What a deal–NOT!

December 18, 2008


If you are shopping for body jewelry, or looking for a good piercer, I have 3 words for you:

Don’t be Cheap!

In our consumer society, we are conditioned to shop for the best value, looking for a sale, getting a deal, negotiating for a bargain, and getting the most bang for the buck.   Unfortunately, when it comes to piercings, this type of bargain hunting doesn’t apply well.

In terms of looking for a piercer or choosing jewelry, I’ll tell you flat out: You get what you pay for! Oh, it’s not an absolute guide–I’m sure there are crappy piercers out there who may overcharge their customers.  But as a general rule, studios who charge a little more for their services can be depended upon to be more professional, cleaner, and carry better quality jewelry.

Piercers and Studios: If you call up two shops and compare prices for a particular piercing, and one is higher–go with that one! Furthermore, don’t try to be cheap and say, but “I can get that ten bucks cheaper over at XX.”  Instead, ask why.  If you ask the more expensive place to explain why their prices are higher, chances are you will get an earful of why their jewelry is top quality, how their clean and safe shop procedures require good quality decontamination equipment and disposable, sterile equipment, like needles and gloves, to be purchased.  Good piercers take pride in their professionalism, and hate to be undercut by hacks or people just in it for the money.

Look for the most skilled, experienced piercer you have access to, with a clean shop, and a good portfolio.  When I look for piercers, I don’t even consider the pricing at all. I find a piercer I like and pay whatever they ask.  And I tip!

Jewelry: Top quality jewelry costs more.  It’s worth it. Why? Oh . . . let me count the ways! Implant grade metal which won’t cause allergic reactions or skin sensitivities; precision machined parts so the beads and balls don’t fall off; premium finishing and polishing so there are no nicks and burrs to irritate your healing flesh or capture pockets of bacteria.  Ask for and check! that your jewelry is made from a reputable manufacturer and is smooth and gleaming to the eye.  It’s kind of like the  plumber guy from the movie, Moonstruck:

“Then there’s copper, which is the only pipe I use.  It costs money.  It costs money because it saves money.”

(Love that movie!) This is not to say that you can’t look for specials or negotiate.  If you find piercers you like and develop a good rapport with them and are a good client, they may be willing to work with your budget.  Sometimes shops have coupons, or run special deals for the holidays, or give a discount for a referral.   Lots of online jewelry retailers have special deals, points earned, sales, etc.  Look for those, but don’t buy cheap.  And don’t buy your jewelry at the mall! (Yes, I know, I’ve said that before, but it bears repeating.)

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Are your rights as a piercee being violated?

December 11, 2008

I haz rights?

Yes, thanks to the Association of Professional Piercers, who crafted and promulgated them, there’s a Piercee’s Bill of Rights.  Knowing what they are will go a long way toward making you an informed Pierced Consumer.

Have your rights been violated?  Are you exercising your rights when you’re looking for a piercer or getting pierced?   You don’t have to take it!  I want you to complain if you are not given the opportunity to have a safe, clean, skillfully done piercing. It’s up to you to take responsibility for getting safe, healthy piercings, and demand, from yourself and from your piercer, that these rules be followed. March! Protest!  Organize! Chain yourself to redwoods . . .


Okay, maybe I’m getting a little carried away. (Calm, I am calm . . . ) Anyway, without further ado, here they are:

A Piercee’s Bill of Rights

1.  To be pierced in a hygienic environment by a clean, conscientious, sober piercer wearing a fresh pair of disposable medical examination gloves.

2.  To be pierced with a brand new, completely sterilized single-use needle that is immediately disposed of in a medical Sharps containing after use on one piercing.

3.  To be touched only with freshly sterilized and appropriate implements, properly used and disposed of or re-sterilized (where appropriate) in an autoclave prior to use on anyone else.

4.  To know that piercing guns are NEVER appropriate, and are often dangerous when used on anything–including earlobes.

5. To the peace of mind that comes from knowing that their piercer knows and practices the very highest standards of sterilization and hygiene.

6.  To have a knowledgeable piercer evaluate and discuss appropriate piercings and jewelry for his/her individual anatomy and lifestyle.

7. To be fully informed of all risks and possible complications involved in his/her piercing choice before making any decisions.

8.  To seek and receive a second opinion either from another piercer within the studio or from another studio.

9. To have initial piercings fitted with jewelry of appropriate size, material, design, and construction to best promote healing.  Gold-plated, gold-filled, or sterling silver jewelry is never appropriate for any new or unhealed piercing.

10. To see pictures, be given a tour of the piercing studio, and to have all questions fully and politely answered before making or following through on any decision.

11.  To be fully informed about proper aftercare, both verbally and in writing, and to have continuing access to the piercer for assistance throughout the healing process.

12. To be treated with respect, sensitivity, and knowledge regardless of tender, sexual orientation, race, religioins, ethnicity, ability, health status or piercing choice.

13. To change his/her mind, halt the procedure and leave at any point if the situation seems uncomfortable or improper.

These are so important, that there will be more about each of these rights in later posts. But just for fun, did you know there was a:

Patient’s Bill of Rights

Library Bill of Rights

Digital Consumers Bill of Rights

Taxicab Riders Bill of Rights

Math Anxiety Bill of Rights

the sadly failed Passengers Bill of Rights;

And, just in case you slept through your Civics Class, THE Bill of Rights

Thanks to the APP, The Commons at Flickr, The Library of Congress,   The New York Taxi & Limousine Commission, and MSNBC

I want to hear from you if your rights as a piercee have been violated–drop me a comment!