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Talking Time's Top 50 Office Supplies

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator

#18 (tie)
Sharpie

Score: 104 - Votes: 4 - Highest vote: 5th (Dracula)​

Kirin said:
sometimes ya gotta write dark

Ixo said:
Everyone knows the feeling of picking up a brand new sharpie marker and immediately looking for something to write on.

Dracula said:
Newell Brands has requested that I refer to these as "Sharpie brand permanent markers"

Everyone's familiar with the thick, black Sharpie. But please direct your eyes to the image above. Sharpie offers a full spectrum of permanent marking products. The black Sharpie is great, no doubt. But why stop there?

Eminent voter Daikaiju separately called out the metallic Sharpie. Good call, even if it didn't make the list. If you can write in a script of purest silver, why wouldn't you?

Clippit said:
The Sanford Ink Company introduced the Sharpie brand in 1964. Sharpie was the first pen-style permanent marker, and it was available in red, brown, blue, and black from the very start.
 
Gaaaaaah how did I forget Sharpies? I have at least two different ones in my lab coat pocket at all times.

Eminent voter Daikaiju separately called out the metallic Sharpie. Good call, even if it didn't make the list. If you can write in a script of purest silver, why wouldn't you?
Silver and white are great for writing on amber glassware or black lids too! Not as solvent resistant so can't use it on everything, but nice.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
Indispensable for labeling stuff.

At my old job, the marketing guy had a stash of the huge 1/2-inch wide ones for shipping usage, which are impressive but have the drawback of immediately stinking up the office with strong sharpie-solvent smell in a dozen meter radius.
 

Yimothy

Red Plane
(he/him)
I assume Sharpies are standing here for all permanent markers, which at my work are mainly used for skin marking before surgery - either to indicate which side an operation is to take place (right or left arm, for example), or to guide the surgeon in some way during the operation (maybe drawing where the cut should be made while the area is exposed because it’s easier to identify than it will be once the sterile drapes go on). Sharpies are ok, but when you need a mark that won’t be removed by the prep (1% chlorhexidine in 70% alcohol, usually) there are other brands that perform better.

My current permanent marker experience is I just bought a coffee and they wrote my order in such big letters on the lid that every time I take a sip the taste is drowned out by the solvent smell. Should have remembered my reuseable cup.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator

#18 (tie)
Pen

Score: 104 - Votes: 4 - Highest vote: 1st (Daikaiju)​

Daikaiju said:
I like a nice Parker pen

JBear said:
I press too hard, so it has to be one where the ink flows readily; my preferred pen is one that smudges easily if not left to dry, but not a fountain pen.

Yimothy said:
Not a patch on a clicky pen, but still a pen. Successfully taking off the lid, writing something, and recapping the pen with only one hand free the whole time is satisfying, but losing the lid and subsequently drawing a whole lot of lines near the pocket of my scrub top is the more common experience. Perhaps that's why the scrubs are such a dark colour?

Some of us are pen snobs. For the rest of us, here's the "pen" entry.

And that's fine! Sometimes, you just need a pen. There's something comforting about having a coffee mug full of pens on your desk, always a writing implement at arm's reach.

Clippit said:
Putting ink on paper is literally as old as history, of course. Any line you draw between ancient and modern pens will land on either the fountain pen or the ballpoint, depending on how much you care about the role of the inkwell. Either way, the introduction of a reservoir revolutionized the pen.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator
It was probably around that time, since the power of the pen scales with literacy.
 
Being a perfectionist with ocd tendencies and is also prone to making mistakes, pens give me a lot of anxiety. To this day, I will write what I want to write first in pencil, write over it with pen, then erase the pencil.
 

Yimothy

Red Plane
(he/him)
I dunno if this was a thing in other countries, so this story might not make sense, but I have always had terrible handwriting, and still do. When I was in primary school my writing never got good enough to get my pen license. I was stuck using pencils all the way through whichever year it was they did the pen license thing in, and only got to use pens when I started the next grade and the teachers assumed everyone had passed whatever test it was that got you the permit.

And I’ve been writing unlicensed ever since!
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
That is decidedly not a thing here, no! I have never been licensed for pens, but the idea is kind of delightful.
 
I dunno if this was a thing in other countries, so this story might not make sense, but I have always had terrible handwriting, and still do. When I was in primary school my writing never got good enough to get my pen license. I was stuck using pencils all the way through whichever year it was they did the pen license thing in, and only got to use pens when I started the next grade and the teachers assumed everyone had passed whatever test it was that got you the permit.

And I’ve been writing unlicensed ever since!
Not quite the same but I never got permission to learn cursive for the same reason. But my grades were fine in everything else so no one cared and eventually cursive was no longer required. There are still several letters I have no idea how to write.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator

#17
Water

Score: 106 - Votes: 4 - Highest vote: 4th (Kirin)​

Kirin said:
need water to live

I compiled my list before reading yours so that the voting process might remain pure. However, when I saw this entry, I made my sole amendment. I drink like a fish. My office would not be the same without my water bottle.

"Hey, what's the secret origin of your drinking problem?" Glad you asked. One summer when I was in high school, I got a job in bookkeeping at a local bank, which is the closest I've ever gotten to the finance world. They basically had me stuffing envelopes all summer, which meant I had not enough to do and way too much time to do it. I filled the time with water. It took time to refill my cup, and it took time to take all those bathroom breaks. I also trained myself to be able to stop peeing mid-stream, which hasn't really come in handy yet (if you don't count the dream I had last night), but it's only a matter of time, right? I have at least one superpower that's more impressive, but that one's definitely up there.

Anyway, to this day, I still drink water the way one might eat popcorn or chew gum or something. I recommend it to anyone. Water is better than any drink humanity has come up with.

Clippit said:
I require no water. Tell me, which of us is the superior being?
 

Bulgakov

Yes, that Russian author.
(He/Him)
One summer when I was in high school, I got a job in bookkeeping at a local bank, which is the closest I've ever gotten to the finance world. They basically had me stuffing envelopes all summer, which meant I had not enough to do and way too much time to do it. I filled the time with water.

This is beautiful, and the platonic example of the bad jobs that made us.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
Since we're talking supplies, my vote was for my water bottle, but yeah, the water is the critical component. I cut out drinking soda all the time like 15 years ago and replaced it with water, which is probably the best single thing I've ever done for my overall health. I used to just fill a big plastic cup and keep it on my desk (a habit left over from when I'd usually have a soda cup from a fast food joint) but I eventually switched to a bottle which is so much handier to carry around and less prone to spills.

I have a favorite bottle, with an insulating sleeve and a pop-up/down cap so I can open/drink/close one-handed, and I take it literally almost everywhere I go. I am a little jealous of the ability of my partner's double-wall vacuum-insulated bottles to keep ice water cold all day, but they don't have easy to use caps so I've stuck with mine. Though for our trip out of the country we got another vacuum-insulated set that comes with super filters (the kind you can safely drink pond water through), so those are handy for places where the tap water isn't great.
 
I guess for me it's both water I consume and the Reverse Osmosis or DeIonized water we use for lab work. Never would have occurred to me to put some of these things on the list though, this is fun.
 

Issun

Let's 90s gaming
I should have put water on mine. I dehydrate easily and have bad allergies, so the combination of constantly drying throat and post-nasal drip means I'll often just start coughing and if I don't have water handy things get real bad real fast.
 
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Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator

#16
Paper

Score: 107 - Votes: 5 - Highest vote: 8th (Johnny Unusual)​

Torzelbaum said:
You need it to print. Can also double as loose-leaf paper if you don't care about or need it to be ruled. Good doodle fodder.

We've seen paper products before on this list, and we'll see them again. But how about just a plain ol' piece of paper? Now we're talking. A blank piece of paper is carte blanche for your imagination -- carte blanche literally means "white card," after all.

Clippit said:
There's no feeling in the world that matches a good stack of paper between your prongs.
 

Yimothy

Red Plane
(he/him)
Paper was not on my list, though by rights it should have been. I think it’s just such a fundamental that I didn’t think of it. It’s like when a surgeon says they just need a knife and a pair of forceps. What about scissors?, you ask. Oh, yeah, those too.

There’s a lot of talk about going paperless, and probably one day we will, more or less, but there’s something irreplaceable about getting a piece of scrap and jotting something down on it. Plus, although it can and does go missing, paper doesn’t crash.
 

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
I had paper (specifically printer paper) as #13 on my list. It's good but not when it cuts you.
 
Remember when we were kids, and the environmentalist message was to use less paper. And now we're using paper for everything so that we use less of other things?
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
Yeah, presumably there's been a shift in production of paper and wood products from virgin forests to farmed trees, which can potentially even benefit the environment if managed well.... though I'm curious what the actual numbers are on how big the shift has been, as I've never researched it.

I actually use very little full-size paper in my office. I do use a bit of a specialized form that will probably show up later.
 
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Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator

#15
Mechanical pencil

Score: 111 - Votes: 5 - Highest vote: 5th (Ixo)​

Ixo said:
I'm using the old model of Staedtler 925 in .7 lead thickness.

Dracula said:
Pentels' are the best. Sometimes I'd put Pentel refills in the cheaper Bic pencils. Why .07? .05 breaks too easily.

I suspect I'm going to lose some of my street cred for admitting that I love mechanical pencils. Here I am, talking up gel pens and rollerballs, but when it comes to pencils, just give me one I don't have to sharpen. The pencil elites look down on me from the other side of their sharpening-knives, I'm sure.

Yimothy said:
Better than no pencil.

Dracula also voted separately for the Dr. Grip mechanical pencil:

Dracula said:
A nostalgic choice. Like holding a marshmallow, but one that can answer test questions, maybe.

Clippit said:
The idea for the mechanical pencil was proposed in 1565, and the first functional model dates back to the 18th century. They weren't manufactured until the 1820s, which -- admit it -- is still a good century earlier than you'd have guessed.
 

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
I had the good old clicker pencil at #14 on my list.

Here's my blurb about it:
Was my preferred writing tool while I was in school. Fun to fidget with but that can be harmful.
 
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