Paulywhore

Customer Respect. Does it exist?

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The answers to this thread are simple. There are assholes everywhere. No matter where you are. Nobody likes the I'm too cool for you Tattooer, Bartender, Sales Clerk, whatever. We also don't like the whiny customer, guy who waves his money in your face like he is buying you type, or stalkers, or the never satisfied customer. There is etiquette for any business out there. If you don't act accordingly you will either: Lose customers, Not get served, be asked to leave, or in extreme cases, Beat the Fuck up. You are not the only Tattooer in town, and You are not the only customer in the shop. It's really easy. And if somebody doesn't treat you right....don't come back. That's like the battered wife who stays with her husband. "He mistreats me but I keep going back, whimper, whimper."

Ok I'm done. Get it? Got it? Good.

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Oh, I forgot to ostentatiously name-drop Fred Corbin among the pantheon of big-name tattooers that I'm cool enough to have tattoos from. I probably neglected him in this discussion as, in my experience, he was as far from disrespectful as you can get. Dude was fucking cool to me the first time I ever travelled out to the Bay to get tattooed in 2002. I greatly appreciated it.

Oh, and one other note: With all due respect, I'd argue that the relationship of collector to tattooer, and vice-versa, is not analogous to that of bartender or sales clerk to customer. I don't spend three hours naked with the gas station attendant as they grope and permanently alter the appearance of my ass. I do with Tim Lehi. No wonder tattooers hate people. I would hate all that intimacy with people, and this is coming from a personable guy who can muster a semblance of social skills, at times. I can see how being "nice" to people all the time and babysitting them through what some perceive as some mystical rite of passage would get old, fast. So I sympathize with tattooers' plight. At the same time, I'm not exactly a fucking imbecile, and I've done my homework. It was cool of Dick Stell to say to me last month "You'd be a great shop owner or manager. You know more about tattooing than some tattooers." I'm the first to acknowledge that I don't know shit about tattooing, drawing, or painting, technically. However, if I haven't developed at least a mediocre eye for the aesthetic over 15 years of study, I'm retarded. Problem is, everything becomes a fucking insecure little boys' pissing contest. I really don't give a fuck, I just want to learn shit. If I have any insight to offer anyone who's sincerely interested in this bullshit (and not ascending the social hierarchy of "cool"), great. There are shit tons of tattooers who know more about this crap than I ever will, and if they're willing to part with some of their knowledge, I'm grateful. It seems pretty simple. I swore a lot in that paragraph.

Tattooing is rock-star shit, ego-trip-wise. Difference is, you don't interact with rock stars. The reason why so many tattooers are so disrespectful is because they can get away with it. I had issues with a few of the tattooers I encountered right from the get-go, when I first started getting tattooed. Why? Well, I'm an adult, and I demand some modicum of respect . . . And I happen to get along with almost everyone I meet. If you have a problem with me, it's your problem. I'm far from perfect, but I treat others respectfully. I see right through these idiots' weak facade. It's boring and pathetic. Not everyone's as dumb as they think they are. If this particular breed of person who makes a living as a tattooer wants to see an imbecile, find a fucking mirror. Can I get a witness??

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After subjecting y'all to my shit, I actually motivated to read a few more of these comments . . .

Dude, Pauly was forced to wait TWO HOURS after his appointment, and was subjected to further disrespect thereafter. I've seen that type of behavior countless times. Pauly's being eminently reasonable, not hyper-sensitive. He wasn't asking to be "BFF's" with everyone in the fucking shop, he was asking for courtesy and a respectful gesture. That's understandable, considering how inconvenienced he'd already been by the shops lassitude and egotism. I commend him for standing up for himself. Guarantee if Pauly'd stripped naked and had a Kuronuma bodysuit, these guys woulda been arm-wrestling to suck his cock. Then again, most tattooers don't even know who Kuronuma is. Hopeless idiots.

Hell, one of the big-name hotshots I mentioned above had to be dragged out of bed to tattoo me two hours late a couple years ago. I was a touch peeved, but the way he greeted me with a look of contrition and a handshake, coupled with his subsequent treatment of me and the diligence he committed to the tattoo, earned him a $50 tip. Charity's a two-way street, though. Tattooers are not more important than the rest of us peasants.

I can see why tattooers want to eat cyanide when groupie clients want to be best buds with them. Pauly was not asking for that. He was asking, as one of you said, to be treated professionally.

Most of my friends are tattooers, now that I think about it. They hate tattooers passionately, as well, for good reason.

The whole thing's an adolescently-fixated joke. Glad there are a few tattooers who see through the weakness. They're good arm wrestlers, too! I love good arm wrestlers. God Bless!

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Pauly did kinda flip on Shawn, a touch. Still, he may be feeling ganged up on, justifiably. Kinda like the scenarios that too often transpire in tattoos shops. And junior high locker rooms . . .

Oh, and the concept that a generation ago Pauly wouldn't have even "gotten in the door" is wrong. One of the few old farts I was lucky enough to get tattooed by was Mike Malone. From what I saw, that grouchy fucker would tattoo anything. He wanted to make money. Don Nolan did my whole back. Dude was a consummate professional when he tattooed me, and I knew zip about tattooing at the time (not that I'm any fucking "expert", now). Nolan worked next door to Jerry and Jensen, among others, in Honolulu. Bob Roberts refused $40 of my $60 tip and took me and my bud to dinner, as, perhaps, he picked up on the fact that we were about tattoos, not ass-kissing. Those old guys might have been gruff and direct, but I'd guess they weren't looking for fucking sycophants. Malone might have had a temper, but he was always on point and respectful to a dumbshit kid who came in, gave him a couple Fuente cigars as a recommended icebreaker, and asked for "a heart with some knives in it." I'm not idealizing the guy, by any means, nor was I alive on Hotel Street in 1943, but American tattooing is not old school Japanese tattooing, in which, from what I've read, artists were extraordinarily selective.

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Once last coffee-fueled comment regarding old school etiquette: Pauly is a self-described drop-out and metal/construction worker. Stereotypially speaking, he'd probably get along better with the dudes in Michael McCabe's "New York City Tattoo" than my scrawny nerd ass would. Reminds me of something Malone said in his interview by Hardy in "Bull's Eyes and Black Eyes." He said that, despite his deep respect for Japanese art and tattooing, he saw himself as more of a "street type" tattooer. He'd rather put a forearm tattoo on a construction worker than one more tattoo on one of the "black t-shirt" hipster collectors that he so often derided.

I'll shut up now. Blame "SBoyer" for turning me on to this thread.

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Kinda like the scenarios that too often transpire in tattoos shops. And junior high locker rooms . . .

I spend a LOT of time in Jr. High locker rooms..... I thought you looked familiar, Pshackman!

heh

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I'm not into the whole treat my customers like they are at a spa experience--- However, i've always felt I don't want them to feel like an ass for paying me at the end of the tattoo either.

Sometimes I think tattooing can be like a " trip together" -"get stuck in an elevator together" kind of experience---you are bonded for the time that you are getting tattooed. It can be an intense sometimes intimate experience. But then you come down, the door opens and you go on your way.

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Glad someone got something out of my bile. I'm a piece of shit human, too, but at least I recognize that and try to be fucking nice. Nevermind. Kindness is weakness.

On another note: Speaking of junior highjinks and kinks, my butch lesbian janitorial look-alike junior-high health and gym instructor got busted for lingering in the girls locker room at one point. I also got her in trouble, big time, when I told my Pops that she basically grabbed my barely pubescent junk in front of the whole class while allegedly putting emergency first-aid pressure on my femoral artery in health class. Stell tattooed that arterial zone last month, and it was a far more enjoyable experience. (It sucked.) Anyway.

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They don't call me "The Furnace of Rage" at work for nothing.

Rock Boyz? Sheet. Tru ganksta shit: Login | Facebook

The White Michael Vick, Dick Bitch.

"Haters": I spent $4418 saving this runt's life when he was mauled by a Black Lab a few days after this photo was taken. And yes, I feel guilty about both incidents.

This is relevant to tattooing. There's a Rollo original to the right of my heinous dome.

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CUSTOMER RESPECT...OF COURSE IT EXISTS...WHERE WOULD WE BE WITHOUT CUSTOMERS.... It is very varied...like someone said there are all kinds of people..so there are all kinds of tattooers....Most people when they first come in the shop think i am scowling at them...but i cannot see past 15 feet so I am trying to discern who it is....

I work in a street shop..I always have worked in a street shop...I like it.....I always liked Mikey perfettos(pronounciation..not spelling) way of running a shop...the dry erase board you put your name on...whether you want a back piece or a litlle kanji...you get your name on the board..you will get tattooed that day... he takes the board away at a certain point and you gotta come back tommorrow...Also his customers are fiercely loyal...people go there with sleeves or work from really great and well known artists and his customers will look at it and say.."those are nice...but look at the ones Mikey put on me"

Tattooing has turned into a real whirlwind...more people today getting tattooed than ever...more tattooers tattooing than ever...more personalities....I promise i will not go into a "back in the day" rant.. I am not sure if it was better back then anymore but with the tattooer and tattooed population exploding that adds alot into what is happening...With all these people comes all these personalities and egos and behavior....

It is a imperative for a tattooer to remember that his customer may have worked 40 hours for the 200 bucks you are gonna get in an hour or two...and it is also hard to have 6 or 7 18 year old girls ask you'what place hurts the least on the body and i can hide it from my parents" naturally I think...if you want a tattoo you will get it where you want it regardless of the pain...it is a tightrope or have people coming at you all day asking"how much would you have charged for this?" rolling up their sleeve...

but it is important for customers to remember that a tattoo machine is not a magic wand...(well Id swear it is in some peoples hands)Like all the young tattoo-ologists that come with their friend to get their first and you put the pattern on and they ask their friend rather than look in the mirror...or the facebook thing...tattooing with people trying to film it to put it on line with their phones...or when you go to dip your machine in ink they slip a camera in and take a shot of a pattern with one line....I mean it is alot....

then the memorial tattoo.... they are going thru the biggest changes in their life and you are poking holes in them...there is so much going on that people do not realize....and while all that is going on you may have had a fight with your significant other, or your kid or grandkid is sick....but you have to leave all that outside of what you are doing..

Then we have that all too ga-narly EGO...on both sides of the fence...Like in sobriety at the end of a 12 step meeting they say the lords prayer and I heard a guy say "deliver us from ego" rather than "deliver us from evil"...ego is a huge thing...more now than ever...Opinions(like mine i am typing out now) are a big factor too....what was it rollo said"alot of tattooers are building monuments to themselves rather than doing what the customer wants"

people get tattooed for all kinds of reasons..and sometimes people think a tattoo is gonna change their life...its not...it is just them with a tattoo...

Then the cool factor... right??? I had a guy tattooing for a couple of days at the shop who used to have a serious attitude...not anymore..and i asked him about it.and he said he learned it..like watching more 'experienced" tattooers act bothered by the customers...Its actually pretty funny when you think about it...but he realized that is what he thought he was suppose to act like...and you tattooers would laugh if you knew they guy he learned from...this guy was notorius like sitting behind a counter with his hands hidden smiling and talking to the customer while flipping them off with both hands

Most Tattooers start hanging around shops very young...they are very impressionable...it is the old nature versus nurture arguement..and one day the nature wins over if they were nurtured liked the guy i just mentioned...unless they are naturally nitwits to begin with...but they may have learned that arrogant behavior....but usually they will lose it if it is in their nature....

Or how about they act like they think they are suppose to act because they heard some story about a big noise tattooer acted towards a customer...the story is completley blown out of proportion and when you get the real skinny on what happened it all made sense....

Tattooing is hard work...most people that spend an hour in a shop that you spend your whole life in probably get the perception it is easy....IT IS VERY DRAINING.....I mean ass kicking as hard as running a jack hammer or ditch digging(I guess i still am kinda)ass kicking...

but the customers are the real reward...that is why it gets good...and I have a alot of friends that agree...However the customer also makes it the biggest struggle...

what is that saying..'people only ask how your doing so they don't let on how little they care"...Ok a customer books an appointment(thats why i like walk ins..I tell them i will get em tattooed if they can wait...for the people in front of them or the hours it takes to draw the picture they showed you on their phone...)is every single customers printer always out of ink...

But lets go with an appointment..Ok the guy works all week and he has an appointment at 5 on friday...he is running a little late but figures it is his time anyway so what is 15 minutes...at the same time at the shop the artist has a guy there with the cash that wants a small one...well is the appointment coming?...if i tell the guy at the shop no and the customer does not show up i am out both tattoos and cannot pay my starbucks debit card(yeah right...somethin important like that)...whatever...so you take the guy there and then the appt. shows up... he flies right up to your station and you tell him.."i got this one infront of you and then i will get to you..."he is pissed...pacing...but he will get over it....He shoulda been on time..I am a nut about being on time....it is all about the individuals personality...

Ok or you are working on a tattoo that some guy worked all week for the $ and another customer comes up and wants to ask you how you can add on to a tattoo..and you try politely to tell them.."hey i gotta do this right now when i get to you you will have my undivided attention" in which the customer replies.."do you think cherry blossoms will work?" like you did not say anything....usually we are guarded until we see where they are coming from...

there is a whole lot going on before you walk in the shop....

The customers are usually intimidated to begin with...they think their questions will be dumb...but i always ask them what they do...lets say they cut hair..i do not know anything about that..like they do not know anything about tattooing...of course they have questions....fire away....but when you get the customer that wants you to give them the answer THEY WANT..not the truth...tattooing is so overrun now they will find someone who will give them the answer they want...maybe not the tattoo but the answer....

People love their tattoos....I was told that very young by a great tattooer....remember people love thier tattoos...I have seen a perfectly good reaper done on a customer by someone and had a tattooer look at it and say 'who did that reaper?...they shaded it backwards..." (actually it is that cliff raven reaper..it is not shaded backwards it is like that on the flash) so a week later i get a call from the customer"shane can you fix my reaper?"...Why? whats wrong with it? it is because that guy told you it was shaded wrong? it was fine and you loved it for 2 years until some nitiwt says something about it...you loved it when you picked it....that is so sad...

Anyway....It is a fine line......but there are all kinds of tattooers..like there are all kinds of customers...

Another older tattooer told me when i was young that it is the experience...the whole of it...someone who bumps into a world famous guy tattooing them may do a beautiful eagle but they like the one that we, as tattooers, may not think is the best technically because they dug the experience people get tattooed for all knids of reasons and art is relative......

My longest friendships are with tattooers...in spite of us being tattooers..some i may not see everyday or every year but when i do it is like not a day has passed....and in every tattooer there is a customer...WE ARE CUSTOMERS...all of us....and regardless of what they may portray they all put there pants on one leg at a time...noone truly shits beige....

I do not take breaks....not rest breaks anyway..i may have to pour some color..but I usually do not stop to smoke or coffee or eat...I barely do that between tattoos...and i know i am not as good as my peers...but i have been around it and done it since i was a little kid and i know part of the reason i am so swamped every single day is customer relations...THANK GOD I AM SO SWAMPED....

gratitude...being grateful that we have the best job in the world...in spite of the bad backs,neck extra 20 pounds the lack of privacy,the hurt hands and wrists,bad eyes,the judgements,bad diet,the intra industry personality wars, who knows who, thousands of people chasing the same nickel....the cant get to sleep because i crossed that line on the eagle feather...,is my dick too small( where did that one come from) the IRS,state laws,the internet etc...etc.etc...it is still the best job in the world....

The customer is the most important part of all of this....no question....it is a two way street and keeping your side clean is the best thing you can do....

PS i did an article/ interview with Big bad Jack Rudy that is coming out in TAM #25...check it out....

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Shane! Missed you, thanks for popping in and setting the record straight, especially regarding people shitting beige. We'll all be looking forward to your Jack Rudy interview, and I hope we get to see you soon.

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Oh damn I feel like i opened a can of worms with this post, It kinda seems like we are flushing something out, whatever that is im not sure? Its good so hear all you guys chime in and give your two pennies worth, I guess we all have one thing in common, uuhhh tattoo's?

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After subjecting y'all to my shit, I actually motivated to read a few more of these comments . . .

Dude, Pauly was forced to wait TWO HOURS after his appointment, and was subjected to further disrespect thereafter. I've seen that type of behavior countless times. Pauly's being eminently reasonable, not hyper-sensitive. He wasn't asking to be "BFF's" with everyone in the fucking shop, he was asking for courtesy and a respectful gesture. That's understandable, considering how inconvenienced he'd already been by the shops lassitude and egotism. I commend him for standing up for himself. Guarantee if Pauly'd stripped naked and had a Kuronuma bodysuit, these guys woulda been arm-wrestling to suck his cock. Then again, most tattooers don't even know who Kuronuma is. Hopeless idiots.

Hell, one of the big-name hotshots I mentioned above had to be dragged out of bed to tattoo me two hours late a couple years ago. I was a touch peeved, but the way he greeted me with a look of contrition and a handshake, coupled with his subsequent treatment of me and the diligence he committed to the tattoo, earned him a $50 tip. Charity's a two-way street, though. Tattooers are not more important than the rest of us peasants.

I can see why tattooers want to eat cyanide when groupie clients want to be best buds with them. Pauly was not asking for that. He was asking, as one of you said, to be treated professionally.

Most of my friends are tattooers, now that I think about it. They hate tattooers passionately, as well, for good reason.

The whole thing's an adolescently-fixated joke. Glad there are a few tattooers who see through the weakness. They're good arm wrestlers, too! I love good arm wrestlers. God Bless!

You said it brother, thanks for seeing respect for more than just a word.

Respect seems like such a simple concept to some, but to others it is a very complicated thing to practice, i guess depending on a persons background and the experiences they have had in life contributes to they way they give and expect respect?

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Pauly did kinda flip on Shawn, a touch. Still, he may be feeling ganged up on, justifiably. Kinda like the scenarios that too often transpire in tattoos shops. And junior high locker rooms . . .

Oh, and the concept that a generation ago Pauly wouldn't have even "gotten in the door" is wrong. One of the few old farts I was lucky enough to get tattooed by was Mike Malone. From what I saw, that grouchy fucker would tattoo anything. He wanted to make money. Don Nolan did my whole back. Dude was a consummate professional when he tattooed me, and I knew zip about tattooing at the time (not that I'm any fucking "expert", now). Nolan worked next door to Jerry and Jensen, among others, in Honolulu. Bob Roberts refused $40 of my $60 tip and took me and my bud to dinner, as, perhaps, he picked up on the fact that we were about tattoos, not ass-kissing. Those old guys might have been gruff and direct, but I'd guess they weren't looking for fucking sycophants. Malone might have had a temper, but he was always on point and respectful to a dumbshit kid who came in, gave him a couple Fuente cigars as a recommended icebreaker, and asked for "a heart with some knives in it." I'm not idealizing the guy, by any means, nor was I alive on Hotel Street in 1943, but American tattooing is not old school Japanese tattooing, in which, from what I've read, artists were extraordinarily selective.

Damn PShakman, you have a great deal of knowledge about tattooing and legendary artists, thanks for sharing some of your knowledge, I think your what they call a "OG".

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wow! i just registered for this forum and this thread is my first read and overall impression of the place. this thread really caught my eye and i thought it was amazing just how in-depth it became and also how incredibly well hostility was handled. i dont really have anything to contribute to this thread in particular because it was already so well done before i got here! i did want to share just how impressed i already am with the forum and the people involved. Thanks for having me here folks.

... mo

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I respect customers,but never kiss their asses.Maybe it's just me but nothing about the initial story that started this thread seems rude.You have to understand,the customer that is getting tattooed before you may not be sitting well and moving,or maybe they are making the artist stop many times.If they have to stop many times or if the customer is sitting like a fish that's just been taken out of water their initial time estimate for that tattoo may be off.Maybe they just were off the mark when giving a time estimate in the first place because it's not always an exact science.If there was a customer with an appointment after you,then they would have to wait longer too.Sometimes tattoo artists are overworked and it can also be stressful for them,if you are a smoker you know that smokers sometimes smoke when they are stressed to decompress.Most people (at least in America) are required by law to be allowed at least a 30 minute lunch break and normally two 15 minute breaks throughout the day.Normally tattoo artists don't take a lunch break and if they go outside for a cigarette can you really fault them for that?The shop helper is there to help the shop (i.e. the workers of the shop).If you are sitting for a $300 tattoo you might want to bring a drink with you in the first place.While yes,I would have had someone ask if you wanted something if I was ordering coffee,but it isn't that rude not to.I would have also told you that I would knock like $20 off of the price of the tattoo for making you wait that extra 1hr 35min,but you shouldn't expect that.What sometimes people perceive as a "cool guy tude" isn't.You have to understand that they didn't ask you for your time,you asked them for their time and because of that their time is more important than yours.If they asked you to get a tattoo and you were 1hr and 35minutes late that would be OK because in that situation your time would be more important than theirs.If you have a reservation at a restaurant at 6pm and your meal doesn't arrive at your table until 6:45 does the chef then have a "cool guy tude"?I don't think so anyway.I also don't think it would be a good idea to smack the "motherfucker" right in his mouth because you feel disrespected.A lot of tattoo artists I know keep weapons near them just in case something like that happens(I keep a sock full of gold dollars by me)...I don't know try it and see what happens.You say that you are a "very easy going guy" and that you don't judge people,but you come on a forum and ask people for their opinions and when Shawn shares his point of view and his life experiences you try to turn it into an argument or fight,when you are the one that asked for people's opinions.If that isn't a "tude" I don't know what is.

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I definitely see both sides of the issue. I deal with a lot of people who come in and try to dictate how the shop is run and have to squash that quick but I feel like I always greet a potential client with an open mind. Even if what the person wants is less than cool as long as it can be turned into a tattoo no big deal. Shit happens sometimes tattoos run late and often times it because we are trying to get everyone who wants to get tattooed in. If someone is running late I always apologize and let them know they have enough time to get something to eat and give them suggestions (I dont get people coffee). I feel like the person getting tattooed deserves the respect of being able to finish their tattoo without being rushed as the next client will get the same respect when there time comes.

On the other hand I have stopped getting tattooed in places for similar reasons as this thread starter. I don't mind waiting and i usually make a day out of tattooing so that doesn't bother me but if I don't like someone or their attitude I don't really want to get tattooed by them. But on the other hand tattooers are characters and you arent only paying for the tattoo part of it is the show take it or leave it.

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Funny thing is, most tattooers are sedentary lumps of shit that couldn't fight their way out of a colostomy bag. Tattoos don't make you tough.

Peter Shackman is now officially my favorite dude on the entire planet for this.

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Its that respect thing again... tell anyone for long enough that they are great at something and their egos become inflated. Even the crappy artists seem to think their sh*t don't stink. Some people want a tattoo, some want an experience, some want both. When the bubble bursts you better be good and you better be nice, there are lots of quality artists who will be screaming for business.

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