Last week, when the news broke that Blackwing Volumes subscribers would have access to the Volume 0 (or 1917 or 100 depending upon who you ask) anniversary pencils, FOMO grabbed me and I headed to their website and threw a subscription in my cart. Then, just before pulling the trigger, I messaged my wife and said that the family was loaning me $175 that I would sell some out of print Field Notes to cover.
Then it hit me. I was paying $175 for 5 dozen pencils. 60 pencils. $175. That’s almost $3 per pencil. Almost $30 per dozen. And, I removed the subscription from my cart and walked away. There was no way on God’s green earth that I could do that.
Now, I’m not going to lecture you and say you should join me in refusing to purchase overpriced stationery. I don’t even think I will say that Blackwings are overpriced. I may purchase them again, but I don’t know that a Vol 211 or 24 or a hybrid of them is ten times better than the dozen of Forest Choice pencils I can get from CW Pencils ($3 per doz, in case you are wondering).
I love stationery. I love pencils, pens, notebooks … but I just couldn’t, on that day, spend that much. So while I still stand by my post from a couple of days ago, I have reflected that I can find as much joy in that $2.50 Blackwing as I can that $0.25 Apsara Joi (figures are estimates, I could do the math, but I was told there would be no math).
I want to thank Cal Cedar for reminding me that enjoyment doesn’t come from how much one spends on a product. It comes from how good the product is. And, yes, Blackwings are nice. But so is a Golden Bear or a Prospector or an Apsara Beauty or a Staedtler Norica. Maybe it’s time to remember why I like the products and that the “coolness” isn’t the most important thing.