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At least if you live in the United States, you've probably seen it. The auto insurance television commercial that shows a girl sitting on a couch while her parents are shaking their heads in disappointment and expressing shock and outrage. At this point, we think we see the reason for the upset as the young girl sticks out her tongue revealing a huge barbell. The "punch line" of the commercial, however, is that the parents are not upset that she got a tongue piercing, but that she didn't shop around for the best price!
Cute. At least for once, in a commercial, the body art wasn't the object of disdain. However, the very idea that people should be shopping for a bargain when getting a piercing or tattoo is about as pleasant as a root canal.
What's the Big Deal?
I think it's safe to say that most of us are not rich, and we all appreciate a good deal. Why not? Blowing money unnecessarily is just a waste, and most of us enjoy finding a bargain even if we can afford to spend more. When shopping for cars, electronics, furniture or even food, frugal living is the way of the wise these days. Grabbing up freebies and samples are at the core of our very survival. So, why the big deal about shopping around when looking for a tattoo or piercing?

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You Get What You Pay For
Ever heard the saying, "You get what you pay for"? Yeah, well, the body art industry is one place you won't find a better example of the prudence of that advice. Quality in the body art world can range anywhere from absolute crap to jaw-dropping fantastic - and everywhere in between. And although it may not always be this way, in most cases you're going to get exactly what you pay for.
What about piercings? Guy 1 charges $15 for a tongue piercing, and Guy 2 down the street charges $50. Why do you think Guy 1 can charge so much less? Possibly it's because he doesn't spend the money to sterilize his equipment properly? Or maybe he never spent the money to even be trained in how to pierce properly? Or maybe he uses inferior quality jewelry, which can lead to pain, infection, healing difficulties and a lot of hassles. Do you really want to have Guy 1 sticking a needle through you just to save 35 bucks? Come on!
The Price you Pay for a Bargain
I'd be rich if I had a dime for every time I heard someone say, "I really want a tattoo from so-and-so, but they're so expensive!" If you really want a tattoo from a particular artist, why are you going to let a price tag hold you back? You do realize you'll be wearing this tattoo for the rest of your life, right? If you don't think that's worth a few extra dollars, don't get it! "But I can get the same tattoo from my buddy for half that price!" Fine - you go see your buddy and don't come looking for a shoulder to cry on when you end up with a lousy tattoo or get some kind of disease or infection from improper sterilization.
This does not mean that every quality artist charges an arm and a leg. There are some that genuinely do good work but also don't charge a lot. There are also some charging more than their work is worth. This is where research comes in. Don't choose any artist based on price alone. Look at the portfolio. Ask around to see if they have a good reputation for good work. Check out the competition and compare quality, not prices!
Some Things Never Change
"A guy came into Charlie [Wagner's] shop and said, 'I want to get me a good tattoo!' Charlie said, 'I do cheap tattoos, I don't do real good tattoos. Now, if you want a real good tattoo you go to my friend Lew Alberts. You'll get a real good tattoo but you're going to pay for it. This 25-cent tattoo will cost you three or four dollars.'" - Fun City Tattoo: History
Cutting the Right Corners
Does this mean I'm totally apathetic toward people that can't afford a $200/hour tattoo? No, of course not. But if you really want a tattoo you're going to be proud of for the rest of your life, you're going to have to pay for it. Get over the "too expensive" mentality. There are other ways you can cut corners and save for the exact tattoo you want, and we have some of the best resources right here at TattooParadise.