxed on what money they receive, and if and when they are organized (SEIU, anyone?) the union can be assured of its rake off, before the workers ever see their money.

  • “Nail salons generally don’t keep incomplete records because they’re trying to hide that they’re underpaying their employees. They keep incomplete records partially as a concession to their employees, who know that if all their income was carefully recorded, they could become ineligible for government benefits.”

    ah-ha. So some of the nail-salon employees protested an article claiming that they weren’t being paid, and the result was that their cash-under-the-table deal was exposed, and now not only do they not have a job but neither does anyone else.

    GOOD JOB 100%!

  • It seems to me that this is one of those instances where it can honestly be said that no one is doing anything right.

    The Times printed / posted an article that had more holes in the data and the conclusions than Swiss cheese. then lambasts the Times’ reporting while at the same time ignoring or at least minimizing their own statements that the salon workers are often (mostly?) undocumented / illegal aliens / immigrants who are getting paid under the table so the rest of us pay for their benefits on the government dole. At the same time, the owners of the salons are glad to underpay workers and not have to deal with the paperwork, taxes, insurance, etc that legitimate companies all face.

    There is no bright shining star in this story and all of the participants are as dirty as the Hudson River.

  • […] you didn’t catch the earlier update, Jim Epstein at Reason has a critique of the New York Times’s claim to have discovered a […]

  • […] congratulations to Jim Epstein, Elizabeth Nolan Brown, and the others at Reason and elsewhere who relentlessly exposed the faults […]