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Why Can't They Make a Ballpoint Pen?

Updated on April 7, 2017
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Jack is currently a volunteer at the Westchester County Archives. Jack has worked at IBM for over 28 years on museums and libraries.

Introduction

I am from the old school. I am still writing on notebooks instead of on my iPhone. I like the feel of paper an pens and the fact I can flip through the pages and scan the material. It is also the reason I still like reading books instead of eBooks.

- Apr. 2017

Caliber Pen

Pen in Pieces

Detail of Crack

Background

I went to my local Staples store and bought a pack of 4 pens. They were your basic ballpoint pen of medium point, blue ink and a popular brand. I opened it up and started to write and a glob of ink went across my page. It was not flowing right. I thought it was a fluke and tried another pen and the same thing happened. I took the pens back to the store and got my refund. I told the cashier the problem and she didn't seem to care. Next, I went to a CVS and bought a different pack made by another manufacturer Caliber. This time, I got the fine point which I prefer anyway. It was black ink with 0.7mm point. I started to write and it seem much improvement over the other brand. I stuffed the pen in my shirt pocket and used it over the next few days.

Then one time, I was holding the pen in my hand and just playing with it while I was thinking about something. I must have twisted the pen as a matter of habit. Not very hard but enough to pop the pen and it came apart into many pieces. The spring load just forced it apart. I found all the pieces and tried to put it back together. Apparently. It is not made to screw back. It was a throw away pen. I went and got another pen out of the pack. I examined it closely and it looks the same as the first. I started writing with it. A few days later, I drop the pen by accident and it also broke. Upon close examination, I found a crack on the plastic barrow of the pen. This time, I put the pen back together and used a scotch tape to repair it.

BIC Pen

What Is Going on?

After this experience, I got to thinking. What is going on? How is it in 2017, we can't even make a simple ballpoint pen that works? I was writing on a piece of paper and some of the strokes did not appear. It seems some parts of the paper is too slippery or coated with something. The ballpoint glides over it and yet the ink did not flow. This is not any special paper, just a page from a writing pad. I am not sure if it is the paper that is defective or the pen.

Have we gone backwards in our technology? A simple writing instrument which used to cost 29 cents, BIC pens is no more. Now, we have gel pens that fits better and softer but doesn't write and bleeds ink.

Who Is Responsible?

I decided to take some action. I looked online and found Caliber Technologies. There was a contact form and I filled out a complaint explaining my recent experience. To my surprise, I recieved an email response and it told me I have the wrong company. Even though Caliber Technologies do make pens and office supplies, this particular pen model was not one of theirs.

I went to take a closer look at the package and it said this product was distrubuted by CVS. I went to the CVS website and filed another complaint. I am hoping to hear back from them. My point in highlighting this is it appears even the name of the product is not what it seems. There is no company with the name of Caliber yet they make a pack of pens called Caliber brand with a trademark. It is very confusing.

By the way, this product is made in China.

An update - I received a reply from a customer rep. at CVS. They are looking to follow up on my complaint. I sent them the link to this hub...

Summary

Modern technology is no better. How about those signature pads at checkout counters? How many of them actually work?

Is it too much to ask for a simple ballpoint pen that work? If you know of one, please let me know the name of the brand and the model number. Thanks.

I guess I am frustrated by this experience and writing about it seems to help.

© 2017 Jack Lee

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