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Claire's is a cheap High Street chain that sells reasonably-priced but practically disposable accessories - I've bought stuff there myself when I knew it would go out of fashion quickly and I didn't want to spend a lot of money, and it's fine. However, they also offer ear-piercing at a reasonable price and claim to be an 'ear piercing specialist'. However, my own experience suggests that they are anything but specialists.
I was considering getting my ear cartilage pierced there and went in to enquire. The assistant explained that I could any earrings I wanted and that the price would include the aftercare solution to keep the piercings clean. This seemed fine. However, while I was looking at the earrings, I watched someone else (a kid of about ten) getting her ears pierced.
This in itself is highly inappropriate for a piercing procedure. Piercing should not be done in the corner of a very busy shop with crowds of teenagers and mums with buggies pushing past and staring! It needs a calm, quiet environment where the person getting pierced can feel relaxed and take their time.
Furthermore, the shop itself was not a hygienic environment. There were open pots of make-up lying around and used tissues everywhere, and the floor had litter all over it.
More worrying still was that although the assistant wiped customers' ears with an antiseptic wipe, she did not wash her hands or wear gloves. Her uniform wasn't clean either. Although the studs she used to perform the piercing were sterile, the gun itself was not cleaned between procedures. I was horrified.
I have subsequently learned that not only is it highly inappropriate to pierce ears in such an environment, but that it is actually very dangerous to pierce the ear cartilage with a piercing gun. The studs are very blunt compared to a needle and it is actually just the brute force of the gun that shoves them through your ear. When you do this to cartilage rather than lobes, the blunt force trauma can shatter your ear cartilage and leave you with a cauliflower ear... not nice. Plus, the stems of the studs are nowhere long enough for cartilage piercing, sit far too tight on your ear and allow infection to get easily trapped, as they are very hard to clean.
If you go to a professional body piercing or a tattoo studio, they will pierce you in a private, spotlessly clean, hygienic environment. The piercer will take their time and explain the procedure to you. They will wear a fresh pair of sterile gloves, use a fresh needle that they will open in front of you, and pierce your ear quickly and gently with it. The needle is so sharp that you'll hardly feel it and they will use appropriate jewellery that will be sterile and non-allergenic (usually stainless steel or titanium) and easy to clean. And ironically, many of them are cheaper than Claire's, particularly if you are only having one ear done.
Claire's, unlike a professional piercing studio, is not an 'ear piercing specialist'. It's a cheap high street fashion store that allows barely-trained teenagers to perform what is essentially a sterile, minor surgical procedure in a busy, dirty shop. Visit a genuine piercing specialist instead.
I was really pleased I came across this as it has addressed the very concerns I always had over the ear-piercing process and how they carry it out.
I used to be really, really needle-phobic and it took two years of thinking about it before I actually got my ears done - at the local beauty therapists, whose procedure (as I remember it) was just as you describe the way it should be. The worst thing I could imagine at that time would have been getting pierced in full view of every Saturday shopper in the precinct.
Nick123313 07.05.2008 12:40
Great review!I was thinking of having them done there aswell so im very glad ive read this review! Thanks x
law3 15.01.2008 04:15
Thank you for writing this review! Whenever somebody tells me they're going to get their ears pierced at Claire's I tell them exactly what you've said here.
They are definitely not a specialist, employees are simply sent on a one day 'point-and-shoot' course (I know this because I interviewed to work for them back when I was in Uni) and as you say they allow unhygenic and dangerous procedures.
I really hope that people will read your review and take notice of it!