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Managers at Claire’s Say Employees Must Hold a Child Down And Pierce Their Ears Even If They Beg You Not To

Should you pierce a child’s ears if they don’t want you to? According to this open letter written by a former Claire’s employee Raylene Marks, if you don’t pierce a child’s ears when a parent asks you to, you can lose your job.

When my daughter was four, she really wanted to get her ears pierced. I knew it was going to hurt (I got mine done when I was four) but she really wanted it, and I took her to the mall to have them done.

While she was sitting in the chair, a man walked in from outside and pointed straight at me. “Shame on you for forcing that little girl to have her ears pierced. How dare you!”

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I thought he was kidding, but he just kept staring, until finally my four year old spoke up for me, “I want this. Shhhh.”

Without an apology, he turned on his heel and walked right out of the store.

It was the first time I had ever seen her take control of what she wanted done to her body, and I was really really proud. She got her ears pierced that day, and was so happy that she did.

A seven year girl came into Claire’s where Marks was working to get her ears pierced. Marks and another employee were going to do a “double” for her. (That’s where they pierce both ears at the same time, to prevent the kid from getting nervous after the first one and only getting one ear done.)

The little girl changed her mind after she walked into the store and did NOT want to get her ears pierced, and the mother begged and begged her to.

This child was articulate, smart, and well aware of herself and her body. She expressed that she didn’t want us touching her, that we were standing too close, that she was feeling uncomfortable. She made it clear she no longer wanted to get her ears pierced. She begged, over and over again, for Mom to please, just take her home. That child’s message was loud and clear to me: Do not touch my body, do not pierce my ears, I do not want to be here.

Marks refused to be a part of the piercing. The mom ended up respecting her child’s wishes in the long run and took her home.

The next day, her manager asked Marks about the incident. She told her manager that the child had begged to be left alone, and she was not going to pierce her ears. Her manager said that if the mom had wanted her daughter’s ears pierced, she would have had to do it.

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The only policy Claire’s has in place about piercings is that they “reserve the right to refuse an ear piercing if a successful one cannot be done.”

When Marks asked her managers about the policy they said that not only should employees pierce a child’s ears if the mother is physically holding them down, but that they HAVE TO.

“So if a mother is physically restraining her daughter, holding her down and saying, ‘DO IT,’ while that little girl cries and asks me not to, do I do the piercing?” My manager did not hesitate to respond, “Yes, you do the piercing.”

Marks also said that she checked with district sales managers, and they confirm that this policy is correct: Children can be held down and pierced. Children do not have a voice in the piercing process. The associate doing the piercing has no right to refuse.

Marks chose not to be a part of a company that doesn’t respect a child’s right to say no, and turned in her resignation that day. But she didn’t just stop there. She wants a full change in policy. She wants to give the power back to the children.

In other words, she wants the children to have the right to say no if they don’t want a piercing done to their body. Claire’s store managers disagree, and say that if a parents wants their child to be pierced, it’s the employee’s job to do it.

I am with Marks 100 percent. Children should have a right to decide if they get their ears pierced or not. How can we teach our children about consent if they don’t?


Monday 22nd of July 2019

My daughter's ears were pierced in the hospital, hours after she was delivered. It is a common procedure where I'm from, but we still have little girls and adult women without ear piercings. I'd love to have another ear piercing, but I'm not sure I can stand the pain even at my age. How much more a 4-year-old. Some kids will cry when getting their hair done, taking a bath, taking medical shots and whatnot. At the end of the day, the parent knows what's best for their own child. I really hope Claire's have changed that policy because it is messed up.


Saturday 13th of April 2019

I agree with the employee. If a child is in fear why put them through duress. Forcing them to do something they don’t want to do is abusive and abuse stays with someone. Also teaching boundaries and consent is important. If you take away a child’s autonomy when will they learn that key lesson. It’s difficult to unwind psychological though not impossible. The odds are it will be a vague memory filed in the very back and the child’s future actions redirected as a result though she’ll never know why she can’t say no.


Thursday 11th of April 2019

At the end of the day the parent makes decisions for their child be mad at the parent not at the piercers. If she didnt like it then quitting was the right decision. As she stated as long as the piercing can be done successfully the piercing can be done. Employees are aware that piercing children is a major part of the job. You can agree or disagree but legally the parents makes the decision for their child. There is many things parents force on their children religion diets meds shots the list goes on. Is that considered abuse? Js

Karen Smith

Saturday 13th of April 2019

That’s all well and good but when a child refuses consent then that becomes actual bodily harm!


Thursday 11th of April 2019

As a former manager for the company in question (10+ years) I can say that I have flat out refused to pierce children's ears when they clearly don't want it done on more than a dozen occasions. I also encouraged all of my employees to do the same if they were uncomfortable with the situation. I say shame on the store manager and the district manager in question for trying to force their employees to perform unsafe piercings!


Thursday 11th of April 2019

Claire's is garbage anyway. They pierce with garbage jewelry and have no clue what they're doing. Work at an actual piercing establishment if your want to pierce people, not a children's costume accessory store. I'm going to start calling DCF when I see this forcing kids to submit to body modification crap.