Claire's offers free ear piercing with the purchase of earrings. So, I went to a Claire's to see what type of deal I could get. As I entered the store, I saw that Claire's had precious metal earrings for $9 with ear piercing. The young woman employee asked if she could help me. I told her that my granddaughter wanted a second ear piercing. The woman led me to the earrings that were offered for piercings. I asked her which earrings were the least expensive. She pointed to the 3mm Stainless Steel Ball earrings and told me that it would be $36.99. She quickly added "She can take it out in three weeks". If you go to 'Claire's Ear Piercing Kits' online, you will see them offered at this price. I then asked her "why is it so expensive for a little stainless steel ball?" She told me that she didn't know. I laughed and said that didn't sound like free piercing to me. She continued "The piercing is free. It's the metal that you pay for." As I started to leave, she said "It's expensive because of the solution that you get is $20 and you have to get it." I asked "You have to get it?" Her reply was "New York State law mandates that I have to give you a solution." Of course, I was recording our conversation which I have the legal right to do in New York State.
When I got home, I Googled New York State law ear piercing and was brought to the New York State Department of Health 'Body Art - Tattooing and Body Piercing' which made no mention of cleaning solution. It stated to ensure that the piercer Washes their hands before piercing and uses single-use gloves, Cleans the area to be pierced, Uses a single-use, disposable razor to shave the skin to be pierced, if needed, Uses sterile needles, clamps, receiving tubes and body jewelry, Provides aftercare information.My next step was to contact the New York State Department of Health at the phone number that they provided at the bottom of the page.
I saw nothing mandating ear piercers to give a solution. So, I contacted the New York State Department of Health by email. The reply that I received stated "NYS law does not mandate that an ear piercing business give you a "solution I cannot recommend what you use for aftercare, because I am not a licensed medical provider. There is no law stating that you must purchase ear care solution. You can lodge a complaint with the NYS Attorney General if you feel their practice is fraud". Yes, I will be lodging a complaint with the Attorney General. I would advise anyone else who goes to Claire's and is told the same thing to file a complaint with Attorney General. As was stated by the Health Department employee, who is a Sanitarian, this is fraud.
A little addtional information. If you go to the Claire's website, you can find 3 mm sterling silver earrings for $4.99. They will show you at the top of their page that you can purchase $9 precious metal earrings. Of course, this means that you are required to spend from $36.99 to $231.99. Depending which earrings your choose, to have your ears pierced at Claire's. On their website, Claire's shows that he solution is $20 for the 'Ear Piercing Rapid 3 Week After Care Cleanser' but they also carry 'Claire's Ear Care Solution' for $8.
I did some research on the Claire's website to compare what they offered for earrings in their ear piercing kits vs. what you can buy if you just want to buy earrings. Claire's corporate is pretty smart. They don't offer any stainless steel earrings except for with the ear piercing kits. They also don't offer any solid gold earrings except with the kits. They don't sell diamond earrings except with the kits. The kits have 24k gold plated earrings while the separate earrings are 18k gold plated. They have attempted ensure that customers can't compare the kit earring prices to the earrings offered without piercing. So, we are talking apples to oranges. They can get away with it, right? Well, no they can't. Did I happen to mention that I know a lot about jewelry. I have operated a jewelry website, created my own pieces, and I am a member of the Gemological Institute of America. I know gems and I know metals.
So, let's consider a few things. Sterling silver is a precious metal. Stainless steel is not. Stainless steel is less expensive than sterling silver. Easy to understand, right? So, if they can sell 3 mm sterling silver ball stud earrings for $4.99, they could sell stainless steel 3 mm ball stud earrings for less than $4.99. We are back to the question of why free ear piercing costs $36.99 for 3 mm stainless steel ball studs but sterling silver ball studs are $4.99. Hum. Yes, this is fraudulent. Their ear piercing is not free.
Also, I made a few other comparisons. Although Claires makes a major effort to sell different types of earrings in the kits than as separates to deceive consumers, there were a few things that I could find.
They did offer titanium earrings in the kits and separately at different prices. In fact, the kit earrings should be less expensive than the separate titanium earrings because the kit earrings are a choice of an unidentifiable composite material or a crystal stone. The separate titanium earrings are all cubic zirconia which is more expensive. Their kit staineless steel crystal earrings are more expensive than their separate sterling silver crystal earrings--I ensured that I chose tinted crystal so there is not confusion in the comparison.
Then, there are the 'Claire's Exclusives' earrings at the top of the ear piercing kits page. These are 'Unicorn With Stainless Steel Post' and 'Make a Wish Blue Glitter Star With Stainless Steel Post'. So, I studied their unicorn earrings and their glitter earrings not offered as kit items. I found several unicorn earrings ranging from $3.49 to $6.49. The $6.49 was for the sterling silver earrings. There were glitter earrings for as low as $2.49. The posts appear to be stainless steel but I can't be certain without careful analysis. Maybe I will buy a pair and bring them home to determine whether the posts are stainless steel.
Did I happen to mention that I know a lot about jewelry. I have operated a jewelry website, created my own pieces, and I am a member of the Gemological Institute of America. Do fraudulent companies like Claire's really believe that not one person will ever have the capability to see that they are fraudulent?
One last thing. Let's talk about Claire's and your health. According to People Magazine, a 7-year old girl had her ears pierced at Claire's. Then, her mother used the Rapid After Care Cleanser on her daughter's ears as she was instructed. Claire's states on their site "dermatologist- and pediatrician-tested." "After three weeks, the girl's piercings looked healed. So, the mother removed the earrings and changed to another pair of earrings. One week later, the daughter's ears were infected to the point that, on a nurse's advice, the mother took the girl to the hospital. The mother stated that a piercing is a wound which requires six weeks to heal. Claire's might try to state that the earrings that the mother replaced the Claire's earrings with caused the infection. There is just one problem with this. If the ear piercing could heal in 3 weeks, the healed ears would not become infected with a different pair of earrings.
When I told my daughter about this, she told me to go to Sally's where they have numerous types of self piercing guns which include the earrings. I bought mine for $7 and had my daughter pierce my ears. Then I used alcohol to care for my new piercings. I'm almost healed and it has only been five days. I did change to another pair of earrings but I will continue to use alcohol for six weeks to be sure that they are healed.
Anybody up for a class action lawsuit?