Unless you are into self-punishment and frustration, please don’t tattoo drunk customers. It is all right if someone has had one or two beers, but if they can hardly stand up and are endlessly babbling on, you will have to firmly and politely inform them that you will do their tattoo at another time and they have to quietly leave. End of discussion. Don’t stand there arguing with them as to whether they are sober or not. The truth of the matter is that you just cannot do a decent tattoo on a drunk person. This holds true also for people that are on drugs and pill abusers. If people won’t respect you and your work, come in bombed or drugged out expecting you to put up with obnoxious behavior, just guide them to the door and walk them out. Even better is to stop them at the door before they even enter, if their situation is that plain to you.
You should also absolutely refuse to tattoo people with obvious signs of sickness or disease such as hepatitis or yellow jaundice. The tell tale signs of people with this is that the white of their eyes are yellowed and their skin has an unnatural yellowlike suntan look to it. Tell them that their money would be more wisely spent seeing a doctor. You cannot afford to expose yourself, your family, other reliable customers, your shop and equipment to diseases. Their blood is contaminated and their bodies are in no condition to have the extra burden of healing a tattoo. Quite often you will have to work on people who bleed profusely. This is really difficult because the ink is being washed out almost as fast as it is going in and can be really frustrating. Just get through it the best you can, they may have to return after healing for a touch-up. Advise them to avoid drinking alcohol and eat large quantities of jello for several days before returning. Jello is a source of Vitamin K, which is an excellent blood coagulant.
It is wise to have handy the local ambulance phone number, just in case of the rare occasions that may be beyond your help, such as epileptic seizures, etc.
As a professional tattooist, part of your role is to help people make it through the ordeal. For some, it is their personal Independence Day, and for some, it could be a great celebration for some reason or other. If a person is having a rough time dealing with it, you should help them through it without putting them down or getting them nervous because you think they are wasting your precious time. If you are going to do a tattoo on someone, make sure you are going to give it your full attention and give it and the person whatever time they require.