CHICAGO (CBS) — A Milwaukee woman said she was refused service at King Spa & Sauna in Niles recently because of her weight.
Ann Grauer told CBS 2 that she took a specific route through the Chicago area on her way home from a business trip on Monday to enjoy King Spa and Sauna’s body scrub. When she tried to purchase the service – which she wrote she has done at this spa before without incident – she said she was told by a staffer, “No scrub for you.”
“After several attempts at understanding why, I was at a loss. She showed me a sign on the wall: you must weigh less than 230 lbs for scrubs,” Grauer wrote. “I kid you not.”
Grauer said the staffer told her the table would not hold her weight.
“There were women all around us, looking at me and listening to this confrontation. It was humiliating,” Grauer wrote. “She had taken one look at me and assumed she knew my weight.”
Grauer wrote that afterward, she spoke to a manager who said the restriction was for staff safety reasons, and said “they have had problems with ‘heavy’ women.”
She wrote that there is no mention on the spa’s website, nor on the electronic service menu board in the lobby, of a weight restriction.
“Not until I paid my entry fee and then was in the women’s area was I informed. No way for me to know until I was in the midst of others, waiting to check in and others surrounded me, who needed the attention of the desk attendant,” she wrote. “In other words: humiliating.”
She also said the desk attendant and men’s spa attendant told her there is no weight restriction for men who want to have scrubs – only for women.
“I did not scream. I did not have a fit, but I informed the manager that these practices were humiliating and discriminatory. My voice was louder than normal. At that, he wanted me out of the public area. He denied it was discriminatory. I insisted it was. We went round and round on this topic in a hallway,” she wrote.
Grauer wrote that the manager said if she signed a paper releasing King Spa from liability, the spa would do the scrub just that once but not again.
“I told him no way would I allow an upset staff member to work on my body. That exchange of energy is the opposite of why I came,” Grauer wrote.
She wrote that she eventually gave in to a request by the manager that she calm down in the sauna and pool area, and then she left and “blasted Lizzo all the way home.
Grauer wrote that the spa reflects a greater societal problem of fat shaming.
“This kind of crap is acceptable everywhere. And those of us who are overweight deal with it Every. Where. We. Go,” she wrote. “The looks, the smirks, the thought bubbles that shriek from your heads. It is disgusting.”
She also took issue with the spa for what she wrote was gender discrimination, and for not posting information about the weight limit.
On Tuesday, after Grauer’s Facebook post received hundreds of comments and shares, she posted an update, which read, in part, “I do *not* want anything terrible to happen to King Spa. Period. I don’t want folks to head there with lanterns and pitchforks. I have LOVED my previous experiences with them and I am hopeful that some good can come from my experience.”
CBS 2 has reached out to King Spa & Salon for comment.