For the last few months, I’ve been scrimping away money to restart my tattoo collecting. I currently have three altogether, all from different shops in my area, and out of the three who did the work, I decided to return to one in particular. I liked the artists that worked there, and trusted their professionalism so much so that I’ve unfailingly recommended this tattoo parlor to everyone that would ask me where to go for quality artistry.


That all changed this morning when I received a response to an inquiry I’d sent a week ago. Now, I’d already contacted the shop prior to the message I received this morning, and even had a Saturday appointment set. The email said the following about the piece I’d requested to be done:

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“What on earth did you request to be tattooed?” , you might be wondering. Take a look for yourself, and keep in mind where the turtle is, I was wanting a stack of holy books instead. You know, the Bible, the Qur’an, and probably the Talmud. Essentially a sci fi Alice in Wonderland being depicted as having conquered religious fantasy. I really wanted her as a centerpiece to my science fiction themed sleeve I planned to create.

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Now, I found his response to my original design inquiry to be preposterous. Especially as this refusal is on behalf of the entire shop, and not just a particular artist not wanting to do it. Even more frustrating is the fact they’ve already done an anti religious fashioned tattoo for me a few years ago, and Alice is a sweet picnic in a park compared to the previous tattoo I am talking about now. Check it out.

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So, I responded as civilly as I could muster. I mean, I felt my anti religious attitude was being equated to racists or gang behavior. I was angry and confused at the change in standards. I wanted to know why anything anti religious was taboo, and more importantly, why this shop didn’t recognize the hate inspired by crosses, bible verses, and so on. All I got for an answer was a whole lotta avoidance.

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At this point, I realized it was hopeless to argue, but I called out his obvious discrimination, and made it clear this kind of supported societal “correctness” flew in the face of the freedom of expression that is intrinsic to tattoo art. And of course I said I’d quit crediting his shop.

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Now, in my mind this discussion has ended. And frankly, I am the one ending it, so this is a business owner’s dream scenario when disappointing a customer. He wasn’t going to really explain why he lumps anti religious material in with gang art or racist propaganda. I was wrong about that. In fact, Godwin’s Law came into full display. Yes. He played the Hitler card! Insert the Reductio Ad Hitlerum.

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Sci fi Alice in Wonderland conquering dogma? Bad.
Hitler…because…history? Acceptable.

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See this big pond full of what looks like excrement? It’s a mile deep, and he went for a dip in it. Hitler, as a historical reference is okay, he claims. Alice stepping lightly on neatly stacked holy books is a no go.

Just…wow.

I could understand if she were resting a foot on the executed corpse of Christ, and you have Allah laying on the other side of the ground with his head cut off while she towers over them both with a gun in one hand and her trusty light saber in her other. I just wanted holy books, but you’d think I was asking for the head of John the Baptist.

Even more insulting is he then turns it around like he is doing me a favor for refusing to do the work. He is somehow protecting me from the bad things people do because of images and words they are exposed to. He is saving the entirety of northern Kentucky from my anti religious inspired blood bath by insisting he will not create my requested art. I guess he figured how ridiculous that sounded because he ended the whole poorly thought out philosophized excuse by declaring we all are entitled to our own opinions.

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So, here is my opinion that I am entitled to. This wasn’t a professional denial of service at all. It was a personal one. I would bet money he started perusing my social media profile and didn’t like it. It has nothing to with being worried about offending the public or going against whatever barely believable social correctness he wants to follow. Look at the tattoos this shop has gladly put to skin over the last eighteen months.

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I see anti religious content.

I definitely see gang related art.

Oh, and the politics he claims to not like tattooing? Funny. Seems there is that too.

The bottom line here is that I was blatantly discriminated against on a personal level. There’s no other way to ice this cake, but I did manage to sweeten the frosting to something I like. I went to four other equally rated shops in the area, all of them agreed to do Alice, no problem. THEN, I showed them this shop’s bullshit refusal. Now the competition has a nice little edge in competition to show clients who considered this “politically correct” shop.

Now, in the spirit of not trying to create another Memories Pizza incident, I am not naming the parlor that has caused me so much disappointment. I think my sharing with other parlors what has happened will be good enough. And to the tattoo shop owner who believes in opinions over how the world really works?

Yeah, I ‘ve got a right to my opinion, and I hope your business feels its bite, pal.

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**Like my ramblings? Check out my e-book "The Badge of Survival" on Amazon!

https://kdp.amazon.com/title-setup/A12K3X9QN58UQE

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Comment by Bluegrass Skeptic on April 21, 2015 at 6:00am
My sentiments exactly. Clearly this was bias playingxagainst me personally, not professionally.
Comment by Michael Penn on April 21, 2015 at 1:38am

I'm not a big tattoo fan but your view is the one that makes sense and I do not understand these people at all. It's your body and your body art. How would the parlor end up with a black eye for giving you a tattoo of a particular type? Who would see your tattoo and be so offended that they would immediately hate the parlor that did your work? In fact, how would anyone know the parlor that did the work just by seeing the result?

I don't get it.

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