If I had a chose back when I got my ear pierced when I was younger I would have gone with the tattoo shop instead. The gun jammed when they pierced my ear and I had the ******* thing hanging from my ear while the idiot working there had to try and get the backing off of it and onto my ear. I hated it.
That's exactly why we went this route. I had just read/heard too many stories about gun malfunctions, weird scarring, infections, etc. Just earlier this week we watched in Walmart as two women were piercing one little girls ears..both hovering over her to fire at the same time....it was horrifying to watch...there's no way they could be sure the piercings were going to be even that way, and sure enough on of the guns got stuck and was dangling just like you described.
That - plus the fact that the needle actually removes a little core of tissue as opposed to the gun poking a hole like a pencil through paper, so it heals cleaner and faster. We've barely had anything to clean out from behind SK's earrings this week. No problems at all.
Tatoo parlor = professional, clean needle, inspected by health dept, licensed by state, adult who does it all day long and stakes their living on it. Mall/Walmart = iffy gun, malfunctions, sixteen year old, maybe a good pierce, maybe crooked.....bleh.
No brainer for me.
7 year old son went with us too, and I asked him while we were there if he wanted to get a full on darth maul face tattoo. His eyes got huge and he shook his head...gave the tattooist a big laugh.