Saturday 01 Oct 2016

Bic Pens for Her
Jennifer Flaten

We are shopping for school supplies. I know I dread reading the supply list, it always reads like a scavenger hunt put on by a sadist.

As I read the list, I imagine a disembodied, yet vaguely menacing, voice telling me I have five hours to find six crimson pens, not red, crimson approximately 6.25 inches long or else. Don’t forget the 302 #2 pencils-sharpened. No one sells pre-sharpened pencils; it is a catch 22. Imagine my surprise when I found out school actually, expects you to sharpen your pencils at home.

After burning out several electronic pencil sharpeners, I was happy to see the new house had an old-fashioned pencil sharpener hanging from a wall in the basement. I won’t say it was a selling point, but I do have three kids who need approximately 24 pencils each. Lucky me, my kids think it is extremely fun to crank the pencil sharpener; yeah, they’re weird.

We are nearing the end of the list and are heading down the writing instrument aisle, when what to my wondering eyes should appear, but Bic Pens for Her. I saw a commercial for the pens and honestly, I thought the kids had accidentally turned on Saturday Night Live. I remember thinking it wasn’t a very good skit; turns out it isn’t a very good piece of marketing either.

For the record, the creepy Bic mascot, the guy with the big round black dot for a head is really creepy. I must ask, is there really a market for pens specifically for women? If there is, why didn’t I, a woman, design the damn pen? I should be rolling in girlie pen revenue right now.

Naturally, the two eleven year old girls love them. No surprise, since the pens are pink and purple, which is really their only requirement in a pen. Although, the girls would like them a teensy bit better if the ink was glittery.

Other than that, it’s a pen. Of course, it is the pen heard round the world, probably not in the way Bic intended. I suppose pissing off the entire female population is one way to spread the word about your product.

Alas, we didn’t buy the girlie pens, despite hard lobbying by the girls. According to the list, which should accompanied by the sound of trumpets, the girls require only two pens, both in blue ink with a medium point, boring according to the girls.

I was happy to see this school district is not as obsessed with anti-bacterial wipes are our previous district. I am positive the boy in the bubble ran our previous school district. We needed to help stock the classroom anti germ cupboard by providing seven industrial sized tubes of wipes. It was easier and more cost effective to wrap the kids in saran wrap each day.

We didn’t have to provide any tissues or Ziploc bags either. Each list only contained about 13 items; yes, I counted.  I was practically overcome with joy in the binder aisle.

Look, I just spent the summer moving and wrangling three children I may have suffered permanent damage let me have my moment.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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