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Tattoo Artist Called Out For Refusing To Give Grieving Woman A Discount On A ‘Memorial Piece’

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Should we patronize a business frequently enough, it’s easy to develop special relationships with the people who work there.

Oftentimes, this might result in getting what seems like special treatment from these individuals, such as an extra glass of wine at a bar or an appetizer you didn’t order at a restaurant.

But while there is nothing wrong with accepting this special treatment, one should never expect it from these individuals, no matter how much business we bring them.

Redditor and tattoo artist That_Squid_Dude got a request from a previous customer helping her get a very special tattoo.

Her desired image, however, was a bit more than she was able to afford, resulting in her asking the original poster (OP) for a discount.

Something the OP was unwilling to accommodate.

Worried that he was being unsympathetic to his customer, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for sticking to my prices as a tattoo artist.”

The OP explained how his customer had a very specific request and budget for a commemorative tattoo which he found himself unable to accommodate.

“I’m (25 M[ale]) a tattoo artist, and recently had a client I’ve tattooed once prior shoot me a message last minute to get a tattoo done.”

“It’s a memorial piece for her sister who passed recently.”

“The tattoo she wants is something her sister wanted but never had the chance to get done.”

“I have no issues doing memorial pieces.”

“However she told me her budget was only $100.”

“Tattoos can be a luxury item and they can get expensive fast.”

“I gave her some slight variations of how I could do the design to fit comfortably in her budget, but she’s dead set on the original piece.”

“Price difference is between $50- $100 more than the previously stated budget.”

“I talked to her about the difference in price and we spent a bit talking about how losing loved ones is hard.”

“However I don’t feel comfortable selling myself short as an artist, because this is how I pay my bills.”

“Am I in the wrong for sticking to my prices?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

The Reddit community agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for refusing to give their customer a discount.

While people were sympathetic to the customer’s situation, everyone agreed that the OP was absolutely right to put his livelihood first.

“My grandfather was a big fan of Ferraris, but he never got one before he died.”

“I tried going to the Ferrari dealer, and told them how my budget was only $10k.”

“But it would’ve been a great honoring memory of my late grandfather.”

“They wouldn’t budge, and said $2 million was firm.”

“Are they the a**hole?”- DutchTinCan


“Like you said tattoos are kind of a luxury item.”

“If you can not afford it you should not be trying to get one.”

“I truly understand where she is coming from, but maybe she should wait 2-4 weeks after she saves a little more and come in.”

“Don’t compromise your talents because then you will be bending over for a good portion of your customers since there are a lot of people who get memorial tattoos.”- hopefulintentions


“She can wait until she’s saved up the full price since she doesn’t want to negotiate on the details of the piece.”

“Playing on sympathy is inappropriate here.”

“Loads of tats are memorial.”

“You can’t start a ‘half price with a funeral program or obituary’ promo and earn your living.”-ScarletDarkstar


“Where I am tattoo artists have a minimum.”

“For example, my last tattoo was $150 for a small name in cursive which literally took 10mins, I counted.”

“They charge per hour.”

“Doesn’t matter how quick it will be, it’s per hour.”

“My small name tattoo cost nearly the same as another larger more detailed tattoo.”

“Don’t sell yourself short.”- Status-Pattern7539


“She’s using the backstory of the tattoo to get a cheaper price.”

“She can save up and get it done when she can afford to get it done properly.”- anonymouse957


“You’re doing nothing wrong.”

“Like you said, tattoos are a luxury.”

‘She doesn’t need one, she wants one.”

“It would be nice to be able to give your work away for free to anyone who wants it to commemorate someone, but you have bills to pay and there are many people out there in sad situations.”

“Most probably don’t ask you to work for free because they know it would be rude.”

“I don’t think it’s fair to work for free for someone who is rude enough to pressure you.”

“You have been kind enough to give her options within her budget and if she wants a more expensive option, she’ll have to save up for it.”

“The language you have used here is kind but honest.”

“You have done nothing wrong.”

“The bottom line is that you can’t afford this.”- Antstst


“Your prices, your work, your choice.”

“It requires work and skill to tattoo a good tattoo and if you deliver good work you should never sell yourself short.”

“And If she wants it, she can save up for it.”- ImagineReality125


“This is how you pay the bills.”- iambecomesoil


“Stick to your price.”

“It’s worth it, now and later.”- tosser9212


“Like you mentioned, it’s a luxury item.”

“If the price you gave was honest for the work and materials, stick with it.”- einat162


“While I’m sympathetic to her for the loss of her sister.”

“This is not for you to give her a discount that would take money from your pocket.”

“Maybe she can wait until she can afford the tattoo.’

“This is your work therefore how you pay bills etc.”

“Did the funeral home give them a discount?”

“No, why?”

“Because that’s how they pay their bills.”- Recent_Sherbert982


“I mean you don’t even know her, how do you know she’s being honest?”

“If she really wants that memorial piece, she can continue to save until she can afford it.”-juiceboxfriend95


“She needs to save up more for her tattoo.”- River_Song47


‘Never sell yourself short.”

‘The best advice I can give you is to not care about that dead sister like you didn’t know her.”-Bannmannmeme


“As a tattoo artist, you have spent a lot of time and energy to get where you are, and sometimes clients forget you have bills to pay as well.”

“As a consumer, I really hate saving up for my tattoos, piercings, etc, but I also know that it’s worth it in the end.”- Mary_P914

“If you can’t afford it, you can’t have it.”

“NTA”- ccl-now

“I’m of the opinion that you pay for people’s time and art.”

“If you can’t afford to pay the price to get what you want, that sucks, but it’s not on the artist to lower their prices to accommodate you.”

“You need to save up a little longer so you can afford what you want.”

“OP you have a skill that people pay good money for.’

“Don’t sell yourself short.”- MeiliCanada82


“It’s a luxury and a special piece.”

“She can save up and make a special memorial trip for her tattoo.”

“You’re a good person for feeling bad, but many people have memorial tattoos and you can’t offer discounts for everyone.”- kb-g

“Definitely NTA.”

“My last tattoo was last month and I saved up for it for months.”

“Just a tiny bit put aside out of every paycheck just so I wouldn’t mess up my bills and food budget.”- SinStarsGalaxy


“If she wants the exact piece she needs to pay the full price for it.”

“She can save up and do it at a later time.”

“Don’t sell your art and livelihood short.”- Mysconduct

“If she’s dead set on the original piece and insists on short paying you.”

“Do a hundred bucks worth of work and stop.”

“Tell her you’re more than happy to finish when she’s happy to pay.”

“Do not sell your skills at a lower price, that only devalues your work and you pay twice.”

“NTA.”- Nevyn-57


“What you could do is offer her a chance to save up and book her a few months out.”

“Don’t lower your prices though.”

“That only hurts you.”- whisker-fisty-cuffs

The OP later shared that he and his customer eventually came to a compromise.

“I talked to her today and we found something more appropriate for her budget, so we both ended the day content.”

It certainly would have been nice if the OP had offered his customer a discount as a way of expressing his sympathies toward her.

But that is something he should have offered, not something she should have asked for.

Even if the customer might not be getting exactly what she was hoping for, one has little doubt that her sister is still touched by her gesture.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.