Yip, yap, Yelp

The primary site for reviews has a certain je ne sais quoi. I love it. More specifically, I relish in the bad reviews. They amuse me. In the same sense that reality TV is enjoyable. It’s garbage but it’s fun garbage. As if we are raccoons and Keeping up with the Kardashians is trash. I’m just a mammal in the alley munching on the scraps of their overreactions. (Note: there are sixteen writers for that show which is allegedly about their real lives.) Of course, it’s scripted and somehow, that makes me feel better. Back to bad reviews.

Give me a sour three-star, a salty two-star, or best of all, a rage-filled one-star. Typically, I find them when doing my own research for a place to patronize or I find them because I heard negative feedback about a place that I already patronize. One-star style is my preferred style. That is how I found Danielle’s story.

Three years ago this woman went in for laser tattoo removal. She wrote the review after her ninth and final treatment. The intensity of the laser increases with each session so for number nine, it was going to be rough. She may have been prepared for the physical pain but she ended up blindsided with emotional distress because of somebody else’s mistake.

One star should be zero stars but Yelp would not let me post unless I picked a star…

She went on to say that after eight sessions of treatment a second opinion told her that she had been treated too aggressively with the laser, resulting in severe pigmentation removal resembling Vitiligo, leaving the skin more vulnerable to sun damage. That’s not even the worst of it. On the ninth session of removal, the doctor zapped the wrong tattoo. She stopped him midway through. The reviewer didn’t say where the tattoo being removed was located. My guess is her back, somewhere she couldn’t see during treatment, and the tattoo she did not want to be zapped was near the one she wanted to be removed but that is merely my own assumption.

After she stopped the doctor who left to get antibiotic ointment, she checked her file to see what went wrong. The file clearly marked which tattoo to laser and which tattoo should not be touched. Even without the large ’prohibition’ sign written in her file, shouldn’t the tattoo she had treated eight times before this have given him a clue? Maybe laser the one that is already almost gone. Again, I can’t say how it went down. I was not there. I merely read the aftermath. At this point, my heart is in it for Danielle. If that were me I would be devastated. My tattoos are like friends to me. They’re time stamps. Till death or laser do us part. Please don’t destroy the wrong one. I feel you woman. Maybe this will be made right. People make mistakes. There’s always a chance for redemption. I frequent this facility, not for procedures such as this but I’ve always been treated well.

After the burning pain and bleeding that caused her to cry, she was told, “sorry,” and sent on her way. Given the circumstances that apology sounds like an insult. People don’t humble themselves enough. Why don’t we try harder to do the right thing? She took it into her own hands, as those who want things done right do and got in touch with the office manager. Why didn’t they reach out to her? They made the mistake not her. They requested she come back to asses the damage. Of course, the doctor responsible for the wrongdoing was nowhere to be found. She was given scar gel free of charge, which doesn’t work well in my experience. Then, she was offered Botox as repayment.

How about payment as repayment? Laser removal is hundreds of dollars, often pricier than tattoos themselves. How much Botox were they talking? One treatment or the equivalent of nine tattoo removal sessions? The latter would add up to about a year and a half of free Botox depending on the area being treated. Side note: don’t skimp on tattoo prices, putting art on your body is not a garage sale, there is no haggling. The old adage is true: “cheap tattoos aren’t good and good tattoos aren’t cheap.” In my opinion, she should have been refunded. If not for this incident alone, definitely for the Vitiligo lifestyle she now has to live. Especially because this place, in particular, requires the purchase of three sessions before treatment begins.

The Botox option was insulting as she said she did not need or ever ask for Botox. According to her, she stayed collected during these unfortunate events, remaining calm and not losing her temper. Her suggestion for compensation was for them to complete the removal of the appropriate tattoo, free of charge or they pay for the one she now would have to have redone. Very reasonable considering she could sue for malpractice. They should have thanked her and done both, free completion of removal and paid for her other tattoo to be reworked. Did they do the honorable thing and attempt to satisfy this poorly treated customer? Nope. They did not return her calls. They ghosted. How millennial of them. She invested $1,400 and this is how they left her. Terrible. I’m torn between naming names and leaving that part out because I still go there. The review is on Yelp for all to read.

The real bummer is they could have made this right. As it happened they could’ve apologized profusely, not charged her that day and loaded her up with free samples before she left. It was a tragic mistake but they could have tried to fix it. Again, this summary is biased as it is one side of one story that I read on a public platform. I was so moved by this that I offered to pay for her to have her tattoo fixed. That’s the least they should have done in my opinion. A lesson of 2020 that I have learned is: not everyone has the same heart as you. Not everyone puts honesty and integrity first. Knowing this helps manage expectations.

Tattoo removal done right.

Oh One-Star reviewer Danielle wherever you are, I hope your life has only blossomed these past three years and your body art is more beautiful than ever. What about you guys? Any Yelpers out there barking louder than they bite? Someone enraged over the temperature of their ravioli who ranted with words written in all capital letters? A person who got side-eyed by a barista and wrote a whole page about it? Please share. Thanks for reading.

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