Ep. 33: Spilling the Ink: Top Ten Tattoo Artist Pet Peeves!

Count down with me as I, your host, Micah Riot, spill the ink on some of the biggest Tattoo Artist Pet Peeves. Well... for me, anyway. I can't speak for all of us. 

Number ten is that one time somebody asked me to make change for the cash they brought to pay with. Sorry, I don't keep a stocked register. I can see why you thought I might, but I don't. The vast majority of time I've been paid with CCs in my fifteen year career.

Number five is when clients insist on watching me draw over my shoulder. There is just something... about it. Like being under a microscope ... 

And number one is... 

Well, you'll have to listen to find out what that is. 

I don't want to ruin your appetite. 

Each pet peeve includes an antidote. And above all, please don't take any of these personally! I promise you, they are not about you! I've been at it for long enough that my common experiences aren't attached to specific faces. 

Subscribe, rate and review, and most importantly... don't take it personally. And tell a friend. This is a pretty cool podcast... if you ask me. 

Transcript from the episode:

Hello, hello, my darlings. This is Micah Riot. I'm here with your favorite podcast, ink Medicine. It is mid-July 2023. Can you believe it? And today I am bringing you a fun, a little bit of a clickbaity episode that I thought up as I was thinking about what I should record for you this week. It is 10 tattoo artist pet peeves. I'm going to do a countdown from 10 all the way down to 1. And I will tell you what my pet peeves are, and they may not be every tattoo artist pet peeves, but they are some of the things that make me the most nuts about this job in regards to clients. But first I would like to read you a review. One of my darlings, one of you left for me or not just for me here on Apple Podcast Reviews. So here's how that goes. The Ink Medicine podcasts are sculpted with such intricacy, such care, such tenderness, such vulnerability. These conversations create space for all of these beautiful things to flourish, inviting the listener to do the same. I've never felt so held by words before. Listening. You can feel the environment Micah creates with their presence and observing the ways in which they delve into the depth of themselves, as well as the incredible individuals they bring into their space is such a pleasure. Listen, feel cradled. It's great, thank you. Thank you, sweet darling. The words mean so much to me. I'm so happy to have you as a listener and other dear listeners, please, please, write and review the podcast. It really helps. It helps people find it. This is how we're going to grow. This is how I'm going to get the podcast into the ears of other people who'll enjoy it, just the way that you're enjoying it. So please send me a note and a waiver review and I will read it on the air. This episode feels a little bit dangerous to me, if only because people tend to take what I say very personally. So I'm going to say it, even though I don't feel like one should have to. I'm going to say it. Nothing I say here is about you specifically, dear listener. If you're my client, if you were my client in the past, if you're going to be my client in the future, none of this is directly relevant to you. There are many ways to do a thing, and some of those ways will feel better and some of those ways will feel worse to somebody else. So please don't take it personally. This is for entertainment purposes only. I'm not talking about you. I hope you find this informative and fun, just that educational and also entertaining. I would also like to make a note that this is not going to be a downer episode. Even though there are pet thieves, I will give the antidote to each one of them. So we're going to end on a high note every time and some of these will be very funny. So here we go At number 10, we have people asking for change for the money that they give me to pay for their appointment. That one just kind of baffles me. You know, it's not really wrong, so much is just kind of annoying because I don't keep cash in the shop, you know. So maybe I have like a 10 or 20 in my wallet, but like, yeah, it's just funny if people are paying me in cash. It's kind of like bring whatever cash you know, pay me in cash, split it if you need to, but like I just I don't have change. So that question baffles me. That is why it's number 10. It's just, you know, it's not a big deal, it's a very small pet beef. Your choices there would be pay me partially in cash and partially in card if you want to leave a very precise amount. Otherwise, bring your cash or use any number of services, because me and I would say, most tattoo artists take most forms of payment, although I understand that a lot of people prefer cash. Just, you know, bring what you want to give and give that amount. At number nine we have people bringing smelly food and having very loud body language like chewing. So clearly, you know, snacks are welcome. Even now in times of COVID, there's still. You know, I allow people to eat and drink in the shop. Of course sometimes people need a snack while getting tattooed. I have lollipops. I keep like little energy bars around if people's blood sugar drops. But it can be a little bit problematic when somebody brings in like a bag of I don't know like fast food and the space is pretty small and it kind of, you know, sometimes food has this strong smell and it's an intimate space so it feels kind of invasive into my space, like I don't want to smell it while I'm working. So maybe keep the food outside, out there, you eat it in your car, then you come in. I feel a little bit judgy saying this, but it can really kind of ruin the vibe. It can really ruin the vibe for me, it can really. I don't mean to yuck anybody's yum, but I want my space to be pretty neutral when I'm working, so it can disturb. So yeah, the antidote to that is eat before you come, and then there's no problem. Okay, our next one word, number eight. Now it's kind of a weird one to explain because it's so specific and doesn't apply to really any other situation, but it's when people send too many emails from different email addresses and also send too many references that are really hard to look at, like they're not organized in a file where you can see them all show up, but they're like file names and their attachments and then they're just like numbers you know. So you don't know which one's which, and there's like 30 of them, so it makes it really hard to see. First of all, collect all of their information in one place, like in my email. You know, if I'm getting ready for a client, I will type in their name or their email address into the search bar and then see everything they sent me and then look over all the information that they sent, as well as, like the notes that I took on them, making sure it's you know, all the same person, all the same information. So if people send me all different kinds of emails with different information from different email addresses, and then also their references are really hard to understand which ones which and there's a lot of them. And also when people go like I want a thing, that's this thing and from this picture I do not like how this piece of it looks like, say, I don't know, they want a butterfly, right. And they'll be like I'm sending this picture, show you that I don't like these colors and I don't like the way these body looks and I don't like the way these wing shapes are on this third or fourth picture, right, okay. So that makes it really hard for my brain to actually understand what they want and also the information just becomes useless. So it's just kind of frustrating. So the antidote to that is have your references be kind of organized, you know, so it's at a glance easy to see what it is you're asking for. Don't have like 20, 30 reference pictures. Have, like I don't know, 10 at most. You really don't need that many because we do our own research and once we understand what you want, we have a better idea of what we need to look for in order to provide you with what you asked for. So there's, that's at number seven we have when I'm doing the tattoo, right, we're in the room, we're getting going and maybe it's a newer client, maybe they haven't been tattooed very many times, but they keep asking for design to be smaller and smaller and smaller. And I already told them that really small tattoos don't age well, don't look that great when they're done, but also don't age well. Over time they're gonna look worse and this is kind of like you know, very gently say this is kind of the smallest I can make this and then they go what about a little bit smaller? How about 10% smaller? So this doesn't happen all that often, but when it does it's a bit of a pet peeve because I want to give you the best tattoo I can give you. So I understand that it's kind of scary getting a tattoo and you want it to be delicate and small, easily hideable, but like you're gonna have a tattoo in that spot, if it's 10% smaller, it's still a tattoo. So I rather, would you rather compromise how good it looks and how well it ages, to just feel like it's a little bit smaller. It's actually not going to make a difference to people who see the tattoo At number six. We have people miswriting my name, also misgendering me. I understand that everybody is comfortable with using they them pronouns. So that one is, you know I can let that go. Also, I haven't always gone by they them pronouns. So people who've known me a long time often times will say she, and some people will even say he, because I used to go by he in my 20s for a bunch of years. So I get it. You know it's not super easy for everybody and that's fine. But miswriting my name again also could be a typo. But like, my name is literally in all of my stuff. It's on my website, whatever. So if you're not sure how to spell my name, just go look it up right, like it's in my signature. Anybody with a name that's not very basic knows that people will miss spell your name every which way and it's so easy just to like go look it up right. I make sure when I write down a name, even if it's a name that is common, like Jamie, like, sometimes people will put the I behind the A and sometimes they will put the I next to the M after the M, and I make sure and know which one's which like which way the person writes their name, or I don't know, kate, right, kate can be spelled with a K or C. Anyway, it's not that hard. Just go look up the person's name. There's you. Antidote Number five. I hate it when people watch me draw on paper Not necessarily in their body, although I hate that too, because I will totally let you look, or I might even draw on you in front of the mirror. And then, of course, you get to look, but mainly on paper, like if I'm drawing and the client is standing behind my shoulder and looking over my shoulder watching me draw. I fucking hate that, makes me nervous, makes me feel just weird. I don't like being watched, you know. So please don't just like yeah, we had a chat, I showed you what I had. Now go, I know you're curious, I totally get it. I know you don't mean to make me feel weird, but just like, go back to the couch, look at your phone, read a book, like anything, and it's really awkward for me to be like, hey, could you please not watch me draw? I mean, I will say it anyway because I don't really care, because my comfort is important to me, but, like I understand, you're curious to really get it. But don't look over my shoulder. I don't think most people like that. At number four I'm debated whether this is the four or three, but I'm going to put it as a four People ghosting it's kind of a big one. They're wasting your time, they're fucking with your ability to make your bills, because each day that you don't work, you don't get paid. So if somebody just ghosts you, you lose. You lose money, you lose your time. It's really frustrating. It sucks. So it's kind of a big one. But yeah, there are apparently worse things to me. So ghosting it happened to me a few times. Most notably, the last couple of times that happened to me was when I decided that would forego the deposit. Instead of taking a deposit, my system took the person's credit card. So I was like, oh well, if they don't show up, I'll just charge their credit card. Well, if people don't show up and they know they're supposed to be there but they don't want to communicate with you, they just lock their card. So you actually can't charge it. It's hurtful. We made an agreement. The agreement was that you'd be here and that I was going to tattoo you, and it's a transaction we both agreed to have with each other. So if you're not holding up your end of the bargain, the repercussion is that you still pay for my time, because at a time my business works, and if you are making it impossible for me to get paid for my work, it's just painful. We're humans. We made an agreement. Basically you lied to me, but whatever, I don't know you and essentially in the end of it all, it doesn't really matter. It's just like a blip in the ocean of my life. So of course you will lose access to me at that point. But I think the painful part is just the human part, the part where we made an agreement and you skipped out on it and instead of holding your end of the bargain in some way or saying, okay, there's repercussions for this mess and I will be responsible for them, instead of doing that you just like ignore me. Right? I'm trying to. I will always text and say are you okay? I was supposed to. We were supposed to have an appointment. You're not here. So, yeah, it's humanly painful for me. Probably not the same for everybody, but for me it is this next one. This is where I was debating whether or not this one would be number three or the other one will be number three. I decided this is number three. When people bring guests without asking and then insist that their guests stay in the room with us, that's really hard for me. It feels very disrespectful. I only have so much energy, especially on the day when I have two clients, especially on I don't know a season that is hard for me, like summer it's hot, it's hard to tattoo, it's hard to be in a mask. We're in COVID, so any extra people at risk? If people bring guests in without checking in with me and maybe they don't check in with me because they know that I will say no, because I say no to guests pretty much 100% of the time, except for very few exceptions, when I already know the guests really well because they're a previous client of mine or a friend of mine. In that case I say okay, but regardless, more people in the room takes more energy from me and so if I'm surprised by a guest, it's just like an energy drain on me and I'm already expending a lot, so it just makes me feel like I didn't consent to this other thing that's happening around me and I'm supposed to also perform at my best creating a tattoo that's going to be on someone's body forever and also be like a nice human while I'm doing it. So, yeah, they ended up for that Check in and please just listen to your tattoo artists' boundaries. If they say no guests, no guests. Number two is a thing that happens somewhat regularly with different folks at different times, because it's so common. I think it's one of the worst things that I experience ongoing and that's why it's in this list, because a lot of these other things that don't happen very often, like somebody asking me for change for their payment, I don't know happened like a couple of times in my whole career. This other thing happens fairly regularly. So at number two, we have this type of occasion when I have a cancellation policy and a cancellation policy is a week of notice. If you can't give me a week of notice, you lose your deposit, and if it's closer and closer to the date, if it's a day of especially, I ask for a payment. It's not a full-day payment, but it's pretty close. It's a few hundred bucks, I believe it's 400 now. So this thing happens sometimes when people have a thing happening with their bodies, like maybe they're starting to get sick or their partner is sick, but they're not sick, or they had a surgery that they're not healed from yet. So the day of the appointment will message me and say, hey, my partner has a scratchy throat, I feel fine. What do you think? And I don't have the luxury to be like, oh, it's fine, I'll take the chance. No, I have to say no, you're not coming in, we're canceling this appointment. But because they're making me do the cancellation, it's much harder than to say, hey, you canceled last minute, you owe me money. Or, in another case, if somebody is like they come in and they'd had a major surgery and they're clearly not healed and they're like let's get tattooed, and I'm like, no, you can't get tattooed. When you're healing from a major surgery, you have things happening in your body. It shouldn't not be my place to decide that. You're an adult, take responsibility. You're not supposed to get tattooed. If you're healing from a major surgery or you have a big cut or you have an active infection or your partner is sick, you're going to probably get sick too. Don't make me decide that for you, because what's really happening is that you're manipulating me into feeling bad and not charging you my cancellation fee, which just it just sucks. That's what's happening for me, even if you're not realizing it, and the fact that you don't then offer like the great thing to do with antidote to that would be to say, okay, now that we've decided that this is not a good idea, a decision that you, my tattoo artist, made for my well-being, or maybe also your well-being, right like we want to protect each other. Now that this decision has been made, how about you know what's the cancellation policy? Remind me, let me pay you some money. Do I owe you any money? Any of those questions? Do I owe you money? Great question to ask when things like this happen. So don't make me decide and then pretend like it was my decision, so you're not at fault here, so you're not going to, you know, have the consequences of having my day be wasted? Essentially, that's a huge, huge, big pet peeve of mine. Okay, so this last one, at number one. It's kind of like the most intense and serious one for me. If I feel this way when I'm working on you, I will probably not work on you again. So it's when people treat me or tattoo artists as like we're servants over furniture, like we're things, like we're only there to fulfill this one thing that they need us to do in a really specific way, according to their specific specifications, and that we don't get to have boundaries or needs or feedback or feelings, or you know what I mean. So I guess the way what makes me feel this way is in one instance when somebody who was really lovely that I was tattooing one appointment, I believe she checked in with me too, but she brought a few friends of hers in, it wasn't just one, it was like two or three people and they were kind of excited, giggly, upper-class middle-aged women, all white, and I felt completely invisible. When they were there, they just talked over my head to each other. They wandered around my space like it was their space. There really wasn't anything specific they did. That really bothered me. I felt disrespected by the way that they talked around me, by the way they took up all the room air, by the way they treated me like I wasn't actually really there or like I was a machine just fulfilling a transaction between me, like between my client and me, and it wasn't actually a person worth of engaging with. They didn't ask me any questions, they didn't really acknowledge my presence there, even though it was my space. So that's a very specific time. I remember feeling this way with a client or it wasn't even my client, it was the friends and then a couple other times that happened also with clients disrespecting my boundaries around. Having people in the room just like pushing their agenda no matter what I said, also makes me feel like that kind of dehumanized. People argue with me about design or size, like to really intense extent where it seems like they know better. In one case somebody was insisting that I do a really specific color on her skin that I did not feel like would work or would look good or would really even do what she wanted to do. So I said I don't feel comfortable with this, I'm not gonna do it. And we had a giant fight about it. She felt like I was being disrespectful not just not being obedient to what she wanted and I felt like she was being boundary steppy because I did not feel comfortable with what she was asking for. So why would I tattoo something on somebody I'm not comfortable with? If I don't think it's gonna look good, if I think it's a bad idea, I'm not gonna do it, no matter how much you want it. It's kind of a finer, more delicate topic and it's something that isn't easy to put your finger on. It's just the way that people treat you and usually there's other people involved. So again, it's kind of a group think situation. It's really almost never happened when it was just me and the client, just the two of us one-on-one. It's kind of a hard one to explain. I don't know if I did a good job. I hope you understand what I'm saying and the antidote for that is I don't know, just consider everybody in the room. Make sure everybody in the room is feeling seen in some way. That's it. We got through our top 10 tattoo artist pet peeves Pretty specific to me. I would say I don't know if other tattoo artists would say that these are their pet peeves. I'm sure lots of people have their own lists of this type of thing. People who work with people like people be peopeling. It's just like how it is People, they're going to be peopeling. And I love people and sometimes it's a lot. It's a lot to work with people every day, day in, day out, but for the most part I love it. It just gives me life and that's why I do it. Okay, my darlings, have a very, very excellent end of your week. Have a great weekend, please, please, please, hit subscribe if you don't already. Rate review and hit me up if you have anything to say. And, yeah, just tell me what you think. If you have a thought, I'd love to hear it. There's a anonymous form for submitting comments that you can find through my Instagram handle, which is Micariot, so use that if you like, and I'll talk to you very, very soon.

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