The initial part of the Hobo Tattoo is obtained from the Tattoo Shop in the Body Modifications section of the Hobo Marketplace for 20 hobo nickels. On subsequent visits, it may be upgraded, up to 18 times. The cost to upgrade increases each time by 20. 20 (initial part) + 40 (1st upgrade) + 60 (2nd upgrade) + .... + 380 (complete tattoo). A complete tattoo costs a total of 3800 hobo nickels.
Initial Tattoo 20 Nickels
1st Upgrade 40 Nickels 60 Total
2nd Upgrade 60 Nickels 120 Total
3rd Upgrade 80 Nickels 200 Total
4th Upgrade 100 Nickels 300 Total
5th Upgrade 120 Nickels 420 Total
6th Upgrade 140 Nickels 560 Total
7th Upgrade 160 Nickels 720 Total
8th Upgrade 180 Nickels 900 Total
9th Upgrade 200 Nickels 1100 Total
10th Upgrade 220 Nickels 1320 Total
11th Upgrade 240 Nickels 1560 Total
12th Upgrade 260 Nickels 1820 Total
13th Upgrade 280 Nickels 2100 Total
14th Upgrade 300 Nickels 2400 Total
15th Upgrade 320 Nickels 2720 Total
16th Upgrade 340 Nickels 3060 Total
17th Upgrade 360 Nickels 3420 Total
Complete Tattoo 380 Nickels 3800 Total
If a version of the hobo tattoo is active when upgraded, the upgraded tattoo will not become active until it is re-selected from the tattoo menu.
The completed tattoo is the alleged hobo symbol for "It is time for hoboes to take over the United States government", listed in John Hodgman's book, The Areas of My Expertise.