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Talking Time's Top 50 Office Supplies

I use a lot of stamps. They're basically essentials. (Grading homework w/o them would be a nightmare.) But I really dislike how I will inevitably end up with ink all over my fingertips because of 'em.
 

Dracula

Plastic Vampire
(He/His)
One of my favorite activities as a kid was to get a bunch of rubber stamps and use them as "springboards" for drawings and stuff. So like I had a set that resembled pieces of buildings, and I'd assemble a structure with them, then add onto it with pencil. It was super fun.

I have some official company stamps on my desk, but I haven't used them for that purpose yet.
 
I'd forgotten that we used to have to stamp "copy" on every GMP document and initial and date it before Adobe had automated signatures. I do not miss that.
 

Bulgakov

Yes, that Russian author.
(He/Him)
One of my favorite activities as a kid was to get a bunch of rubber stamps and use them as "springboards" for drawings and stuff. So like I had a set that resembled pieces of buildings, and I'd assemble a structure with them, then add onto it with pencil. It was super fun.

I have some official company stamps on my desk, but I haven't used them for that purpose yet.
I would like to see these please.
 

RT-55J

definitely not a robot
(He/Him + RT/artee)
One of my coworkers ordered some custom stamps for our job to save time writing down the most common issues on our repair tickets (eg "Spill Damage"). It's been surprisingly useful.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator

#23
Rollerball pen

Score: 92 - Votes: 3 - Highest vote: 3rd (Ixo)​

Ixo said:
My favorites are V5s.

Torzelbaum said:
I have somewhat sloppy handwriting so I appreciate the finer heads / line widths these have. It helps my writing somewhat and they always feel nice to use.

The pen of choice for those with distinguished taste. I may not be impartial, as I was the third vote here.

This is a little awkward: it's impossible to discuss the rollerball pen without comparing it to the ballpoint pen, which (spoiler alert) outranked it by a couple places. What can you do, though?

The principal difference between rollerball and ballpoint is the viscosity of the ink. Ballpoint pens typically use oil-based ink, whereas rollerball pens use water-based ink. In effect, this gives you a middle ground between the ballpoint and fountain pen, with a higher rate of flow and a wetter ink. We've already seen the gel pen on this list, which is a subspecies of the rollerball; liquid pens are a little more consistent but more prone to bleeding or leaking.
 

Issun

Avarice
I voted for gel pens because my preferred writing implement that I mentioned earlier is a gel pen. But it is also a rollerball pen. Tis is why it is the best pen (also it has a comfy rubber grip and a clicker, not a cap).
 

Yimothy

Red Plane
(he/him)
I voted for two kinds of pen, but ink and nib types were not what distinguished them. If it puts ink on the page, that’s enough.
 

Dracula

Plastic Vampire
(He/His)
I would like to see these please.

I assume you mean my childhood stamp assemblies rather than my company's boring corporate stamps. Fortunately I do have access to the former, and if I get a moment I'll to find and post 'em here!
 

Bulgakov

Yes, that Russian author.
(He/Him)
I assume you mean my childhood stamp assemblies rather than my company's boring corporate stamps. Fortunately I do have access to the former, and if I get a moment I'll to find and post 'em here!
I mean both, as well as your stamp assemblies based on your company's boring stamps, but please share whatever you're comfortable with!
 
Wait, my #1 was a rollerball pen. Did it get put under ballpoint? Or did my notes about the waterproof archival ink stuff move it to ballpoint? I didn't actually know that ink difference between the two until now.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator
Ah, that was my mistake: you voted for Uniball Vision Elite, and I didn't recognize it. I should've looked it up!
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator

#21 (tie)
Dry-erase marker

Score: 95 - Votes: 5 - Highest vote: 10th (Daikaiju, JBear)​

JBear said:
They make the white board work! And also have the magic cheat code to remove actual marker when someone uses the wrong one on a white board.

Fundamentally, a dry erase marker and a permanent marker share 99% of their DNA. So what makes dry erase markers magical?

Both types of marker contain ink made of coloring, a chemical solvent, and a polymer. The difference between them is the polymer: permanent markers use an acrylic polymer that makes the pigment stick, while dry erase markers use an oily silicone polymer.

Anyway, dry erase markers are great. They let you write on things and wipe them clean. Brilliant!

Clippit said:
The dry erase marker seems to have been invented in the early 1960s, although there are conflicting reports on the exact origins.
 

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
I had dry erase markers at #19 on my list.

Here were my thoughts on them:
"Not all that useful on their own but quite useful when combined with another supply.

Have some off-brand uses. *fidgets with the cap*"
 
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Yimothy

Red Plane
(he/him)
We call them whiteboard markers. I probably use them as much to remove misplaced permanent markings as anything else.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator

#21 (tie)
Ballpoint pen

Score: 95 - Votes: 3 - Highest vote: 1st (Violentvixen)​

Violentvixen said:
The best pen. Feels great when writing, resistant to organic solvents if you spill on the page, AND resistant to water, as a bunch of coworkers discovered when the fire sprinklers went off in lab and soaked a bunch of books. These migrate home often enough that we have a bunch at home and I love to use them there too. Taking an office supply home to use has to be a sign of a good one, right?

Alert readers will notice that this entry is a sham. Violentvixen is describing a rollerball pen.

But despite that, and despite my earlier pen snobbery, I will admit: I love a ballpoint pen. Not every note calls for a high-end pen, and it's a good feeling to have a drawer full of these on hand. Besides, many of them come with another feature that our voters enjoy even more than the writing bit:

Yimothy said:
There's a hole at one end, and a button at the other. Press the button and the nib appears. Press it again and it goes away. Click! Usually there's a hook on the side to help it stay in place in your pocket. Aside from feeling good, this is the best pen for one-handed use. No need to remove the lid or turn the end. Take it out of your pocket, bang the back on something, and start writing.

Dracula said:
CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK. The original fidget spinner.


Clippit said:
The ballpoint pen was invented in 1888. Initial ballpoints were unreliable, delivering ink unevenly and clogging easily. Ballpoints received refinements over the following decades and turned a corner with Marcel Bich's 1960s "Writes the First Time, Every Time!" campaign. Wisely, Bich wisely dropped the H from his name before launching his business. The Bic Cristal is the world's bestselling pen at over 100 billion sold -- an average of 57 per second.
 
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Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
Here were my thoughts regarding ball point pens:
Not my preferred writing tool but get the job done. Clicky ones and capped ones can both be used for fidgeting. Usually cheap enough that you don't care too much about losing or breaking them or if/when they run out of ink.

Now I have to ask - does anyone else ever play with the clicky ones by making them jump?
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator
Here were my thoughts regarding ball point pens:
Now I'm curious - ballpoint pen wasn't one of your final 25 unless I've made a grave mistake. I do see that comment on my sheet, but it's listed under a different, unrelated item, so something went awry here.
 

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
Clippit said:




You saw nothing.

*Johnny's body was found later that month in a body of post-it notes*
"It looks like you're trying to dispose of a dead body. Would you like help?"

Now I'm curious - ballpoint pen wasn't one of your final 25 unless I've made a grave mistake. I do see that comment on my sheet, but it's listed under a different, unrelated item, so something went awry here.
Well, I did have it listed at first but then you said it (and the rollerball pen) would be wrapped into a generic pens item so I adjusted my final list to only have pens.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
Catching up and looking at my list... roller-ball is generally my preferred style of basic ink pen, but it looks like I didn't actually vote for any variety - I just don't use a lot of regular pens in my current work.

I did vote for whiteboard with dry-erase markers as a unit so I'm not sure if that vote got counted for the markers or a possibly separate entry for the board. I honestly don't use them a lot now either while working from home, but they're great for in-person collaboration, or even sometimes just sketching out big-scale notes for yourself.
 

Yimothy

Red Plane
(he/him)
Clicky pen was #4 on my list and probably should have been higher. I also voted for pen (with lid). I pretty much exclusively use ball points provided by my workplace, because whenever I buy a pen I lose it immediately. Hospital pens can last for months, and I can just get another if someone asks to “borrow” mine.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator

#20
Notepad

Score: 102 - Votes: 4 - Highest vote: 3rd (JBear)​

Torzelbaum said:
Notepads are a nice way to have a portable personal writing surface/media. Perforations make it is easy to separate sheets from the pad without leaving ragged or sloppy edges. They're also good for doodling on.

JBear said:
[a rant about Post-It Notes for some reason]

Notepads have a variety of nice features:
  • They fit in your purse or pocket
  • They make you feel like a journalist and/or detective
  • You can put each idea on its own page without feeling like you've wasted a lot of paper

In conclusion, I like notepads. Thank you for attending my TED talk.
 
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