Watching Your Career Just Flutter By

, , , , | Working | January 26, 2018

(I own a tattoo shop and have recently taken on an apprentice. He’s got a bit of an attitude, but for the most part he’s a promising artist. However, because he’s just an apprentice, we normally pair him with clients who want something simple or easy. On this particular afternoon, he’s set to tattoo a client who would like a butterfly on her shoulder. He complains about how he’s too good to do stuff like butterflies until the start of the appointment. I supervise for the first twenty minutes or so before I’m needed back up at the front. About an hour later I hear crying and screaming coming from the back room.)

Me: “[Artist], [Client]! What’s going on? Is everything okay?”

([Client] is crying and [Artist] looks irritated.)

Client: “He ruined it! Just look!”

Artist: “It’s not my fault she wanted a dumb f****** butterfly tattoo! I’m better than that.”

(I take a look at [Client]’s back, and instead of a butterfly, I see a huge mess of lines and colours. There’s the faint outline of a butterfly which I saw him tattoo, but other than that it looks like a huge blob. I’m instantly beyond furious. I pull [Artist] out of the room and let him have it.)

Me: “[ARTIST]?! What the f***?! Why the f*** would you do this?!”

Artist: “I told you at the beginning of the appointment I didn’t want to tattoo anymore f****** butterflies! I’m too good for this s***. I should be able to tattoo whatever I want.”

Me: “You’ve been tattooing here for only two months, and we’re the first place to give you an apprenticeship. Until you have people specifically asking to get tattooed by you, you take what we give you, and you do it well. This is beyond unacceptable.”

Artist: “That’s not fair! I should be able to do whatever I want!”

Me: “Well, now you can. You’re fired. I’m also calling every shop in the city letting them know what you’ve done. I will also be asking [Client] if she wishes to file charges. Now, get out.”

(He left, but not before throwing a hissy fit and throwing all his equipment and ink on the ground like a toddler. I calmed down and went to talk to [Client]. I offered her three different options: we would pay for her laser removal, give her a free cover-up, or, if she didn’t want to get tattooed at our shop, we’d pay for a cover-up elsewhere. We also called in the police and proceeded with pressing charges. She sued, and I believe she won.)

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