Surviving Friday 13th at Defiance Tattoo Company

I have seven tattoos, with more on the way. I have an internal conflict some days on how I want future ones to look, which artist to execute the design, etc.; and obviously the funds necessary for a larger tattoo slows down the process.

But… if you’re lucky, and live in Northwest Florida, can appreciate a good deal, and have the patience of a saint, well then, let me tell you about getting a tattoo for $20 at Defiance Tattoo Company in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

Say whaaatttt….? Yes, my friend. Every Friday the 13th, Defiance Tattoo Company runs a special for a $13 tattoo with $7 tip for a tattoo or piercing.

The contingencies? Tattoos must be placed on legs and arms only; and must be chosen from a pre-designed flash sheet. Piercing rules are no genitalia or dermals.

I LOVE this special. I’ve been able to get 5 of my 7 tattoos for $100, which is insane. I always tip my artist an extra amount because the amount of work these guys put in to get as many tattoos done as they do is just ridiculous.

Sounds good, right? Well, IT IS! But, with every good thing, ya got some bad tagging along with it, so let me give it to you straight.

So I’ve done this three times, and I’ve got some knowledge for you on how to make the best of your experience. My first trip was January 2017. I was working at starbucks and one of my coworkers wanted to get a piercing and didn’t want to go alone. She just happened to catch me in a mood and I said let’s go! We got to the studio a little before midnight – they accept customers until midnight when they cut off the line and the artists stay at the shop until everyone is done. They open the doors at 10am. We wait, and wait, and wait. I didn’t get home until close to 6am the next morning. The second time I go, I go by myself and get to the shop around 4, and don’t get home until close to midnight. This last time (July 2018), I go by myself again, this time in the morning – I got there a little before 11am – and didn’t get out of there until 5 or 6. I lost sense of time because it was flipping hot and I was kind of losing my grip on reality. 😂

So, obviously you have to wait. People always get a little pissy about this, but look at it this way – there are literally HUNDREDS of people trying to snag this deal and only 5-7 artists working at once. And they’re hustling. That’s why you can only pick off of the flash sheet, and why there’s now a two-tattoo limit.

Is it worth it? Absolutely! DTC is a high-quality shop with amazing artists and you’re not going to get a piece that looks like crap.

So, if you’re willing to wait it out, may I offer a few suggestions to make it easier on yourself?

1. Bring a chair. I’m serious. DTC sits on Miracle Strip Parkway and you have to wait outside and the concrete is, well, concrete, and your booty is gonna get sore. I brought a blanket last time thinking it would help. Sweet child. Just bring a camp chair and call it a day. Preferably one with cup holders.

2. The time of year makes a huge difference. My trip in October 2017 was probably the best as far as the season. When I went in January, I only had a light jacket and was wearing shorts as I had just left my job and there was no time to change! My last trip in July was miserable. Florida is hot and humid in the summer and even though I was wearing shorts and a tee, I thought I was going to pass out a couple of times. When I was finally in the chair after waiting in the heat, I actually had to ask my artist to pause before starting my second piece so I could go to the bathroom and collect myself.

3. BRING WATER. Hell, bring a cooler. The shop does have a little set-up outside the door selling snacks and drinks, but if you’re looking to save a little cash, bring your own. Bonus points if you can use your cooler as a chair!

4. If you’re shy, bring a friend. You’re going to spend most of your day waiting for this, so may as well find someone to commiserate with. You’re going to want someone with you to hold your spot while you find a bathroom, get something to drink, or sneak down the street for tacos. Thankfully, I’m not very shy, and made friends with my line-mates (hi Aubrey, Sabrina, Gina and family!), all of whom were very cool and ordered pizza together, held our spots, and became line buddies. Plus, having someone to bitch with about how freaking long you’ve been in line is fun. 😂

5. Bring a power bank for your phone. Most common complaint heard while in line? “OMG my phone is about to die!!!!” Just do yourself a favor and bring a backup power source (or two). You don’t appreciate the entertainment your phone can give until you’re staring at it for 8 hours.

6. Enjoy the experience! Know what you’re getting in to and once you’ve accepted that you’re going to wait a while, make the best of it.

Would I do it again? Yes; but I am going to get there suuupppeeerrr early and hopefully be one of the first people inked. Because then at least if I’m waiting, it will be in the morning, and maybe a little bit cooler temps (next Friday the 13th is September, 2019)!

If I may offer a suggestion to anyone from DTC that may be reading this, maybe set up a food truck or portable potty for your loyal and waiting fans? And thanks for all you do! Y’all are awesome! See you next year!

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