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Baristas can flaunt their ink too

MichelleBW Camouflaged, plaid-patterned, badge-clad, cashmere and lace, sleeveless. Red roses and lover’s names, Chinese letters, dragons, devils, a holy Saint, praying hands, crosses too: one sleeve. At a table full of suits or at a firefighter squad meeting alike, ink may be among the sleeve linens and textures as coworkers are rubbing elbows getting down to business. In the business of the grande chai tea latte, 3 pump, skim milk, lite water, no foam, the baristas serving it extra hot are now allowed to flaunt body art as unique as the steamy drinks they serve. According to Forbes contributor Micah Solomon in the article “Starbucks to Allow Tattoos, Piercings: Wise or Risky Customer Service, HR Move?” allowing employees to dress like themselves while at work and not conceal their tattoos or piercings, creates a genuine customer experience. Starbucks recognizes that their employees do not wake up wearing green m e r m a i d branded hats and aprons. Although they are Starbucks employees, their jobs do not define them as individuals. As a brand that serves individuals, it is only just to allow the workers to express themselves just the same. In those high rise offices, both corner and cubicle, where the Starbucks cups often make an appearance, the CEO’s right down to the maintenance staff are more than a part of J.P. Morgan Chase. If they were to cuff a sleeve or hang up a suit jacket, what is the harm if a dove flies out? In the age when the number of tattoos on one’s body may surpass the number of birthdays celebrated, has the stigma attached to inked body parts ceased to exist? Have we as a society come to the realization that the misspelled word on one’s bicep is not a measure of the individual’s intelligence, but that of their tattoo artist? Okay, so that is not a prime example. (But we have come to realize that tattoos are not a testament of one’s IQ or of one’s criminal record or even proof that they have one.) Forbes contributor Rachel Hennessey reported that tattoos do not deter executives from Bank of America, consulting firms and ZB sports of Philadelphia from hiring job applicants who are most suitable to the position. In fact, they embrace the diversity of their employees while setting their sights on what matters most: qualification, which has no association with appearance. Lady Gaga’s swanky costumes and many tattoos have never stopped her from performing be side Tony Bennet, and marvelously, at that. Justin Bieber’s tattoos, including his new one reading “Purpose,” the name of his latest album, have not stopped him from partying with the next best thing to royalty, the Kardashians, or being number one on the charts. One day you choose sleeves of fine linen, the next pure cotton, but each day you choose sleeves of meticulously crafted ink. The shirt on your back may speak for your corporation or for the paycheck you earn. But your tattoos, they speak for you. Michelle Foti is a junior journalism major from Lyndhurst, NJ. She can be reached at


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