Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Pushing The Envelope...And The Pencil

One of my closest friends runs his own business right out of his home. He is a cranio-sacral therapist. To a novice, the work he does might look like a form of message, but it more than that. It is specifically geared at helping the body's nervous system and fluid movements, at least that is my limited understanding definition of it. His clients call on the phone, email, or see him in person to schedule appointments, so he depends on his day planner to keep things right.

He also does technical lighting such as what is done in theaters both as part time employment, and also sometimes as volunteer work. Many of these projects have to be planned several weeks in advance.

I guess its pretty clear the need he has for his day planner. He needed the portability to have his information readily available while at jobs. He always made it a habit to write his appointments in pencil so that if client's made sudden change of plans he could easily adapt.

Some time ago, I bought him a mechanical pencil for a gift. It was made by a company called Staedtler. The pencil was called a Trigon, apparently since it had a triangular barrel. The pencil was a good one, and very ergonomic. He loved it. I originally bought a pack of two, so kept one for myself. As I began to use the pencil, I also loved it, and began to only use this pencil.

My friend after all this time loses the pencil. He asked me if I could possibly find him another. So I send him mine. It's comical because I know it's only a pencil, but I can't tell you how much I miss it. Even more comical, he then sends me an email thanking me for the new pencil and telling me how silly it may sound, but I wouldn't believe how much he missed that pencil. I believe.

Decided I wanted a replacement. Family scoped out Walmart, where I bought the original. None there, apparently not their flavor of the week. I went on line, and could find several eBay related places to buy the pencil for about three dollars (fair) and about eight dollars postage. Huh?

I next called staples. They said only had one but could order it. The say something like seven bucks to ship, but I can ship free if the order is over fifty dollars. So I scamper. Bought a small paint set for a family member, and my sister was happy if I could order her some printer ink. I added more items and cleared sixty dollars. I explained to the sales person how I was only ordering these items because all I wanted was the pencil, but could not justify eight dollars in postage.
An email arrives the night before I expect my order. Pencil out of stock. Thank you staples! That was sarcasm. I would have returned the order, but then I didn't want to create any hardships for the two family members.

So now I have about two dozen cheap mechanical pencils, a big box of manilla folder, and a big box of 500 envelopes. I would have purchased all these things normally, just not in such a large quantity.

All this time and effort. Makes me wonder.