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jon_stewart_pen.jpgI was just watching “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and for the very first time, noticed the pen he was using. It’s a Bic round stic in black. I can’t believe I’ve never notice it before. Perhaps it’s because I just did a review on Bic round stic, or perhaps it’s because I never watched him on a 123-inch projection. I was so sure that it’s Bic round stic when it hit me. It could just be Staples ballpoint stick – they look so similar. But no, that tip(nib), the color that I could only describe as #ab915e is so distinctively Bic. I always find that color repulsive. Yet, that’s the one unique quality that I can depend on to claim that Jon Stewart is (99.99%) holding a Bic round stic.

stephen_cobert_pen.jpg Anyway, about Cobert’s pen. I can’t figure out what it is 😦

It’s got a light blue metallic barrel and light/white cushiony looking grip. It’s definitely retractable. At first, I thought it’s the “Pilot Dr. Grip Ltd Rectractable (someone need to fix the spelling in the PhotoShop file for their site, and for the Gel one too) Rolling Ball” pilot_drgripltd_name.gif – the color and material matches perfectly.

pilot_drgripltd.jpg

But… and it’s a big but, from some shots the shape of the grip looks wrong. The grip of Dr. Grip is curved in like this ) (. Yet Cobert’s pen looks curved out like this ( ). Could it be simply an optical illusion? I tried pausing, but then all I see are pixels. I do have a HD tv, but Comedy Central is not broadcast in HD 😦
Cobert – stop covering the pen with your hands!! So is it a Dr. Grip or not!? I don’t know… I can’t tell… ahhh.

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bic_round_stic.jpgOk, I found this pen in a long forgotten corner of a seldom-used drawer. I was excited at first. I tested it. And I take back everything I said when I compared Staples Ballpoint Stick Pen to Bic round stic. Bic is worse!!

I’m convinced someone who works at Staples sneak into my house and hid this defective pen so I can find it, test it and get extremely disappointed. This has to be an anomaly. I’m going to a store that let me test pens and try this pen out.

That’s all I got to say for now 😦

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Quick Facts:
Pen Type Ballpoint pen
Point Size(s) Fine (estimated 0.7mm), Medium
Water-resistant N/A
Ink Color Blue (fine and medium), Black (medium only)
Capped/Retractable Capped
Clip Kinda
Approx Price $0.93 / dozen (approx $0.0775 each)
Review:

For 8 cents a pen, you can’t really complain. But I will try anyway. The look of the pen is a “Bic Round Stic” copy (which is $1.39 /dozen at officemax.com and comes in 4 colors – blue, black, red and green). The most noticeable difference is the branding, which apparently changes over time. This Staples ballpoint stick pen I own actually does not have that blue border around the words “STAPLES”. It also specifies that it’s “fine” point.

For some strange reason, the first 1-3 characters you write are always invisible. As you write more, the ink starts to catch on. But the color of the words it forms is still light and dull. I’m sure no one buys this for themselves. This pen is targeted for the office manager to get for the employees. For an extra 4 cents, which is the cost of 30 seconds of time (if your typical employee make the minimum wage of $5.25 an hour), at least get them the “Bic Round Stic”! The much better ink flow of the Bic will save more than 30 seconds of an employee’s time on just the first day of use. The lack of frustration, from a functioning pen, might actually make them more efficient.

The pen is light and has no grip, so you really have to hold on tight and push down on the paper. And beware of the notebook you are using it with. If your notebook’s lines are dark blue, like some of mine, you will see your writing merge into the deep abyss of lines. (Note to office managers, WHITE paper and light blue lines. Is that so much to ask for? Not pink… Or violet…)

Why, you ask, would someone as picky as I am buy such a pen, you ask. Well, I didn’t. I have no idea how I obtain this pen either. One day, it simply appeared on my office desk. Why did I keep it? Wasn’t I already surrounded by tons of superior pens like Uni-ball Vision and Zebra Sarasa and Uni-ball Signo 207? Yes, but this is not the purpose of this pen. Then what is the purpose? Oh, just as this pen magically appeared on my desk, I’m sure someone who borrows a pen from me might leave it somewhere else just as miraculously. Let me tell you a little story.

Back in HS, I was the proud owner of a Pilot Better Retractable ball point pen (blue, fine point). One day, a follow classmate borrowed a pen from me for a period. (I never understand how people can get to class and bring no pens. Well, I guess that was the first sign.) Anyway, after class, the person asked me if she could continue borrowing it for the rest of the day. I said yes. The next day, I ask the person for the pen back. She said she doesn’t have it on her and will have it on the next day. The day after, I ask one more time. She search through her backpack and handed me a capped black Papermate or BIC or something. I stared at it for a second, wondering whether I should tell her that my pen is blue, fine point, retractable, Pilot better ballpoint that is $1.50 at my local stationary store, that I actually had to argue with myself for spending an extra $0.50 for the retractable feature (the non-retractable Pilot better is only $1). Yes, I did. I said this is not my pen. She looked at me, confused, wondering what kind of person chase people down day-after-day for a pen and rejects anything other than THE pen. Well, she turned toward her backpack once again, searching further, and behold, my pen appears.

So what’s the lesson here? Always have a back up pen that you don’t mind losing for lending. Even with the stationary closet near by, there are still people who would ask you for a pen. Staples ballpoint stick’s a perfect gift for anyone in the office that constantly borrows your pens but never return them. You can tell them that you gave them 12 (1 for each month), and that they are not getting more from you until next Christmas (or whatever other holiday you prefer).

Rating: 6/20
Nib/Ink flow 1/5 (invisible first words)
Grip/ Balance/Weight 1/5 (no grip, too light)
Design/Looks 1/5 (copycat)
Construction 3/5 (cheap materials, the fit of the cap is a bit odd, barrel seems solid)
Official Site:

http://www.staples.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/StaplesProductDisplay?prodCatType=0&storeId=10001&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&productId=98463&cmArea=SC1:CG11:CL110001