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"The customer is always right," is a wildly overused axiom that seems to be untrue as often as it's correct.

The knowledge and experience of a product provider often means they can give some pretty good advice when a customer is making wild demands. That is especially true for people making permanent modifications to someone's body.


The internet abounds with photographs of terrible tattoos that people decided to get for a myriad unknown reasons that we likely wouldn't understand even if we heard them.

Some are actually good ideas, just placed in the very wrong spot on the body (looking at you, gaping panther mouth about to clamp down on some guy's nipple, a beach in San Diego, 2014).

Some would have been great if that particular tattoo artist was up to the task. The execution just wasn't there.

Of course, many bad tattoos are the work of horrible fabrications of the customer, and a tattoo artist that didn't push back.

But for all of those existing regrettable tattoos there is a trove of the unmade. These are the ones that never graced the skin thanks to a few tattoo artist heroes who stepped in and confronted stupidity when they saw it.

pm1966 asked, "Tattoo artists of Reddit who have refused a client's request for a specific tattoo: What was the tattoo, and why did you refuse to do it?"

Some are actually good ideas, just placed in the very wrong spot on the body (looking at you, gaping panther mouth about to clamp down on some guy's nipple, a beach in San Diego, 2014).

Some would have been great if that particular tattoo artist was up to the task. The execution just wasn't there.

Of course, many bad tattoos are the work of horrible fabrications of the customer, and a tattoo artist that didn't push back.

But for all of those existing regrettable tattoos there is a trove of the unmade. These are the ones that never graced the skin thanks to a few tattoo artist heroes who stepped in and confronted stupidity when they saw it.

pm1966 asked, "Tattoo artists of Reddit who have refused a client's request for a specific tattoo: What was the tattoo, and why did you refuse to do it?"

Father Figure

"I'd just like to publicly thank the tattoo artist who in 1988 (on my 18th birthday) refused to tattoo a pot leaf on my leg. You are a saint."

-- jack_kels

Giphy

Plenty of Reasons There

"Some dude wanted his girlfriend's initials on his taint and requested a female artist to do it. We kindly denied it because..."

"a.) not 100% sure how that would heal and didn't want to deal with him coming back with issues trying to pin it on us"

"b.) our only female artist didn't want to go near some random dudes taint"

-- GoreTiciaAddams

For When You Need an Pop Culture Reference During Kinky Sex

"Lord of the rings ring around their butt hole. No thanks." - oldcoffee

"Speak friend and enter." - drironside

"YOU SHALL NOT PASS" - Brookeh1224

Giphy

Torqued Up Tidal Wave

"My artist who is a friend has had a few rough ones but the one he turned away was a guy that wanted waves I believe on his d*ck, which for it to look right the guy would have to be erect the whole time and he told him no."

-- Everythjngbagel

Bio-Framed 

"My tattoo artist says he once had a guy want a tattoo under his thumbnail, like he was gonna rip the nail off, then come in to the studio so he could get a tattoo that would eventually be protected by a new thumb nail."

-- bloodectomy

"Without looking up from his magazine, artist asks, '... help you?' She tells him, "yeah, I want to get 'PROPERTY OF BUCKLEY' in all caps on my lower back.'"

"Silence. Painfully slowly, the artist closes his magazine, and finally raises his head to look at them. Taking his time, he looks up the couple up and down, then asks, 'and this winner right here, this is Buckley?'"

She kind of just stammered and nodded, and the artist went back to his magazine. 'No. We're not doing that,' was all he had to say, considering the subject closed."

"Once they were gone, he looked over at me, realizing I had witnessed it all, and just said, 'f*ckin kids, man.'"

-- raging_a**hole

"Artist friend had a client who wanted a swastika on his chest. She agreed to do the tattoo, but disagreed on the placement. She said she would do it only if she could put it on his forehead. He refused. And left."

"She said that even if he did agree to it she have had refused because f*ck that guy."

-- ArcaninesFirepower

"The word 'filthy' across a 19yr old single mom's forehead (brought the baby with her to the tattoo shop). Took the time to talk about face tattoos and why she should wait to make such an extreme decision."

"Went on dinner break, came back and my co-worker had tattooed it on her. Oh well, I tried."

-- Rylan_Black

"A lady whose child recently died Wanted me to tattoo 'you should have saved her' on her chest. I convinced her to get the symbol for mental health (semi colon) and baby footprints instead."

"This woman was devastated, we talked a lot during her session. I always wonder how she is doing."

-- Grandnaguss

"Not a tattoo artist, but mine turned a request down. I wanted to tattoo one of my nipples as part of a piece on my ribcage. I wanted to put sunglasses above the nip tip and rays around it to turn my nip into the sun for it."

"Fortunately, they knew me well enough to say, 'Dude, you cried getting your ribcage done, your nipple would be even worse and it won't take the ink as well. I like the idea but no.'"

-- punkrockpizza

Clint Patterson/Unsplash

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The Association for Psychological Science published a paper that reviewed some of the research:

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