Baxter's Blog

SHOP GIRLS

Posted in Human Interest by misterroadtripper on January 6, 2011

This is from my 101 Most Influential People in Tattooing list on www.vanishingtattoo.com.

80. Shop Girls or, as they are too frequently referred to, “Shop Bitches,” are the dedicated, hardworking men AND women who act as pivotal liaisons between the outside world and the “way too busy to do anything but tattoo” tattoo artists. That’s the quick description. The long description includes: greeting customers, setting appointments; assisting with choosing an appropriate tattoo and the artist to apply it; cleaning up the tattoo stations after they have been infected and covered in Vaseline, ink and blood; ordering supplies; mopping floors; cleaning restrooms; listening to artists’ sob stories about spouses or last night’s date (maybe both); turning on the lights in the morning and off at night; and, lest we forget, Windexing windows. You get the idea. And what do these right-hand men and women receive for their tireless devotion? Mostly bad wages (a measly $10 an hour is all too common) and, sometimes, tips. Or just tips, depending on the shop. And why do they do it? Sometimes it’s to get a foot in the door to becoming a tattoo artist in their own right, but that scenario is all too often forgotten, the promised apprenticeship disappears and even the “free tattoos for working here” never quite materialize. In short, being a Shop Person is a relatively thankless job and, unless these stalwarts get their kicks hanging around bad attitudes, inane conversations, loud music, long hours and the smell of green soap, it’s a job only for the (you fill in the word). Just to set the record straight, Tattoo Artists of the World, without these wonderful and necessary people, your business would be totally mashugana and your fabulous careers would be headed to hell in a hand basket.

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