JoshRoss

Tipping/gift etiquette?

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Hey guys,

I tried the search function, but didn't find exactly what I'm looking for.

Could someone please enlighten me on proper tipping etiquette for Japanese tattooers? From what I understand, tipping isn't customary in Japan. I've also been told you should bring a gift before your session. I'll be getting tattooed in the States at a convention, should I just stick to tipping or bring a gift? My normal thing for gift-giving is usually some kind of alcohol, and I'm not even sure I can bring that into the convention.

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!

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@JoshRoss, interesting question. I'm kind of curious too. I know tipping talk is sometimes frowned upon here, but this is more of a cultural question. I personally hadn't realized tipping was not customary in Japan until I was flipping through a travel guide recently, and according to that, depending on the individual, could be considered insulting. I don't know how much of that should be believed though. It does sometimes make me wonder if I had unintentionally offended Horitomo when I got my feet tattooed.

I suppose a gift can't hurt, but I'd also be interested to hear from people who've actually been tattooed in the situation you speak of since one day, I plan to get tattooed at this Convention. Also them being in the US rather than you being in Japan, they may have a go with the flow attitude. When in Rome after all.

Did you get an appointment with Horimitsu? What day?

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For my session with Horimitsu, I gave him a small bottle of single malt scotch (emphasis on small so that he could stow it easily in his check-in bag) and I also tipped him after the session. While being respectful, I say just go with your gut.

I generally prefer giving gifts over tipping. Has more personal meaning. However in other instances, cash is always king.

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For my session with Horimitsu, I gave him a small bottle of single malt scotch (emphasis on small so that he could stow it easily in his check-in bag) and I also tipped him after the session. While being respectful, I say just go with your gut.

I generally prefer giving gifts over tipping. Has more personal meaning. However in other instances, cash is always king.

Scotch is always best. Thanks, dude!

@Lance,

I did get in with Horimitsu for Saturday. It's at 8 PM, so I'll probably stroll in pretty late.

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@JoshRoss I personally hadn't realized tipping was not customary in Japan until I was flipping through a travel guide recently, and according to that, depending on the individual, could be considered insulting. I don't know how much of that should be believed though. It does sometimes make me wonder if I had unintentionally offended Horitomo when I got my feet tattooed.

Background: I lived in Japan for a while some time ago, and I was previously married to a Japanese woman,

but I have no experience of Japanese tattoo culture.

Tipping is definitely not done in restaurants, taxis etc. However, Japan is definitely a gift oriented society.

My guess would be that a monetary tip would be frowned upon, but a gift would be appreciated.

If you go to a Japanese department store you will see many pre-packaged gift ideas, and I expect a small bottle

of quality alcohol would be appreciated.

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Apologies for partially hijacking here, but what about tattoo artists in the U.S.? I haven't had ink in over 20 years until the last month - and honestly never thought about a tipping policy. Wasn't sure if it was more like a doctor/dentist or a hair stylist... Fortunately I found out, and tipped. I also want to send a gift - was considering something like a gift certificate at some tattoo supplies website (recommendations?) Also, what is the appropriate tip amount? 20% like a waitress? More/less? I'm sure to the artists and experienced people these sound like silly questions, but from an inexperienced client point of view - we really do not know. I do know that I want my artist to know I am happy with my work and I want him to have a positive opinion of me so he is open to doing more work on me.

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Okay, so what do you do when you realize several days after that you didn't tip *enough*? My tattoo cost a little more than I had in cash on me, so I paid the much-smaller balance via Paypal. I clicked the "add tip" button on the Paypal screen, but I was so busy talking with the artist that I didn't realize that I had clicked the automatic 20% tip button on just the card payment, which turned out to only be something like 3% of the total amount. Oops.

I won't be going in for another tattoo for another year at least (got some other things need doing around the house first) and this one doesn't need any immediate touchup work. Should I just go back in next payday with the rest of the tip amount and explain what happened?

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Okay, so what do you do when you realize several days after that you didn't tip *enough*? My tattoo cost a little more than I had in cash on me, so I paid the much-smaller balance via Paypal. I clicked the "add tip" button on the Paypal screen, but I was so busy talking with the artist that I didn't realize that I had clicked the automatic 20% tip button on just the card payment, which turned out to only be something like 3% of the total amount. Oops.

I won't be going in for another tattoo for another year at least (got some other things need doing around the house first) and this one doesn't need any immediate touchup work. Should I just go back in next payday with the rest of the tip amount and explain what happened?

That would seem reasonable to me. Mistakes happen, people usually understand.

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Reviving this thread to tell a bit of a story. I live in Australia where no one really tips anywhere for anything (got a lot to do with our minimun wages being higher than some other countries as far as I know); however, I believe that tipping an artist is perfectly reasonable if you want to support their wkrk and craft. Anyway, I went into a shop a few months ago for an appointment, where they keep a decorative sign on the front desk of a pinup model with the words 'tipping is classy', but when the artist finished and told ne the price, I tried to give him the amount I had brought with me, which ended up being $20 - $30 difference because I was happy with the work, and the artist (politely) refused. Is he aware of the irony?

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@The Tig

The culture of this board frowns upon disclosing dollar amounts so you might consider editing your post to be more general.

That said, I think it's strange that your deposit wasn't counted towards the total. If your "deposit" is actually a "booking/drawing fee" it should be identified as such IMO (in any business transaction).

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I am scheduled for my first piece in a couple weeks and have made the deposit and been estimated 5+ hours and the artist is $200/hr. Plan to take some sort of small gift from here in Alaska and then probably will tip 15% or so. Just hop that I can sit that long, will be on my right calf so thinking it will be OK.

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