A few days ago, a friend posted this article, and to say it started a bit of a debate would be a gross understatement. Now, I like Cracked, because I have a terrible sense of humour and a fondness of profanity, but it's generally understood that it's not where one goes for accurate, informative articles on serious topics. Usually, I would just roll my eyes and scroll on past something like this. But, the ensuing debate, and the fact that it's been read over 700,000 times, worries me a little. How many of those 700,000 now believe that getting a tattoo is inviting yourself to be ripped off and given an infection? It's a frightening prospect. So, here I am, in the unbelievable position of feeling compelled to debunk a Cracked article. Drinks shall be had to drown my sorrows later.
4. "There are many types of tattoos they simply won't do"
Okay, this one is true. We've discussed that before in this blog - if we know that the tattoo is going to turn out awful and require hundreds of dollars in touch ups to keep it looking even halfway decent (fingers, for example), we often won't do them, and some artists will refuse to do a tattoo for ethical reasons (that swastika you want on your forehead may take some shopping around). Where the article starts to go wrong here is in saying the odds are pretty good that one artist won't finish another artist's work. While, yes, we always strongly suggest going back to the original artist, and yes, it is seen as disrespectful to touch someone else's work, we also understand there are numerous reasons you may not want to, or cannot, go back to the original shop. We're not going to make you go through life with a half-finished sleeve because your artist moved to Timbuktu.
3. "The prices are made up at random"
Sam says: "If you come in and say you want a $100 tattoo, we'll do it for $100, if it can be done for $100, but if that same person comes in and says they have $250 to spend, that same tattoo is now $250."
No, Sam, no. This is not standard practice, you are just a bit of an ass. Now, it's likely Sam is an American tattoo artist, and I admit, I have little idea how shops operate down there, but no reputable shop in Canada charges you at random, or takes your $250 for a $100 tattoo. We pretty well all have hourly rates that we will inform you of before you ever book your appointment, and will do our best to work within your budget. We also take the deposit off the final price of the tattoo, not add it on. Bad, bad, Sam.
2. "The real money comes from covering up previous, regrettable tattoos"
On the surface, this is somewhat true. Cover-ups often take a lot of time, and can be technically complicated, so they will almost certainly cost more than the original did. But, again, no reputable artist should be marking up the price because you have a tattoo you regret. We charge the same hourly rate for the cover-ups as we do the originals, and to do otherwise is bad business.
1. "Yes, you can get an infection"
Of course, any time skin is being broken, an infection is possible - no one can deny that with any amount of honesty. But this entry is particularly disturbing, as the risk of infection should be extremely minimal, and not justified with horrifying confessions of hiding sharps containers, sharing ink in questionable ways, and not cleaning tubes. Clean, reputable shops are perpetually on top of their health and safety standards - tools are always clean, unused ink is always thrown away, sharps containers are disposed of regularly, and garbage is taken out daily. This should go without saying, but, if you see artists hiding used needles outside so the health inspector doesn't see them - run, don't walk, far, far away from their shop.