Tuesday, August 4, 2015

New Pumice-Stone Sharing Service Upsets Area Nail Salons

BOSTON - Just as the battle between Uber and local taxi-drivers heats up, Boston has another clash between the old and the new economy heating up.

A new application that allows customers to use and share pumice stones found in public areas of common interest to scrape the dead skin off the bottom of their feet has nail salons fearing for their livelihood.

Users of the new service have celebrated the convenience and ease-of-use. "I was at the CambridgeSide Galleria this past weekend with my girlfriends," said Deborah McKinley of Waltham. "I was shocked at how easy the service makes it to sit down in such a crowded place, remove my shoes and scrape off the outer layer of dead epidermis from my feet."

Users of the free application are able to download a map of the Boston-area that highlights locations where pumice-stones are available for rent for ten-minute intervals. What began as limited locations in the Boston Common and South Station has now grown to over 20 high-traffic locales.

Many local nail salons - whose business depends on this market - are fearful of losing much-needed clientele. "The continued expansion of this service is going to prey on small business," said salon-owner Kitty Granger. "I question the ethics involved, and I question the legality."

Law-makers thus far have been caught toeing the line between being friendly to small business and stimulating economic-growth from within the innovation sector. "I wouldn't be surprised if we see salon-owners striking," said one Boston City Councilor. "We either need to regulate, or we'll face a major work-stoppage that will wreak havoc on this driver of the regional economy."