Should staff be made to cover up their tattoos?

Should staff be made to cover up their tattoos?
20 Aug 2015

I don’t think we can quite say ‘Gone are the days when customer service staff are made to cover up their tattoos’, but we are certainly moving towards it not being such an issue.

What do you think when you see someone in a store serving you and you can see a tattoo or tattoos? Would you even notice? I do.. But that is because I am generally admiring them. I am wondering what they mean to that person and how much it might have hurt. I will often ask the person what it means, and I have always encountered people that are very happy to explain their tattoo. Except the occasional ones where the tattoo represents an ex of course. Oops!

When I tell people that I have two tattoos, I have had a few people seem surprised and have even heard ‘You don’t look like someone who has tattoos’

How is someone with tattoos supposed to look I wonder. Not like me maybe?

I am quite proud of my tattoos. They both mean something to me and they both fricken hurt!!!! I am proud of myself for pushing through the pain and I can’t believe I was actually able to get through it! Sure, I didn’t get through it as gracefully as others might. I did ask my tattoo artist at one point if she had swapped the tattoo needle for a knife and was actually just slashing my back open. She laughed and said she wasn’t, but it sure felt like it!! I also may have said a few swear words… She told me I did ok, but I think she was just being polite. I tried really hard not to be a sook.

Now when I see people with tattoos, there’s almost this silent understanding where you know how much pain they went through to get it and you think they are that little bit tougher (Well I like to think that anyway) I feel like the day I got my tattoo, I became just that tiny bit cooler (That’s what I tell myself)

My boss was surprised when I got my first tattoo. He couldn’t understand why I would do it. In his words ‘Men get tattoos, not women’ I explained to him politely that times have changed. For someone who is quite openly not a fan of tattoos, he asked a lot of questions! I found his curiosity amusing. He never asked me to cover up my tattoos at work though, which I wouldn’t have wanted to do anyway. When I got my second tattoo which is on my back, he was even more shocked! ‘How could you do that to your back?’ he asked ‘People will see it!’ Once again he was asking lots of questions and after suggesting that I shouldn’t have done it, he actually admitted that since seeing my first one, he had been thinking of getting one himself. He wanted to know what it felt like and thought that at the age of 50 something he had nothing to lose. I told him that if he really wanted to do, then he should! I suggested that if he was to get one, he should obviously put a bit of thought into it. To my shock, he came into work a few months later with a tattoo on his thigh!! I couldn’t believe it. And you know what, he was pretty proud of himself and also thought he was that little bit cooler ;)

I put a lot of thought into my first tatt. Actually over 10 years. I was 31 when I finally got it. I actually wanted to get one at the age of 20, but my mum begged me to wait until I was older instead. She later admitted to me that she had hoped that she would be able to keep saying that and then I would never actually get one. She was wrong about that obviously, but I am glad I waited a bit longer to get one.

How I came up with my first tattoo, was because of my kitten named Bert. Bert stood in paint one day and left little paw prints on the tiles outside the back door. This was a bit annoying for my dad who was doing the painting, but it was also a bit cute. Sadly, Bert passed away, but I was able to always think of him every time I stepped out the back door and saw his tiny footprints. We moved house when I was about 19 years old and I remember wishing I could take his little footprints with me to the next house. Many years later when my husband and I got our first dog together, our Rhodesian Ridgeback Zara, getting a tattoo of her paw print was really a no brainer. I got a copy of her paw, the tattoo artist shrunk it down a bit for me since her foot is so huge! And I got it put on my foot. Zara is 8 years old now and she is considered old for a Ridgeback. I hate to think of the day when she won’t be around, but at least every time I look down at my foot, I will be reminded of her :)

Here is my Zara                                                                           And here is her footprint












After the pain of that tattoo, I decided that would be it, no more for me. I was happy that I could say I had one, but I did not want to go through that pain again. But after I had my daughter, I started looking at possible tatts again and thinking about my next one…


I saw a girl in a clothes shop with a beautiful cherry blossom tattoo on her back and I knew that was it! That is what I wanted! I spent hours scouring the internet for good cherry blossom tattoos (there are some pretty ordinary ones out there) and found the kind of look that I wanted. I roughly designed my tattoo, each branch representing someone important to me. (One of them being my daughter) I also searched for reputable tattoo artists that were happy to not use an outline and found Cassie from Alchemy in Hawthorn. Highly recommend her if you are ever thinking of getting a tattoo.

I know that many businesses don’t allow people to show their tattoos, and I guess there will always be people who have a problem with them. But there are also plenty of workplaces who don’t have an issue with visible tattoos at all. They seem to be getting a lot more common these days. Victoria police is one organisation that I know have tried to ban visible tattoos. I personally don’t think that is really necessary, but I do think neck tattoos and face tattoos should probably be covered up somehow.

So my answer to ‘Should staff be made to cover up their tattoos?’ would be No. I don’t think they should have to cover up their tattoos, unless they are particularly offensive. I would love to hear what you think. Please let me know below.


Kellie Claire xx


Kellie Claire

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