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Massage therapist yelled at by coworkers after telling customer she's too big for table.

Massage therapist yelled at by coworkers after telling customer she's too big for table.


No one wants to feel singled out in a negative way.

Being turned away from the door at a club, banned from a public space, or told you're not allowed to partake in something with your friends can feel deeply demoralizing.

So naturally, working as an employee who has to make these tough calls comes with its own set of issues.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a woman asked if she was wrong for turning away a massage customer for being too heavy.

She wrote:

AITA for telling someone they are too fat for a massage?

I(25m) work as a masseur for a somewhat small spa and have been doing for three years. This week I had to do something I have never done before and that is turn someone away. What happened was that we had a group booking for four people.

As per usual I grabbed the questionnaire and waiver for the client I was going to take. When I saw her I became concerned as she was clearly over 400lbs.

Aside from the weight capacity, I wasn't sure if she would have been able to fit on the table but I put that concern aside. For the sake of safety, I decided to weigh her with the result being she was 465lbs.

With the table's capacity being 495lbs I decided to not risk it. In the most polite way I could, I told her that for her safety I can't service her. As an alternative, I offered our other services where her weight wouldn't be an issue.

Unfortunately, she was too upset/embarrassed and as a result, she and her group decided to cancel their appointments. Because of this three of my colleagues absolutely hate my guts now.

They all believe that I should have been much more accommodating of her. Am I the a**hole?

People quickly jumped on with their thoughts.

El-Eternauta wrote:

People seem to forget that it's not only the weight of the person getting the massage. The person giving the massage applies pressure to the body, and that adds to the weight. If that was really the OP's concern, then I'd say NTA.

epostiler wrote:

NTA. Everyone keeps pointing out that 465 is less than 495. But they fail to take into account that you'll have to press down to give a massage. The table would certainly collapse.

internetcivilian wrote:

NTA. Your colleagues should be made aware of the sum total of weight on the table (the patient's weight plus the force of your massage) potentially exceeding safety levels.

If they're truly upset at this outcome, they should be going to your boss and requesting stronger tables to accommodate heavier clientele. You didn't fail to be accommodating.

Your obligation to not put a patient into harm's way takes priority over their feelings.

Altruistic_Kale_3597 wrote:

Actually, you didn't refuse the massage because she was too fat — you refused it because she was too heavy.

Genuinely, I think framing it like that makes a difference — the first has a lot of emotional, social, and psychological baggage mixed up in it, and the second is a mechanical issue that could be upsetting but is also a lot less fraught.

Whether or not you are the AH comes down to HOW you communicated it, I would say (ETA: the way you phrased the question here suggests you probably were an AH about it, though).

That said, if she was under the table's capacity, why couldn't you give her a massage? Usually, there is some leeway on those safety measures, so the table wasn't in danger.

VerendusAudeo wrote:

I’m going to go against the grain and say NAH. There’s a parable/folk legend of an architect who designed a library, but failed to account for the weight of the books; and so, the library slowly sank into the ground.

Massage table=library, massage therapist=books. Add the back-and-forth movement typical of a massage putting stress on the joints to the equation, and I’d see reasonable cause for concern too.

Better to be temporarily embarrassed than impaled on a broken table leg.

MeowKitty25 wrote:

NTA - my husband does massage and has catered to heavier people in the hopes the table would hold up. The table said up to 500 lbs. They were around 400 lbs.

The issue is also getting on and off the table, not just pressure of massage once they do get on the table. The client did a little hop to get up on the table and the table completely broke.

She was absolutely mortified. No one was injured though. She ended up getting massage in a chair instead, but my husband never saw her again after that. She felt so bad, she paid for a new table too.

Now, for heavier clients, my husband has a couch and chair available versus massage table.

It looks like OP isn't TA in this situation, it's just a difficult and awkward scenario all around.

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