Turquoise Cherry

Charity volunteer told to leave store because of her tattoos

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Have you seen this story of moronic bumpkinry? A tattooed charity volunteer at a Marks & Spencer in Newcastle was told her appearance was not "acceptable" and was told to leave. As she pointed out, it seems unlikely they would have asked her to leave if she was a shopper.

M&S charity volunteer told to cover-up tattoos or leave store - Chronicle News - News - ChronicleLive

I feel like I'm reading a story from 1956.

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"I can’t change how I look and they were basically saying that I don’t look acceptable for the rest of my life.".

She should have thought about that before getting visible tattoos or heavy tattoo coverage.

M&S isn't Vans, Top Shop, Urban Outfitters etc. What did she expect?

Lately American Apparel have been shying away from hiring heavily tattooed people.

I think this is great. I'm sick of seeing heavily tattooed people in every coffee/clothes/record/food shop.

No I'm not being sarcastic.

It's time for people who make themselves look like freaks to accept the fact that they are freaks and stop whining that nobody accepts them in the non-freak world.

Nobody forced that girl to get tattooed, she wasn't born tattooed, it was her choice, regardless if she volunteers for charity work. Are long sleeves and a high collar too much trouble when working with the public?

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As far as I know, at least at the American Apparel in Toronto, they have never hired anyone with visible tattoos. In fact they make a point of not hiring people with tattoos there and have since it opened on Queen St. They take a polaroid of you when you apply and the hiring of sales staff in store is largely based on appearance and looking like and American Apparel ad in the flesh.

Anyways, I agree with Stewart, and have felt that way for a long time.

It's unfortunate that people don't accept other people for a variety of reasons including having tattoos, but any adult should be able to recognize that in society, realize it's not changing any time soon, and then make the choice about how far you want to stand out from the crowd.

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Not heavily tattooed (yet) but got enough visible ones to draw a reaction and quite frankly id rather have someone not agree with having them then every fuck tard telling me their prospective plans for a shitty tattoo unsolicited at the drive thru. Just give me my Starbucks already

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My critique of the article in simple as, we will always be judged by the uninitiated even though those in the upper level on the Board of Directors of such high profile companies sit at their meeting tables with tattoos covered by armani suits are making marketing decisions on policy and protocol for the lower level. The situation is laughable because of the "middle road" the lady attempts to straddle but ultimately "judge not lest ye be judged" is not yet to be found in management paperwork.

For what it's worth, here's my summery;

[Nikki Bell was confronted by staff and told to leave the Newcastle store where she had spent three hours to helping a North East children’s cancer charity with a bag pack.The 23-year-old was told her appearance wasn’t in keeping with the company’s policy to look “acceptable” and “smart”.]

Just how "acceptable and smart looking" are the bald, gaunt, weak, emaciated children that M&S are looking to help? The objective of the "fund raiser" is much more tawdry for the "image of the company" dog and pony show they wish to portray than the tasteful tattooed arm. This is not to mention that I never seen an obese educated woman serving drinks in a casino...

[Following the humiliation in the busy food hall, Nikki, of Tynemouth, North Tyneside, who has floral tattoos down her right arm, spoke to a manager who said she was being “irrational”.]

How typical of the elite to use such words and quotes, much like "agree to disagree" is no agreement at all and should net the user a punch in the throat.

[Today M&S apologised for causing any offence. A spokesperson said: “M&S Newcastle regularly welcomes and supports bag packing days in-store, with the charity raising over £1,000 on Saturday alone. It was certainly not our intention to cause offence.”]

Neither was it Nikki's "intention" to cause offense and I'm surprised they only quoted how much they raised for charity only once.

[but Nikki said: “I’ve had tattoos since I was a teenager and not once have I been treated like a criminal. I sometimes get people looking at me because my tattoos are unusual, but I still dress quite girly and I was dressed really smart that day.]

Trying to be tasteful and tattooed can often net differing opinion. And as to the criminal treatment, welcome to the world of tattooed.

[“For me to feel like I have offended anyone by being the person I chose to be is just horrible.”]

Mkay.....

[but then was approached by a woman supervisor. She said: “She asked if I had a cardigan and I said no so she just went ‘I’m going to have to ask you to leave’. She said tattoos were against company policy]

That Woman is some poor bastards Mother-in-Law.....

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She should have thought about that before getting visible tattoos or heavy tattoo coverage.

M&S isn't Vans, Top Shop, Urban Outfitters etc. What did she expect?

Lately American Apparel have been shying away from hiring heavily tattooed people.

I think this is great. I'm sick of seeing heavily tattooed people in every coffee/clothes/record/food shop.

No I'm not being sarcastic.

It's time for people who make themselves look like freaks to accept the fact that they are freaks and stop whining that nobody accepts them in the non-freak world.

Nobody forced that girl to get tattooed, she wasn't born tattooed, it was her choice, regardless if she volunteers for charity work. Are long sleeves and a high collar too much trouble when working with the public?

This is interesting. (I'm not being sarcastic, either). I get what you're saying about choice, consequences, etc, but I still think they were out of order because she wasn't employed by them. She was "working" on their property, so if they wanted her to leave because she was trespassing, or raising money for another company, that's different. The way I read the story, their reasons for ejecting her could be extended to anyone walking into the store. Employers are able to legally demand people working with the public look a certain way all they like when it comes to choices, but I would still like to know how far M&S' policies extend. I keep mine covered but I don't expect other people to be as private about their tattoos as I am.

That's not me making a point, by the way. I am aware that forums can make people sound passive aggressive when they don't mean to, and I rarely post, so I want my tone to be clear.

I am curious about your other comment about being sick of seeing tattooed people in every shop, etc. I don't live in a place where many people are tattooed, so when I go to London or Manchester, it's good to see people with tattoos. It sounds like you're talking about an integrity issue as well, keeping tattoos from being overdone, pulling them back from being a trend. Is that what you mean?

Ursula, I'd heard about American Apparel taking photos of prospective staff to make sure they "had the look". I think they had gotten in trouble for this a few years ago, but I have a memory of this being more to do with weight and age discrimination. I don't know what happened with that though. Obviously not enough to make them stop the twattish practice.

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She should have thought about that before getting visible tattoos or heavy tattoo coverage.

M&S isn't Vans, Top Shop, Urban Outfitters etc. What did she expect?

Lately American Apparel have been shying away from hiring heavily tattooed people.

I think this is great. I'm sick of seeing heavily tattooed people in every coffee/clothes/record/food shop.

No I'm not being sarcastic.

It's time for people who make themselves look like freaks to accept the fact that they are freaks and stop whining that nobody accepts them in the non-freak world.

Nobody forced that girl to get tattooed, she wasn't born tattooed, it was her choice, regardless if she volunteers for charity work. Are long sleeves and a high collar too much trouble when working with the public?

I ageee that places of business have the right to decide on an image for their employees, and I agree that tattooing is a choice.

My question is, am I missing something in the translation, or are you saying that people with tattoos are freaks? At what point do you become a freak-is it after your first tattoo, or is there a line you cross when you're down to a few bare spots of skin left?

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It's time for people who make themselves look like freaks to accept the fact that they are freaks and stop whining that nobody accepts them in the non-freak world.

I look like a freak, but I work in the non-freak world. That's why I cover up when I'm at work. It's a very small price to pay.

@Stewart Robson, I seem to recall you saying that you worked as a designer before tattooing, right? I'm guessing you were heavily tattooed then, but probably not on your hands or neck. Hell, when Bob Roberts asked me if I tattoo, I said, "No sir--I work in an office. No hands or neck for me," he held up his hands and said, "Me, neither!"

God, I sound old, but I feel like the latest generation of tattooed folks think it's their right to have their hands and neck done. If you're around tattooers or heavily tattooed people all the time--which most non-tattooers aren't--that's one thing, but it's nice to be able to get by in the real world without too much hassle, too.

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@Turquoise Cherry I think it's 'context sensitive' some places it seems right that the staff have visible tattoos, others not. It varies from city to city and job to job. Visible tattoos don't belong in M&S.

That above article didn't make it clear what charity work the girl was doing nor who for. It did make it clear that she became argumentative. If I argue, even as a customer, they have the right to ask me to leave. If I was volunteering, you could be damned sure I wouldn't argue with the staff who were playing host to my charity work. Just because you work for free it doesn't mean you can be a dick about it. There's still some responsibility to be professional.

I guess my perception of 'tattooed people' is different from most. The majority of my customers are at least skilled professionals, some are craftsmen, some are lawyers, bankers, accountants. Many are self employed or own a business or company. Most of them don't discuss their tattoos with their co-workers, even more don't show them. You can bet most of them don't show them outside of our shop, conventions or maybe the gym. These are the kind of people I have respect for. The kind who don't flaunt their tattoos at the grocery store. then complain when someone doesn't like it.

@Dan S once you decide to get a tattoo, for yourself, you are weird. I dont care what anyone else says. A freak is somewhere between that and a bodysuit. except me. I'm normal and everyone else is weird. - but really, your question doesn't have a standard answer but that doesn't weaken my point.

Believe it or not, we at Frith Street have a "dress code" If you don't have tattoos, you can't work with us. We think that's fair.

To be honest I find it sorta dull and small-minded to discuss the pros and cons of if adults who deliberately chose to do something they know isn't totally acceptable across the board, should bitch and whine when someone points out that it's not totally acceptable.

An extreme example:

If a nudist who likes to hang around without clothes, does it at a nudist/naturist beach or resort, good for them. Adults exercising their freedoms and hobbies in a mutually agreeable, non-harmful manner.

If they do it at a schoolyard at playtime...

Context is everything.

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@hogg yes. I got heavily tattooed while I worked in that environment but I always wore long sleeves to client meetings, however informal. Tattoos often distract from the matter at hand.

If the volunteer worker mentioned here had cared about her charity work, she would have understood that and covered up a little, to best serve the charity she was supposed to be helping. As it stands she failed. The story didn't even mention which charity she was volunteering for. Nor did she wear any evidence of that charity for her victim-style press-shot.

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I look like a freak, but I work in the non-freak world. That's why I cover up when I'm at work. It's a very small price to pay.

@Stewart Robson, I seem to recall you saying that you worked as a designer before tattooing, right? I'm guessing you were heavily tattooed then, but probably not on your hands or neck. Hell, when Bob Roberts asked me if I tattoo, I said, "No sir--I work in an office. No hands or neck for me," he held up his hands and said, "Me, neither!"

God, I sound old, but I feel like the latest generation of tattooed folks think it's their right to have their hands and neck done. If you're around tattooers or heavily tattooed people all the time--which most non-tattooers aren't--that's one thing, but it's nice to be able to get by in the real world without too much hassle, too.

I'm in the same boat as you and share your approach. I love my tattoos but I understand the world I live and work in. Therefore it's long sleeved shirts all the time. i've said this before, I live in Arizona and when it's 115 degrees (which is 45 celsius) I'm in those long sleeves. Hands, neck and face tattoos belong to those whom can make a living and it not effect their ability to do so. We live in a world that is prejudicial and it will not change.

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I agree with time and place in regards to when you should cover up. I think a lot of the younger generation ( of which I am still a part of, just a bit older) feel this need to have attention getting, or job stopping tattoos. Yes many people have tattoos now, yes many people who don't have tattoos still think people that have tattoos are criminals and drug addicts. I have this discussion at least once a day at the shop when some young kid asks me to tattoo his neck or hands and has little to no tattoos else wear. If you have other space to fill, fill that first. People who aren't tattooed don't understand nor do they care, why or how we commit to adorning ourselves the way we do. And it does not really matter as long as the person getting tattooed understands they will be viewed differently. We had a shop apprentice who had his face tattooed . We did not do it. He told me that when he walked in to get it done he did not realize how different his life would be. The next day he went to the store and he said it was like he entered a whole new world. every one starring some out of awe, some out of fear.I think it's a good example, all though extreme to put things into perspective. If you get tattoos on public skin people will have some thing to say about it. So be prepared to let it roll of your shoulder and deal with it.

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We live in a world that is prejudicial and it will not change.

Except...it actually does change. Slowly. It already has changed quite a bit in terms of acceptance of tattooed people. Maybe not at M&S, whatever the hell that is, but some places. Tattoos are not universally accepted by any means, but where I live (Los Angeles) they kind of are. I have them because I like them and I don't care what others think of it. If I got kicked out of a charity event I was volunteering at I guess I'd be pissed. It doesn't really matter. She'll be fine.

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I look like a freak, but I work in the non-freak world. That's why I cover up when I'm at work. It's a very small price to pay.

@Stewart Robson, I seem to recall you saying that you worked as a designer before tattooing, right? I'm guessing you were heavily tattooed then, but probably not on your hands or neck. Hell, when Bob Roberts asked me if I tattoo, I said, "No sir--I work in an office. No hands or neck for me," he held up his hands and said, "Me, neither!"

God, I sound old, but I feel like the latest generation of tattooed folks think it's their right to have their hands and neck done. If you're around tattooers or heavily tattooed people all the time--which most non-tattooers aren't--that's one thing, but it's nice to be able to get by in the real world without too much hassle, too.

Saw a lady today with two neck tattoos and a shitty half

Sleeve an that's it who came into work. That's all I could think was, you didn't earn that. And you must really hate having a job

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"It is pretty when you hide beauty. Japanese put the loveliest designs on the inside of our clothing so that it can only be peeked at, not stared at. Similarly, I only allow photos of my own body as I am proud — as a tattooist — to show my work. If I were not in this line of work, I would never show them to anyone, except my family and buddies who also have tattoos." - Horiyoshi III.

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@Turquoise Cherry I think it's 'context sensitive' some places it seems right that the staff have visible tattoos, others not. It varies from city to city and job to job. Visible tattoos don't belong in M&S.

That above article didn't make it clear what charity work the girl was doing nor who for. It did make it clear that she became argumentative. If I argue, even as a customer, they have the right to ask me to leave. If I was volunteering, you could be damned sure I wouldn't argue with the staff who were playing host to my charity work. Just because you work for free it doesn't mean you can be a dick about it. There's still some responsibility to be professional.

I guess my perception of 'tattooed people' is different from most. The majority of my customers are at least skilled professionals, some are craftsmen, some are lawyers, bankers, accountants. Many are self employed or own a business or company. Most of them don't discuss their tattoos with their co-workers, even more don't show them. You can bet most of them don't show them outside of our shop, conventions or maybe the gym. These are the kind of people I have respect for. The kind who don't flaunt their tattoos at the grocery store. then complain when someone doesn't like it.

@Dan S once you decide to get a tattoo, for yourself, you are weird. I dont care what anyone else says. A freak is somewhere between that and a bodysuit. except me. I'm normal and everyone else is weird. - but really, your question doesn't have a standard answer but that doesn't weaken my point.

Believe it or not, we at Frith Street have a "dress code" If you don't have tattoos, you can't work with us. We think that's fair.

To be honest I find it sorta dull and small-minded to discuss the pros and cons of if adults who deliberately chose to do something they know isn't totally acceptable across the board, should bitch and whine when someone points out that it's not totally acceptable.

An extreme example:

If a nudist who likes to hang around without clothes, does it at a nudist/naturist beach or resort, good for them. Adults exercising their freedoms and hobbies in a mutually agreeable, non-harmful manner.

If they do it at a schoolyard at playtime...

Context is everything.

OK, I read the article differently. I thought the woman at M&S got argumentative (and on the phone), not the charity volunteer. Re-reading it, it's still not clear to me who got argumentative. One thing is certain: it's a shittily written article. I agree that anyone arguing on another person's/company's property isn't being professional.

This discussion has been great (and admittedly, reassuring) to read through. I'm not heavily tattooed yet (money), but I've always intended to keep them private, and I keep the few I have covered unless I'm at home or in a social situation. I've always thought I was being a hypocrite because although I believe that society should always be challenged to accept everyone, I myself am not willing to use my tattoos to do this. I'm a fairly private person and my tattoos are not a billboard to make me be seen a certain way. I hate being looked at and I hate attention. That said, while I don't have any particular respect for people just because they don't cover up their tattoos, I do think society in some areas is changing slowly to accept them. Whether or not that should be an aim, I don't know. I thought in principle it was a good idea, but after reading these comments, I'm getting the idea that it could be to the detriment of the art itself. Very interesting.

Stewart, really interesting that you mention nudism. Did you see the article in the paper yesterday about the nudist who has been in prison for six years for refusing to wear clothes? I was thinking of this discussion yesterday when I read about him.

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Here's another article and I quote "Yet most HR managers also concede that all things being equal, they will hire the more clean-cut employee. In fact, piercings (37 percent) are the top physical attribute that may limit an employee’s career potential, according to CareerBuilder.com, followed by bad breath (34 percent) and visible tattoos (31 percent)."

Visible tattoos and other corporate no-nos - Business - Forbes.com - msnbc.com

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I just remembered something I heard at the shop about a year ago.

This was in Toronto.

I was talking with my friend and his client, who pretty much has sleeves. They are not offensive tattoos, just regular stuff. He told me he has recently been hired for some type of construction related hands on job. Went to the interview in a long sleeve button down shirt, like most people would. Was immediately hired. Shows up on the job site a couple days later ready to work in a t-shirt and work pants. The guy hired him took one look, said "what the fuck is that SHIT!" The guy was confused thought he had something on his shirt, then realized oh, my tattoos. The boss flipped out asking why he hadn't told him about his tattoos and fired him.

The guy wasn't super mad because he's an adult and understands how people are, but he was pretty surprised since he wasn't really going to be seen by anyone other than other workers on the site.

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just part of the culture of entitlement and narcissism. when doing something for charity, it's not about "you" so suck it up and leave if that's what you are asked to do. i didn't realize "giving up one's saturday" was cause enough to make such a big deal over something. she's quoted as being made to feel like a shoplifter but that's a real stretch because she wasn't arrested for having tattoos, just asked to leave. as far as general acceptance of tattoos, it will come and go. it's a cycle that repeats over time and trust me, there are still really conservative people out there that get freaked out by them. i don't have any problem with that, kinda like it actually. if i volunteer and they ask me to leave i would and then i would just go find another charity or charity event in which to volunteer my time if that's why i was really there. most people do good deeds so that they can feel good about themselves instead of giving as a sacrifice.

in general im offended daily by peoples ignorance and narcissism, but i don't feel the need to address or attempt to change all those people. it's a lost cause. instead i enjoy the few moments when someone realizes their error and makes it right on their own, that's far more satisfying.

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I think it's important for people to learn that they are going to be around all types of people and treat them with respect and (ideally) embrace their differences. Ideally.

This is the real world and stores are just businesses. Just because they sold a generation or two on the idea that they're a happy, fuzzy part of our lives and families, we act like they're not businesses. They have one imperative -- make money. If a store feels like people working there, even for free, even for charity will put some customers off, they get to say so. Stores want to put forth the plain, beige, unnoffensive face of conformity. Little old ladies still think tattoos are for sailors and whores and some of us are cool with that, even embrace it -- and all of us should at least learn to deal with it.

You don't get take part in this thing with a long history of putting us on the outside of mainstream social circles, then act surprised by it. You choose this for yourself and people's perceptions are known. If you want to give society the finger, don't get mad at them when they know what it means.

Furthermore, the article that started all this shouldn't even be an article. It should be one girl's Facebook status update. Must have been a light week for news.

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