Shopping the Trenches of Purchases Past

31 10 2017

The pen world is fueled by chasing the new. Must have new ink. Must have new pen. Must have new notebook, new case, new stickers, new washi tape, anything out there so long as it’s new. Or at least new to you; vintage collecting isn’t exempt from the madness. It’s not a hedonic treadmill, it’s a hedonic runaway train barreling through my wallet and leaving scores of barely used, briefly effused-over products in my wake. I have so many things acquired that I haven’t even gotten around to reviewing yet—things that burned with the white-hot need of acquisition in the moment, the heady intoxication of having that thing, carrying it everywhere for a week, perhaps two, and then slowly the excitement fades, a pen is cleaned, tucked away in a storage case, forgotten for a while, because there is some new pen out there and I must buy it.

buy it all, buy it now

It’s exhausting. I’m exhausted. I have all these wonderful stationery objects which I’ve barely taken the proper time to appreciate. I haven’t taken the time to use them to create, because I’ve been so preoccupied with the never enough hamster wheel of consuming. I suggested to a friend that I was going to cut down on buying pens—“but you love pens!“—as if by not buying more pens, my whole vast collection would suddenly vanish. As if there isn’t a small shop worth of barely used products in my possession, ready to be organized and ‘shopped’ through with fresh eyes. I’ll still be going back through the things I love, I’ll still do reviews, but I’ve got to take a pause from chasing the new.

Let me show you an example born from this shift in mindset. I bought this pen, grouped with several others, back in…2016? Yes. 2016. It needed a new sac. I gleefully photographed it along with the rest of my newly bought DC Pen Show hoard, moved it to a holding tray, put the tray by my desk in the garage, and there it sat for a year, unthought of, untouched. I’m sure at the 2017 DC Pen Show I looked longingly at pens just like it, because the patterned red hard rubber (especially this wood grain swirl type) has always appealed to me, and yet intimidated me because it seemed like they were all so expensive (for someone with no idea what vintage models were what). This year at DC I picked up a wicked cheap lever filler fountain pen with a flex gold nib that also needed a new sac, which finally prompted me to acquire a proper selection of resacking tools and supplies. With supplies in hand, naturally I had to resac as many pens as I could, which included this guy.


It’s a fantastic little pen. No gold nib, but for a firm nib it’s satisfyingly smooth. And even more satisfying is the knowledge that I fixed the pen. There’s a deeper level of ownership knowing I brought it back to life. The smooth matte red hard rubber has faded to a more fall-appropriate reddish orange. The imprint, Wahl Eversharp, can barely be read, but it doesn’t matter. The pattern is gorgeous and the pen is great for every day use. It’s a new crown jewel in my regular fall line up.

the crown jewels need some….organization

I’m not going to stop buying new pens forever. But I’m not going to keep buying with reckless abandon. There’s going to be a lot more careful consideration before adding pens to an already great collection. More continuing to do my own repairs and modifications on pens I already own. Focus on enjoying what I have, and selling what I don’t enjoy to fund any future purchases.



6 responses

1 11 2017
Julie Paradise

Sometimes similar thoughts creep into all my lusting and wanting and then I can appreciate that I do not have _that much money_ to immediately buy anything and everything I fancy. Thus the pens and supplies I do buy seem to be worth a lot more to me as the (financial) sacrifice always is a serious one.

It is not a bad thing to have dreams and goals and holy grail pens left that I may never be able to acquire.

3 11 2017
Economical Links for 2017.11.03 – The Economical Penster

[…] Shopping the Trenches of Purchases Past (via No Pen Intended) […]

4 11 2017

I told myself time and time again: No more pens! I have a ridiculous number of pens. Like so many that you put them away before people come over. Still when I see a new pen I haven’t tried yet I inevitably have to buy it. Then I use the G2 .38 anyway.

6 11 2017

Totally get it. What you are talking about is a presupposition of Capitalism in its present state of full-dress madness. Indeed, it has become so ubiquitous that the behavior you are describing may perhaps strike some readers as not unusual at all; the pathological is the normal. I’m guilty of it. What’s going on is that the marketplace lives within us now and tells us that the pleasure is in the getting and not the having. Not only is this sisyphean, it’s sad. As Goethe said: “From desire I rush to satisfaction, and from satisfaction I leap to desire.” Pens, cars, clothes, whatever….it never ends; we are only temporarily satiated, then something newer, better, more beautiful comes along and becomes the new object of our desire, the new must have. And this cycle repeats itself ad infinitum until some of us realize that it’s all smoke and mirrors.

11 11 2017
Luiz Pavanelli

What a lucid text…

11 11 2017

I decided this some time ago about pens, notebooks and books. It’s a weight of ones mind. I don’t like to be addicted, so buying when I need rather than want is a great move. I find that I enjoy my ‘stuff’ more and certainly have time to think write and read.

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