Poll Results: Tattoos and Piercings

After a spirited few days of voting and commenting, we have the results of our recent polls asking whether you would change your visiting habits if we changed our tattoo and piercing policies for store employees.

What you said seemed to be that (at least the MSI community) is pretty ok with tattoos, but not as sure about piercings.

Here are the full questions, results, and a link to the discussion about each.

Would visible but unobtrusive tattoos on employees make you:

  • 5%: Stop Visiting
  • 8%: Visit Less
  • 74%: Visit the Same
  • 13%: Visit More

See the full conversation here:  Tattoos

Would more visible piercings on employees make you:

  • 10%: Stop Visiting
  • 26%: Visit Less
  • 57%: Visit the Same
  • 5%: Visit More

See the full conversation here: Piercings

Thank you all for the lively discussion of these topics.  We are actively collecting data from a variety of sources to help guide future policies.  Your thoughts and votes here are a very important source of information.



ApMay24
10/6/2008 1:35 PM

Too many piercings especially nose, lip and tongue piercings gross me out and I probably would find another store. In fact, there is one store where there is a girl with an exorbitant amount of piercings including her nose, lip and tongue. It's just gross.

NorCalAngler
10/6/2008 1:42 PM

Everything, in moderation.  For me it's not the presence of tattoos or piercings (as long as they're not offensive), it's the overall professionalism and courteousness that matters.  The problem for corporations is that it's almost impossible to tie the two together in guidelines.  How do you document it's OK to have visible tattoos as long as the rest of your appearance and attitude is professional?

Breve
10/6/2008 8:30 PM

Matt, IMHO, for this poll to have ANY weight at all it would only be fair to know the demographics of those that voted. If this question was posed in different venue's, I'm sure you would get different results.

Iron chef
10/7/2008 12:19 AM

I believe that in order to keep a family friendly image of Starbucks while maintaining a diverse workforce, Starbucks should allow tattoos and piercings, but have strict guidelines about what is appropriate

Vocaluna
10/11/2008 9:04 PM

I find it interesting that people see tattoos and piercings as something obtrusive or unsightly.  It is, of course, everyone's right to feel the way they do about any form of body decoration(or mutilation).  However,  would we change our visiting habits if someone working in a Starbucks had a visible scar or deformity that they had not chosen?  

I think that if Starbucks keeps their current policy, then the customers, in general, will remain happy.  I don't think that the look of a person would have any effect on the flavour of the coffee we drink, the pastries we eat or the experience we have while visiting.

I believe that if the service is good, there's a smile on the face of the employee and they are doing their personal best to provide a fast and quality service, we should not be judging them on their personal choices in appearance.

Dren
10/12/2008 7:38 AM

Keep in mind that if you are going to run a buisness like starbucks, it will atract certian people because of the environment.  When you promote a artsy type evironment you are going to get a wide variety of people who express themselves in many ways which includes tattoos and piercings.  Its ridiculous to think that you can deny these people the opprotunity, that lets say I have because I choose to not have tattoos or piercings, just because they express themselves differentsly.  Obviously there is a moral issue as well, profanity and nudity, in this case it should be "sensored" sort-to-speak.  Finally, i manage a store and some of my best and most friendly employees have tattoes and piercings.

dreww
10/14/2008 12:03 AM

When do you expect to have an answer to the new tattoo/piercing policy on if it will or will not change?

fishey25
10/14/2008 9:51 AM

I have my ears gauged to about a zero, and i also have my lip and tongue pierced. It was probably just how I was raised, but I believe it's unprofessional to keep excessive piercings in when at work. I always take my lip and tongue rings out, but I leave my earrings in because they aren't gaudy or obnoxious(not to mention I don't think I could get them out if I tried!).

Rex53
10/17/2008 4:52 AM

In response to Vocaluna, you're comparing a scar that someone got by accident, to a tattoo that someone got voluntarily. ?

And just a note, although I have tattoos, I've seen TONS of unsightly ones. Just because someone has a tattoo, doesn't mean it's a good one, or that other people want to to look at the awful thing. :-)  I'm not for or against this issue, just an observer. I work for a corporation, who didn't allow tattoos, until they hired me before realizing I had them. They have since changed their policy, but still don't hire anyone with offensive or very visual tattoos. Maybe somewhere down the line, they will have to adjust their policy some more, but I doubt it. Professional companies just don't want that look.

PEPPERMINT MOC
10/17/2008 7:39 AM

Tattoos and piercings do not bother me.  I am sure they do some.  If the person is considerate, and polite who cares... Starbucks has wonderful employees.  Let the personality outshine the tattoos and piercings.  

baristamom1
10/21/2008 7:25 PM

Unfortunately, we as a people are still judged daily by how we look.  As a barista for many years, I have since let my ear piercings (at least 4 of them) close up because of the risk of infection i faced with removing them daily for work.  Same thing goes for my tongue ring.  None of these piercings were gaudy or unsightly.  as for tattoos, I agree that some can be an eyesore, and also a turn off for the the elderly and more conservative types.  If some of them only knew what went on under those long sleeve shirts...

driegel
10/24/2008 9:26 AM

I must assume, jumping in late here, that overall care and presentation are paramount for Starbucks. That means no spikey hair? No Mohawks? No shaved/partial-shaved heads? No long hair that covers the face? Maybe this is alreay covered elsewhere and I must again apologize if it is.

My point is that I agree w/ most of the comments here stating that anything that is offensive (whoa, I know tall order to define that term) should be restrained or constrained. That's just common sense. I personally could care less what the person looks like as long as they are proper and know what they are doing.

It's funny, something as simple as having to wear a tie here at my Lexus dealership is considered the norm, although we do have other UOD's such as the Lexus polo-style, the short-sleeved Lexus dress shirt, etc. It all depends on the place, the image and the norm, whatever that happens to be.

One comment, though -- someone mentioned Starbucks' "Family" oriented place. Careful, is someone implying that someone with tats or piercings cannot be family-oriented?

Pansy
7/18/2010 6:01 PM

I have my lip and nose done and most people cant even notice it unless I point it out or have something that's bringing attention to it. I think that their fine until it goes over board and you look like a pin cushion. a small nose stud is nothing and the same goes with one lip piercing and the tongue half the time you cant notice them. I honestly think people need to calm down about it and if it's not overly done or offensive looking them just leave it at that. get your coffee or what ever else it is your doing in Starbucks have a conversation to get to know the person you're judging then move on with your life.

pchan5150
2/8/2011 12:09 PM

i got popped outside of work by a girl who randomly came into our store. she saw me, without long sleeves on, and proceeded to show me her ink and tell me about the best places in town to go. (i'm a recent transplant.) this woman is now a regular. she comes in every morning and we chat for a bit while i make her coffee.  i have also gotten comments from older customers about their kids/grandkids having them. i feel it's a tool for connecting with our customers. not everyone likes them, but there are a lot of people who appreciate the art work and like to share and compare.

tattoos, in good taste, should be able to be shown. (oddly, i have bullets on my wrist for my father, a competitive marksman, and if those were deemed offensive, i would gladly cover them.) yet, my shamrocks, horseshoes, and paw prints are more on the mild side. who would be offended by tinker bell?

also, we must realize, as we bitch about not being able to have tattoos in the workplace, that this was not the "norm" when most of us started working. that's why they are called job stoppers if gotten in highly visible places. you took that consequence when you sat under the needle for hours.

maybe it's time for our bosses to think back to James Dean or John Lennon. crazy kids with long hair that smoked and drove motorcycles. they were rebels...and became icons and the norm. maybe it's time to take the "long haired hippie freaks need not apply" sign down from the front window.

pchan5150
2/8/2011 12:09 PM

i got popped outside of work by a girl who randomly came into our store. she saw me, without long sleeves on, and proceeded to show me her ink and tell me about the best places in town to go. (i'm a recent transplant.) this woman is now a regular. she comes in every morning and we chat for a bit while i make her coffee.  i have also gotten comments from older customers about their kids/grandkids having them. i feel it's a tool for connecting with our customers. not everyone likes them, but there are a lot of people who appreciate the art work and like to share and compare.

tattoos, in good taste, should be able to be shown. (oddly, i have bullets on my wrist for my father, a competitive marksman, and if those were deemed offensive, i would gladly cover them.) yet, my shamrocks, horseshoes, and paw prints are more on the mild side. who would be offended by tinker bell?

also, we must realize, as we bitch about not being able to have tattoos in the workplace, that this was not the "norm" when most of us started working. that's why they are called job stoppers if gotten in highly visible places. you took that consequence when you sat under the needle for hours.

maybe it's time for our bosses to think back to James Dean or John Lennon. crazy kids with long hair that smoked and drove motorcycles. they were rebels...and became icons and the norm. maybe it's time to take the "long haired hippie freaks need not apply" sign down from the front window.


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