Stories of heightened numbers of thefts in retail stores and service establishments are commonplace in the news. Many people are concerned about what the rise in theft could mean for the economy, and for good reason. However, sometimes a story surfaces about theft that is less frightening, and more amusing.

A Terrifying Beginning

A recent story out of Atlanta both amazes, and gives a little giggle at the absurdity of it. A nail salon on Piedmont Road was nearly the spot of a theft crime this week. The only thing that stopped it was, unbelievably, how little the employees cared.

Source: WSBTV

According to witnesses, a man who was a would-be robber apparently walked into the salon with a bag and started yelling at the employees and patrons of the nail establishment. He told them to “Get on the ground” and “Put their hands up.”

Things Going South Quickly…For the Robber

Now, most of us would have been understandably terrified by this turn of events. Having a man come into your place of work and threaten you would have made almost everyone do whatever it was that he said. Unfortunately for this robber, the women in the salon were no ordinary employees.

Source: WSBTV

Even after the man started yelling and trying to throw his weight around, none of the employees or patrons paid the would-be robber any attention. A video of the incident shows the robber looking around a little, as if unsure what to do now that his initial plan of intimidation didn’t pan out.

The Video Evidence Is Damning

When nobody moved to give him what he wanted, the video shows the robber approaching the counter, where a man was working and fully ignoring him. He tries to speak to the employee, but instead of acknowledging him, the employee answers the ringing phone and turns away from him.

Source: WSBTV

In the video, the robber is clearly starting to get a little flustered, and with good reason. If someone has made the decision to rob an establishment, for whatever reason, they have an idea in their mind of how they expect things to go. This entire encounter was clearly not going to plan.

Once He Realized He Was Stuck, He Fled

Eventually, the man walked into the middle of the salon after having been ignored for a few minutes. One of the women in the salon lifted her hands and walked out at that point, though it’s unclear whether the man had a weapon of any kind.

Source: WSBTV

Given that the rest of the employees were still not paying him any attention, the would-be robber stood in the middle of the salon for another few seconds before finally turning and bolting. Business in the salon continued as usual, but one of the employees made sure to call the police and report the incident.

A Man on the Run

Atlanta Crime Stoppers are now on the hunt for the man, who they say drove away in a silver car. While the story is an amusing anecdote for the employees and patrons of the establishment, it also points to a bigger problem in the economy and structure.

Source: Instagram/Statementsbyj_Official

Nail salons, like hair salons, are establishments that many people think are an unnecessary luxury. They don’t employ the people who work there; instead, nail artists and hairstylists rent out their booths or space in the salons, and pay a fee to the establishment for the use of the space.

A Luxury Service, But For Good Reason

Due to this structure, hair and nail services are understandably pricey. The people who rent out booths have to be able to pay their bills to the salon, as well as make a profit that they can take home and pay their other bills.

Source: Pexels/Delbeautybox

They are also well known for being cash-based businesses, and for giving immigrants a place to work and earn a living. While this may seem like the beginning of a hopeful story of individuals coming to America and making a better life for themselves, there can be a darker side to your nail artist’s job when you go to get a manicure.

A Dark Side to the Salon

Not only are nail salons notorious for charging fees to their artists that make it very difficult for them to make any sort of living, they can also be a front for human trafficking. There have been many stories over the past decades of nail and hair salons hiding instances of human trafficking, to many people’s horror.

Source: Pexels/RDNE Stock Project

Unethical and criminal salon owners manage this through a process called “debt bondage.” Immigrating to the US is an expensive endeavor, and paying for their travel is how many of these women get trapped. They’re expected to work long hours with little to no pay, and if they protest, they’re threatened with deportation.

Owners Are Doing Something to Keep Their Businesses Safe

Instances of human trafficking are one of many things that can go wrong with businesses such as nail salons. For owners who operate ethical establishments, though, especially businesses in high-crime areas, they have taken steps to reduce the risk to their patrons and staff.

Source: Pexels/RDNE Stock Project

Some of the ways that salon owners are trying to protect their staff are by installing alarms at the doors to inform any entrance or exit, keeping only a limited amount of cash on site, and giving suspicious customers an extra amount of attention. It’s the least amount that can be done to prevent crime, but it’s worth it to protect staff and patrons and keep a business running.

A Funny Story, Now

In light of these facts, it’s likely that the failed robber wouldn’t have gotten much from the salon he tried to steal from, had he been successful. He wasn’t, though, and he now has a price on his head of up to $2000 from Atlanta Crime Stoppers if anyone comes forward with information that might lead to his arrest.

Source: Google Maps

While it was likely harrowing in the moment, the story of the failed robbery is now making waves on the internet as a lighthearted tale to share. One thing is certain – everyone who was in the salon at the time will have something to share at holidays for the foreseeable future!