March the 13th, an ordinary Friday morning. But no! Why would there be a large crowd of young people, lined up in the rain before 9 a.m. on quiet Blackburn Avenue? The line disappeared around the corner onto Mann Avenue. We followed it down Blackburn and along Mann, passing all the umbrellas and even strollers to The Tattoo Machine, a recently opened shop in the Mann plaza. The attraction? A Facebook post advertising $13 tattoos for Friday the 13th. It must be a huge bargain to entice all these people to wait in the rain.
Shortly before 11:00 Amy, Annie and Shawn were second in line at the door but had been waiting for nearly three hours to get there. “There were already about 20 or 30 people in line when we arrived around 8 a.m.,” said Annie. Both she and Amy already had tattoos, and were confident about getting more. In fact, Annie said she would go for the maximum five allowed in the promotion. But Shawn was going for his first and seemed just a bit hesitant about the whole thing.
Hannah from The Tattoo Machine said that the $13 Friday 13th tattoo was a tradition which began in the USA many years ago. Customers choose from a sheet of small pre-designed images. The sheet that she showed us was full of outline pictures such as a ghost, rabbit, cat, flowers and cartoon characters. It definitely was a bargain: the regular price might be $80, according to Hannah.
The lucky people who got in were given appointments later in the day for their tattoos. We left the scene at 11:00 when it was obvious that not all the people in line would be able to get in. Was the bargain worth spending three hours in line? Perhaps for the lucky ones but disappointing for those who missed out—especially those already upset about the lack of washrooms and parking spaces for the queue. We assume that Amy, Annie and Shawn were three of the lucky ones out of the hundred or more hopefuls in line. Let’s hope they enjoy their tattoos.