Special Edition: Battle of the Office Pens

26 12 2010

Three pens AT THE SAME TIME?!?! That's GOT to be cheating!

Is this pen review for you? Ask yourself a few questions:

Do I work, perhaps in some scenario where I need to write things down, and where my employers provide pens for me? Yes? THEN READ ON. Everyone else, you are free to leave.

Where I work, my boss, though awesome in all other respects, simply does not understand the importance of a good pen. Even though he is similarly left-handed, he is content to make his scribblings with the cheapest ink-squirters money can buy. I like to pretend that, deep down, he acknowledges that the Jetstream pen I gave him is maybe the best thing he has ever written with, but just doesn’t say anything so that I remain convinced that he thinks I’m slightly crazy.

One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just isn't an unmitigated pile of plastic garbage.

Before I made input, the two go-to contenders for writing utensil were the Bic round stic grip fine ballpoint pen, and the “deluxe” *snort* option: the Pilot G-2 07 gel pen. Let me show you what the G-2 is good for.

Launching projectiles across the office, that's what they're good for.

ANYTHING BUT WRITING. The barrel doesn’t actually contain black gel ink; what you see there is black liquid frustration. If you have an idea you’d like to write down, you’d do better to stab yourself in the hand with the G-2 and write it down in your own blood smeared across 37 sheets of photocopy paper. Please see my writing attempts above, far left. A dozen-pen box of this hellish devilment will run just shy of $10 through corporate ordering sources. As I mentioned, you might as well buy 10-cent steak knives and a box of band-aids for everyone.

The Bic, you might think, is just a cheap pile of crap you would leave in a cup for everyone you hate to partake of when they feel particularly kleptomaniacal. For writing, this is still true. You can probably get a dozen of these for a dollar. Some people might even pay you just to take them away. But the Bic has a place; two places really. It is the pen you buy for the masses to use; if someone walks off with one, don’t worry, there are probably a thousand and ten more in a closet somewhere. It is also the pen you buy for your workers if, instead of writing things down, you’d rather have them making elaborate and fantastically shaded doodles and other such masterpieces. In the writing department, the Bic requires your typical amount of *urgh* effort to write with; it’s slight, but significant. It certainly impedes my writing. For drawing, though, this thing is great! The crappy ink is excellent for light shading, since it doesn’t come out consistent and solid and black as the Batman’s latex-covered butt, you can get nice variations and effects going.

Then I was given the power to make suggestions for what office supplies we should order. Imagine my unbounded delight when I saw that, for  a few dimes cheaper than a box of atrocities against humanity Pilot G-2s, I could bring into this lab a shining dozen JETSTREAM PENS. You know how I feel about Jetstreams. If you can order these bad boys through a corporate website, DO IT. DO IT TWENTY TIMES, for the love of ink, it is an excellent deal. My boss wondered why we needed TWO boxes of fancy pens (a coworker does not share my furiously burning hatred for the Pilot G-2), and I rationally explained to him without the use of caps lock that these pens were more important than life itself, and I would be a happier human being if he bought them for us all.



When I saw the box of these waiting on my desk, my eyes lit up like a Christmas tree on burning gasoline. I have been converting coworkers to the joy of a ballpoint pen that doesn’t require pressure to write (these Jetstreams, I tell you, they are SMOOTH. I do not lie. They are like writing with warmed butter), that lays down ink like the ink is an attractive member of its preferred sex that it wishes to have intimate relations with, and it is the smoothest operator since Casanova. Look at the writing sample. It isn’t as good for drawing, because this pen is all the time about consistent and dark ink flow. While it has a place in the drawing supply pantheon, perhaps augmenting the delicate shading of a Bic, it’s not the best stand-alone drawing unit. But it is EXCELLENT for writing. Whenever I have an idea at work that I need to write down and I reach for this pen, the encounter does not end with my idea forgotten as I growl and hurl the pen down a hallway, since all of our second-story windows do not open for fear of suicides and bad acid trips. No. I reach for this pen, and it flows, and the experience, every time, really does make me just a little bit happier. And happy employees are productive employees, you guys.






11 responses

21 02 2011
Pilot G-2 Gel Ink Pen – 0.38 mm – Blue and Black « No Pen Intended

[…] of social appearances. My feelings (read: unequivocal hatred) on the Pilot G-2 07mm pen have been touched on before, and I assumed that if one pen (one kind of pen; I’ve used at least 6 different individual […]

6 09 2011
Pilot G2 Battle – Black Ink « No Pen Intended

[…] Twitter what my opinion of the Pilot G2 pen was. My frothing knee-jerk reaction was “IT IS THE WORST THING“, followed by conceding that the 0.38mm Pilot G2 was inexplicably not an affront to human […]

24 09 2011

I disagree with you about the BiC pens. The newer ones with the “Easy-Glide” system is just as good as the Jetstream I used, and adding the fact that I hate any form of rubber grips on my writing utencils, I currently prefer the redesigned BiC RoundStic (The translusent-colored one) for ballpoints.

I especially love the blue color of the newer BiCs, it has a very rich blue color (as opposed to the darker tones of the old ones — speaking of which, the old ones really are horrid, the ink is so viscous and never comes out consistently) that really stands out. The black ones are not as good though IMO, the color is not dark enough.

4 10 2011
No Pen Intended

I’ll have to try some of the new BiC pens. I’ve mostly avoided them since my time as a lab manager, making other people (mainly experiment participants) use them. Is the Easy-Glide system ballpoint, or gel?

8 11 2012
Mister P

I worked in an office supply store for 5 years and found the Jetstream to be the best of the best; Better than pens costing hundreds of dollars. Though it must be mentioned that I only found this page while looking for someone who shared my fervent lunacy for these beauties!

7 05 2014
Eco-Essential Pen and Pencil Set | No Pen Intended

[…] if you’re a Hi-Tec-C refill fan (like I mentioned, it also takes Pilot G-2 refills but we know how I feel about the G-2). The Eco-Essential is an attractive and professional pen body. I kind of want to […]

10 05 2014
Dave Ferree

Finally, a pen enthusiast that is willing to admit Bics not only have their place, but are, in fact, excellent tools! …just… not for writing. Bics are kind of like ink based pencils. They give CONTROL at the cost of effort. Effort and control which are unnecessary and pointless when writing, as writing is binary. Letter or no letter, ink or no ink.

Or at least that is the way it used to be. Bic’s Easy-Glide ink system has narrowed the gap for writing viability quite a bit. …without similar leaps in lead formulas, mechanical pencils fall further and further behind.

27 07 2014

Bics are also excellent for removing stripped screws. Seriously. Hold them over a candleflame and then quicly press the soft plastic in the stuck screw. Let it cool and gently twist it out. Win!

That brown stuff in the G2… What… what is it? It somehow screams ‘botulism’. Is that a tiny dead fish floating around in there?

1 05 2015

Not sure if this is coz I am in Asia but I am not fond of jetstream and instead love my Pilot G-2s and alternated between 0.7 and 0.5. My personal preference is for gel rollerball type that gives a defined and bold line and (not sure if it is due to being a lefty, but ends of strokes with the jetstream are always lighter and gives the look of a ballpoint that makes my handwriting look worse) I have found G-2 to be consistently smooth (especially for 0.7) and comfortable enough to hold for long periods. In fact I have went back to it as I found others (like Zebra Sarasa, steadler, uniball signs and a retractable gel jetstream) to not work as well (smudging or just not as comfortable to write with or scratchy points, poor quality refills)

12 08 2015

I like G-2s and Jetstreams a lot, but also really like the humble Bic Round Stic.

11 02 2020
The Greatest Pen

[…] blobs greater than different pens and takes a notably very long time to dry. OfficeSupplyGeek and No Pen Intended have picture proof of how the G2 performs. Fortunately, one Wirecutter tester vouches for our […]

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