• The Financial District


Sacramento, California - Salons that have been forced to close and reopen multiple times over the course of the pandemic are now facing a new challenge: customers taking off without paying.

On Thursday, Top Coat Nails Salon in North Natomas moved its operation outside. But on the debut of the new setup, a group of three customers took off without paying.

Owner Liu Nguyen was able to capture the group in a snapshot that he took while documenting the salon’s move outdoors. He said it was easy for the three young women to escape since they were already outdoors and wearing a mask to protect their identities.

“If they want to walk away, you can’t stop them, you can’t close the door, there’s nothing you can do,” Nguyen said.

Nguyen also happens to be the president of the newly formed Sacramento Nail Association. Now, he is warning the 100 other nail salons he represents to be prepared.

"I'm very worried because if we continue outdoors like this, this is going to happen again and again with the mask,” he said. “It’s just an opportunity for crime, legal crime now because you have to wear the mask.”

Nguyen said the salon lost over $100 in profit when the young women took off without paying. He said that is a significant loss considering salons now have to limit customers due to social distancing requirements and they have to limit the hours they are open because of the heat outdoors.

“It’s significant because we’re open for three, four hours and the staff is limited,” Nguyen said. “And to do that to the girls, and to small businesses, to local community, it’s just really wrong.”

Nguyen is now changing salon policy. He does not want to do it, but he will now require customers to pay before the end of their service.

“It’s really hard for me to treat customers that way like they’re criminals before they even have a chance to prove that they’re not,” he said.

Nguyen said he did not report the group to police because he wants to give them a chance to come forward on their own.

“You know who you are. You were here yesterday. Come back clean. Everything’s forgotten,” he said. “It’s not just about the money, it’s about integrity. I want you to do the right thing.”

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@2020 by The Financial District