Don’t Judge a Book by its Tattoo, Guest – Ron Rosenberg

By December 5, 2006 June 21st, 2019 No Comments
night picture of tattoo parlor store front

Ron Rosenburg, colleague and friend, has a nice weekly newsletter called “Tricks & Tales.” The sub-message for his newsletter is “Stories on Life and Business to Baffle, Entertain, and Amaze.” With his latest issue, I was definitely entertained with The Blue Tattoo story. It is a wonderful way to share business messages through personal stories (more at the bottom).

Here’s Ron’s story…

Blue Flame Tattoo

No, it’s not what you’re thinking, I didn’t get any tattoos or body piercings (ouch!). Instead, it was actually my wife and daughter who went there.

My daughter had been bugging us to let her get her belly button pierced for some time. We resisted for a while and finally agreed. She’s a good kid – she doesn’t do anything bad (aside from normal teenage attitude stuff) and she does really well in school (she just got a 4.5 GPA this last semester – yes, that’s 4.5 out of a possible 4, since in our state, extra points are awarded for honors and AP courses).


My wife and daughter did some research and checked references before selecting the tattoo place to get her piercing. Since everything pointed to Blue Flame Tattoo as the best and safest place, and a guy named Jason as the one to talk to, they headed downtown, armed with an address and directions. It’s not in the best part of town, and when they walked to the front of the building after parking in back, they saw a couple of people sitting on the stairs in front of the store, just hanging out.

They were heavily tattooed and had all manner of body piercings – including large discs in their earlobes and pieces of metal protruding from places you normally wouldn’t consider. And that’s not even getting into the parts of their bodies that weren’t clearly visible.

My daughter would describe them being “sketchy”

My daughter would describe them being “sketchy.”

Apparently, my wife had a similar impression, because she told my daughter to walk directly into the store. You’ve probably already guessed what happened next.

The two guys got up and followed them into the store. Of course, one of them was Jason. Far from delivering on the stereotype, he was very friendly, knowledgeable, patient, articulate… and professional.


He described what would be involved in the process, explained what he was doing every step of the way, and gave my wife and daughter complete and detailed instructions on what to do – and not to do – to properly care for her piercing.

This was, by the way, far more professional and informative than what happened when my daughter got her ears pierced at one of those mall stores.

What’s the lesson here? Well, it goes far past the cliché, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” although there is some of that.

Given a choice of which would be more sanitary and safe – a tattoo parlor in a run-down part of town or a well-known chain store in an upscale mall – most people would pick the second option. Turns out, in this case, that would be the wrong choice.

We all make assumptions about our prospects based on incomplete information

There’s a bit more here than just that. Because we all make assumptions about our prospects based on incomplete information. Many people I know, live in huge houses and drive expensive cars, and are so far in debt, they’re just one bad month away from being out on the street and homeless.

I also know several millionaires you would assume were homeless if you had to make a judgment based on their appearance and the cars they drive.


When deciding which prospects to target, make sure you’re doing it based on the right criteria. After all, anything else would be… well, sketchy.

I really enjoyed reading Ron’s story for a variety of reasons. It connected, it had a great message, and it was entertaining.

When you are writing your newsletters, articles, etc., think of ways to share business messages through personal stories. This is business storytelling. Packaging personal stories into business messages make them more engaging and compelling. Personal stories connect with your audience in ways that a fact-based business message cannot and will not.



Reprinted with permission
Photography Source:  Flickr, Ernest McGray, Jr.

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