Why subject yourself to the suffocating crowds at Best Buy or Macy's on Black Friday when you can pay someone to plunge a needle into your skin?
While Americans across the country are predictably searching for "electronics stores" and "outlet malls" the day after Thanksgiving, more than the average share of Google Map users in New York City are on the hunt for tattoo shops, Google reports on its blog, after analyzing data from the last three years.
Why are people spending their Thanksgiving holiday in the Big Apple so inclined to get tatted on Friday? We consulted with tattoo historian Anna Friedman for her interpretation.
One factor, said the author of "The World Atlas of Tattoos," is likely the density of tattoo shops in New York. The state is home to the third-largest number of parlors in the country, according to a tattoo artist industry report from the market research company IBIS World.
For those who visit family in the city this holiday, particularly college students, the sight of so many tattoo shops "plants the seed," Friendman hypothesized. "Then they have the time" on Friday, and the allowance money from their parents, "to do a little investigating as to what might be the place to go."
And then there's the effect of nostalgia. After a family get-together, or on the eve of a class reunion (many of which are scheduled for Thanksgiving weekend), "you start thinking about the past and memories, and one of the historically traditional reasons to get a tattoo is to commemorate memory," the historian said. "People might be in that psychological mindset of wanting to commemorate important things about their lives...[and] drawn to immortalizing them in tattoo form."
For out-of-towners staying in the city this holiday, many drawn by the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, tattoos make the most portable souvenir.
"One of the reason people who travel get tattoos as a form of commemoration is because they're easily portable," Friedman said. "You don't actually end up with a material object that you have to lug around," or home with you.
"It's going to be a lot easier to bring back a tattoo than a VCR or a new TV."
It won't, however, be a highly customized work of art.
"The shops that do the more creative work — people are booked out months, sometimes years in advance," Friedman noted. "Also, the artists of that caliber are not going to be in their shops on Black Friday because they can afford to not have to got to work that day."