Weekly Wire
Salt Lake City Weekly The Mark of the Bun

By David Madison

APRIL 20, 1998:  As with all sweets, cinnamon bun indulgences sit for a moment on the lips and then forever on the hips. Like tattoos, the tasty treats found at Cinnabon in Crossroads Mall can leave a lasting mark.

The same goes for at least one Cinnabon employee who allegedly tattooed the word "pimpette" on two teenage girls. Now, the girls' mother is suing Cinnabon, Inc. for allowing employees to operate a backroom tattoo parlor in the bakery's mall storeroom.

Cindy Crizaldo says the employee who used a syringe to inject dye into her daughters' skin bragged about doing other tattoos in the Cinnabon storeroom.

"He just lays them down on the sacks of flour and tattoos away," says Crizaldo. "I don't know if the manager is getting a cut of the profits or what."

Crizaldo's suit holds Cinnabon, Inc. liable for the actions of employees at Crossroads Mall, even though the pastry chain is a franchise made up of separately owned stores.

When word of the suit made its way to Cinnabon, Inc. headquarters in Seattle, the company dispatched an attorney to Salt Lake City. It also hired a public relations firm to handle calls from the media.

"They're really just hogwash," insists Cinnabon spokesperson Susanne Rosenkranz, picking apart allegations raised in Crizaldo's lawsuit.

"The company feels strongly that the only kind of appropriate behavior for employees is to sell and work around the pastries. Cinnabon is a family place and the company wants to keep it that way," says Rozenkranz.

By day, crowds in the Crossroads food court mosey up to the Cinnabon counter for a sweet fix. But after hours, alleges Crizaldo, when her daughters had clocked out from their jobs at the mall's TM Beauty and Contempo Casuals, the 17 year olds sought out the services of the Cinnabon skin artist.

Crizaldo says one daughter was tattooed in the store's backroom and the other went to the home of the tattoo artist. Both now regret the incident, and one has already begun treatment to have "pimpette" removed from her skin. The other is waiting to see how badly her sister scars before going under the laser.

"She states to this day that this should not have been so easy to do," says Crizaldo, describing how her daughters were swept up in the moment. They were with friends just hanging out in the mall, says the mother, and getting a tattoo became an illicit kind of impulse buy.

In Utah, it's not supposed to be that easy. Kids under 18 must have a parent's permission before having "pimpette" or anything else tattooed on themselves. And thanks to a recently passed law, minors will soon have to bring their folks along to watch as the dye is cast.

Of course, the whole point of getting a tattoo for some is to defy the advice of parents. Within the swirling subculture of youth who make places like the Crossroads Mall their second home, tattoos appear to be a sign of independence.

The body art is on display at regular intervals outside the mall's south entrance, with groups of teens often clustering on the sidewalk. Inside, during a recent lunchtime rush, a teenage girl strolled through the crowd displaying marks of another kind. In time these marks will fade, just as hickies always have.

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