Local-area small businesses tend to have special connections to the communities in which they're situated. Because the business owners themselves are often community members, the comings and goings of local entrepreneurs can often stir the surrounding neighborhood up into a celebratory frenzy.
Even in major metropolises such as New York, residents of smaller communities still get caught up in the local fever, going out of their way to support hyper-local endeavors. Of course, these celebrations can take many forms, some more dubious than others.
Take Brooklyn, NY, barbecue joint, The Arrogant Swine. The meat and beer shop in Brooklyn's Bushwick neighborhood is taking special care to create buzz for its grand opening – the buzz of a tattoo needle, that is.
Barbecue with a side of tattoo regret
In a competitive small-business climate, entrepreneurs want to do everything they can to make their mark on the local customer base. This particular eatery is taking a very literal approach to that tactic, offering customers free pig-themed tattoos at its grand opening this week. Customers will have their choice of porcine icons such as Miss Piggy, Porky the Pig and others to have inked onto their skin while they enjoy a pint and a brisket sandwich. Those more extreme barbecue enthusiasts may even opt to have less interpretive designs tattooed, such as cuts of meat or a roasting pig.
Of course, art is subjective and people's tastes are wildly different. Even so, it's hard not to squint at the idea of coming home from dinner sporting a new pig-themed tattoo. What remains to be seen is how many barbecue body artists will spend the weeks following the gala event looking into tattoo removal.
Gaiety and revelry aside, there are those who worry that the promotional practice of offering free tattoos is a bad idea for more than just those at the business end of the needle. The permanence of the form typically requires more forethought than the standard promotional offer typically warrants, and encouraging people to get inked on a whim may not be industry best practice.
Some businesses have previously experimented with promotional tattooing, and have found themselves biting off more than they can chew. Perhaps one of the most famous examples, the San Francisco-based Casa Sanchez reported that even the relatively small number of people who took the Mexican eatery up on its "free burrito for a tattoo" offer could put severe financial strain on the family-owned business. In fact, as the owners told SF Gate, they could potentially have to shell out $5.8 million in tattoo-related burritos. Considering the average tattoo costs around $100 or so, that's far from an even trade.
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