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Pencil Case

Wednesday, 23 July, 2014

It’s the dawn of a new semester but a lot of us are probably still haunted by our exam results. I should have done that differently!!! I can’t believe I made that mistake!!!!! In times like this, reflecting on the errors of others tends to help. No matter how badly you screwed up, it can’t be as bad as these stationery blunders. After all, there wasn’t a design and marketing team behind your failure.

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The Collapsible Ruler. Numerous brands have produced such a contraption but I have yet to try one that really works. Given that the whole point of a ruler is to facilitate the drawing of a straight line, putting one or three hinges along the length really defeats the point. The better ones may last a while but sooner or later the hinge gets lose and you’ll be drawing anything but a straight line. While I can see the novelty of fitting a huge ruler into a tiny pencil case, this is one case where purely novelty doesn’t measure up.

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Faber Castell Ink/Pencil Vinyl Eraser. So half of the eraser is designed for pencils and works as usual. But the other half claims to erase ink- which it does, but by rubbing a hole through your sheet of paper. Supposedly made from vinyl, it’s actually ridiculously hard and grainy and probably a good substitute for sandpaper.

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Bic ‘for him and for her’ pens… the pinnacle of unnecessarily gendered products. Exactly identical except for the colour. The ‘for him’ pens are blue and green coloured to accommodate a tough, testosterone fuelled grip. Contrastingly, the ‘for her’ pens are pink and purple for soft, frail feminine hands. But perhaps the biggest insult of all is that despite their coloured exterior, they all contain black ink. If you’re going to enforce binary gender structures through stationery, at least go the whole way and ensure the ink is coloured too.

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The Eco Stapler attaches paper together with a sort of fold and loop technique, making metal staple refills unnecessary. This concept is definitely to be applauded. When the prime minister denies climate change, it’s good to know that stationery designers have got us covered. But practically speaking, it’s not ideal for university students. Throw double spacing into your average assignment and you’ve got a hefty stack of paper. Are you really going to throw your precious essay into that submission box when it’s held together with nothing but a flimsy fold? It may last sitting on your desk, but anything more and you’re asking for ripped and missing pages.