Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Double your money

Looking for a new investment opportunity in a growth industry?

How about this one, endorsed by no less than an associate professor at the University of St Andrews School of Business Management?
“It's a brilliant business model because it creates its own demand.”
And what is this sure-fire success story? Those cynics still in possession of all their marbles* may not be surprised to learn that he's talking about tattoo parlours which offer a removal service as well.

We've commented here before on the rise of the tattooist on Britain's high streets; now, with the advent of mass-produced laser tattoo removal equipment, you can now pay someone £100 to ink Miley Cyrus onto your left buttock, then pay the same person ten times that amount to erase it when the embarrassment gets too much (although, by all accounts, you won't be able to sit down for a week afterwards).

The future pain, however, is irrelevant; in much the same way that the advent of the gastric band appears, for some at least, to be a licence to overeat in the certainty that a perceived quick fix is available should they require it, laser tattoo removal offers the possibility of indulgence today and redemption tomorrow, possibly even at public expense.

This, presumably, is why we are seeing headlines like 'What is tattoo roulette? Fearne and McBusted lay down the rules'. Who Fearne and McBusted may be I neither know nor care, but 'celebrities' drawing lots to decide which one of them gets a silly tattoo is an idea with Zeitgeist written all over it and will doubtless be emulated in bars up and down the land.

As fashions change, all those oh-so-trendy early 21st-century doodles are going to start looking decidedly out-of date and inevitably, as time (and gravity) takes its toll, that deliciously ironic My Little Pony peeping coyly over your waistband will begin to resemble a leering elderly cart horse in drag.

If you can get rid of it, you probably will, which is why tattooists everywhere are investing heavily in expensive removal equipment. With surveys suggesting that 17% of people with tattoos subsequently regret them, there's going to be plenty of work out there.

While an average-sized tattoo will set you back around £50-£150, removing it may well run into the thousands. It's a win-win situation; studios can happily cater for the most egregious whims of their clients secure in the knowledge that every tattoo today is a potential goldmine ten years hence.

 *a story handled with efficiency and style in Bucko's post and the attached comments

UPDATE: While we're on the subject, from today's Metro:
A woman who set up ‘the world’s first tattoo parlour for children’ was surprised to receive genuine enquiries from parents keen to ink up their kids.
Sadie Hennessy created the thought-provoking art project by placing an ad outside a high street shop in Whitstable, Kent. Her aim was to incite discussion about the sexualisation of children, but the controversial ‘business’ actually had ten genuine requests.


  1. See Frederic Bastiat in Wikipedia and The Parable Of The Broken Window etc.

  2. Demetrius, I am, as ever, in awe of your erudition.


    The same principle occurs in the question of state-subsidised childcare: 'that which is not seen' is the vast number of young people living hand-to-mouth or on benefits because mothers with infants are occupying a large proportion of the available jobs.

  3. O/T: one for you, I think!


  4. Thanks, Julia.

    Sadly for blogging purposes, although HQ124 stood out in the tables as a close-approach whopper with an estimated diameter of up to 900m, the subsequent downgrading to a confirmed 325m has effectively consigned to the dustbin all the happy hyperbole I had lined up for it.

    The same thing has clearly happened to some MSM sources but they have gone ahead regardless, judging by the excessively dramatic tone of some reports,

  5. Less I say on this topic the better.


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