Starbucks is finally lifting their no-show tattoo policy for their baristas. The announcement of this news came as a shock to me; not because I did not agree with it, but because I didn’t even know it existed.
Starbucks has led the way in creating safe havens for college students, starving artists, hipsters and all kinds of underground grunge intellectuals. It has become a hub for young ambition and free willed thinking; a rendezvous point for creativity and fanatical expression. Starbucks is also known for sponsoring rising musicians and singers. At the checkout bar, I usually skim through the albums of not-so-popular artists for sale as tunes flow over speakers and the person in front of me repeats their order (but this time a little louder).
I understand in the late 90s and early 2000s Starbucks was a place for the corporate guy to meet with his corporate guy colleagues to discuss the next quarter over a cup of coffee. But if you put a Starbucks on every corner, the ratio of corporate patrons and blue-collar patrons will start to change in favor of the larger population. With that being said, I find it hard to believe that Starbucks didn’t set out to create several localized Woodstocks for the modern-day hippies. Maybe they just miscalculated the demographics of 2014, because everyone has tattoos now. Tattoos don’t stand for military, prison and outlaws anymore. Now it stands more of an expression of individuality, which I believe was promoted by coffee shop culture.
Since those are the types of people your business attracts, that is also the type of people that will want to work there. Since those are the types of people that work there, I never noticed to look for their tattoos; I just knew they were there. When I step toward the counter and place my order to large dark-rimmed glasses, jet-black hair and a beanie, I already know that this guy has tattoos. Then I’m going to go and sit at a table of tattooed writers and students and not think a second about whether or not I’ll be harassed or offended in anyway.
I think it’s only fair to let the employees show their art. It will not only lift their morale, but also raise the sense of familiarity to a majority of their customers. Besides, Starbucks has done well in hiring the most pleasant people. So what if my coffee is labeled Richie instead of Reggie? The barista was cool and suggested that I download the free song of the week. “It’s pretty good,” he says. “Nice baseline and melody… Good for creativity.”
The last reason I say the ban should be lifted, is because the type of people that represent tattoos in a bad way, are neither drinking coffee nor working. It’s a win-win situation.