the corner office

a blog, by Colin Pretorius


How does BiC stay in business?

BiC pens have been a part of my life as far back as the 80s when I first learned to grasp at something more sophisticated than a crayon; I remember the TV advert with Coco the Clown doing his balancing act on 2 pens and then hopping off and signing an autograph for the kid staring up in wonderment. "Writes first time, every time". Except they don't, and if I think about it, maybe they never have.

For every pack of BiC pens you buy, only about one in three will actually work. Of those that work, only one in three will last beyond a week. Of those, only one in three will write without blotches and splotches that smear across the paper and stain your hands. And then, left with one precious pen that'll write properly, it'll disappear within days. I can only presume that there's a BiC Fairy somewhere, jealously guarding underground vaults containing the world's few working-as-advertised BiC pens.

When you buy BiC pens, you're not buying pens so much as you're buying a vague aspiration of being able to commit something to paper. Yet we still keep buying them.

{2010.08.30 02:31}

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