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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Vanishing ballpoint pen refills

You don't get them in most stationery stops.

"That's weird," my friend exclaimed, when I told her about it. "Students still use pens, so you should get it everywhere no?"

Though near the place where I stay, there is a well-known college and a school, the stationery shops there don't sell them.


Lack of replacement refills has led to accumulation of unusable ballpoint pens in my house.

So, today I took them all to the Supreme store near Ulsoor bus stand. The shop is popular as they sell stationery and binding material at very affordable rates.

But, even he has only refills for Reynolds.

I asked my friend's question to the shopkeeper. This is what he said, "When there are cheap use-and-throw pens, no student will bother to go around hunting for refills. And many college students use Gel pens."

These one-time-use ball pens come for as cheap as Rs 3. And if you buy in bulk, you get it cheaper. These may not be stylish, but they are good, and serves the purpose.

So, no surprise it's very difficult to get ballpoint pen refills.

The flip side of use-and-throw pens is environmental degradation. But when did anyone put ecology ahead of convenience?

12 comments:

  1. I used to have a classy Waterman pen, a graduation present from a friend's parent to me. it is still around somewhere but I had difficulties finding refils for it in Bangalore, unless I went to a Waterman certified reseller that is. I haven't checked with my favourite, well stocked stationary shop here in Mumbai though.

    On a daily basis, I use fine liner pens these days, in many colours because I love writing in colours for non official purpose. But sadly, they are disposable and you can't refill them.

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    1. Hopefully, these disposed pens go from trash cans to some recycling facility.

      I use pen very rarely nowadays. Most of the writing is on the comp. Only for random notes I use the pen. And, I have a very bad habit of losing pens. So, these one-time-use ones serve me well.

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  3. i've been trying to raise this 'runaway stationery' issue with Down To Earth magazine for a long time now. i am disturbed about the amount of disposable and other kinds of stationery stuff accumulated in my household with one child (and despite me being an extremely conscious anti-consumer). i carry around used pens as part of our household 'nomadic' luggage, in the hope that i'd be able to find refills somewhere, sometime. But i am invariably met with 'use and throw' (where?!!!!) pens at any shop i approach. Schools and teachers must address this issue.

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    1. Very true. It must definitely be adding to the trash; and I only hope that these thrown-away pens are also clubbed with other material that are recycled.

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  4. Since very few people, other than students, write nowadays i don't think it's as a big a problem as you are making it out to be.
    Students too only in schools write. In colleges students do assignments on the computer and either mail soft copy or take printout and submit it.

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    Replies
    1. You are right, Reshmi. One reason for the shortage also could be that.

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  5. I had also kept many used pens for refills but when I asked my sons to get it refilled, their reaction was the same.when we can get pen at such a less price then why to go for refills. same answer was from the helpers of our house and finally i had to throw them in garbage

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    Replies
    1. Well ... looks like a common problem. :-)

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  6. A stationer in Delhi laughed at me when I asked for refills!

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  7. That's a great thought in the end...i was wondering where it is leading to :)

    I too like gel pens, for they write better i guess. Ball pens seem to a thing of the past...but yes, environment should come first.

    Btw, I too lived in Ulsoor for a while.

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