Government Takes Important Action Against Ichthyological Threat to Floridian Toes
12:27 PM, Feb 24, 2009 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
The Florida state cosmetology authorities launched a preemptive strike on an imminent threat to the well-being of its citizens this week, outlawing the trendy "fish pedicure" despite the fact that it has yet to be offered anywhere in the state.
The procedure, popularized in Asia and introduced to the U.S. at a Virginia salon, allows customers to put their feet into a bowl of water filled with fish who eat away dead skin, as a supplement to the filing and sloughing of a traditional pedicure. Officials cited sanitation laws, saying it's impossible to sanitize live fish between customers, so the procedure is illegal.
Other reasons for the banning may include, "Hey, Washington did it, too!" And, what happened to the Peridot Salon and its owner Tuyet Bui when Washington banned the practice?
That's at least three small businesses that lost out on an innovative service for customers, during a recession, thanks to the overzealous nanny state. In none of the stories about banning the fish pedicure is there any report of sickness caused by it. As far as I can tell, even women's magazines have yet to come up with hysterical headlines- "Fish Pedicure Horror! How a Guppy Lost Me My Guy!"- which means there is nary a trace of concern to exploit.
These are real people whose real livelihoods are being threatened by their governments' determination to protect customers from an as-yet non-existent and unlikely threat. And, unlike most of the people who find favor in Obama speeches and in the halls of Congress- Yes, I mean you, Big Three.- these people were providing a service that people actually wanted to buy.
The potential loss of business is pretty big, if you use Yvonne's Salon in Alexandria, Va. as your gauge. Its owner John Ho started the craze in 2008 by shipping in the guppy-like "chin-chin" fish to supplement pedicure service, and reported 5,000 takers in just the first few months. After Yvonne's unorthodox process got national coverage on daytime talk shows and women's magazines, demand went up across the nation. But here's the kicker. Guess why Ho started offering fish pedicures in the first place?