My mom — like many other 50-something-year-olds — has some pretty harsh things to say about tattoos. Although I’m a grown-ass man and her points are from the perspective of a baby boomer, I’ve found it difficult to shake her warnings.
I’m almost 22, so I’ve been eligible to get a tattoo for quite some time now. Like many other millennials, I’ve spent countless hours fantasizing about my tattoo plans. However, the mental hurdle that is getting my first tattoo — the obsession over the perfect design and my mom’s insidious comments about employers who won’t hire ink aficionados — has long prevented me from pulling the trigger on getting inked.
So, I decided to remove myself from the process — and from my mom’s warnings — by getting a Get Whatcha Get tattoo. Since September 2017, Ink Addiction Tattoos has offered clients who are indecisive, daring or somewhat daft the opportunity to get a flash tattoo in the traditional American style, without knowing what it will look like.
The premise for one of Ink Addiction’s Get Whatcha Get tattoos is simple — you pay a flat $100 to retrieve a small, pre-drawn flash piece from a capsule machine. If you’re not satisfied with the design — after all, it’s going to be on you forever — you can shell out an extra $20 to have another crank at the machine. Simple, right?
I’ll admit, I was very nearly nauseated while I waited for my name to be called. At one point, I even inquired about the chance that I would have to get a penis tattooed on me. In response, I was given a coffee and told, in jest, that the designs were all penis themed.
In an attempt to appease my obviously fraught mind, I was offered an extra chance at the Get Whatcha Get machine at no cost, but I decided not to go for it. I mean, what’s the point of biting the bullet and getting a random tattoo if you don’t take the first thing you get? Besides, I was enamored with the design that came out.
Although I booked my appointment ahead of time, clients can drop by for a Get Whatcha Get tattoo during their artist’s walk-in times or when they have a spare hour. Aaron Garand, the artist that did my tattoo, has worked at Ink Addiction for the last three years, and he says that, although the hype around Get Whatcha Get tattoos has lessened, he still enjoys doing them.
“It’s slowed down a lot. When it first started, it was like wildfire — I was doing like 10 a week,” Garand said. “If I’ve got time, I still like to do them. They only take around an hour, so you can find time to fit them in.”
Garand estimates that the shop has done over 800 Get Whatcha Get tattoos since they started offering them in September 2017. Because he has tattooed the pre-drawn designs on a number of clients, he doesn’t believe that there’s anything particularly stupid or reckless about me getting a Get Whatcha Get design for my first tattoo.
“I don’t think it’s stupid. We’re only putting cool shit in there — it’s all classics,” Garand said. “For the most part, it’s stuff that we want to do. It’s a good way to get people in.”
Now that it’s done, and I have a baby in a flower zapped on me forever, I have few regrets about the experience. Had I booked the piece the conventional way, I would likely have paid more than twice the amount. I’m more than pleased with the process and the tattoo — I only wish I’d done it sooner.
To see more examples of Ink Addiction Tattoo’s Get Watcha Get pieces, check out their Instagram page @inkaddictionsaskatoon. Garand’s Instagram handle is @aarongarand.
Tanner Bayne / Culture Editor
Photos: J.C. Balicanta Narag / Photo Editor