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Staples New "fine Writing Instruments" Section. Starts To Sell Good Fps Again.

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#1 Florida Blue

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 17:33

Several years ago, it was not unusual for "big box" office retailers to sell some quality/premium fountain pens in their stores. Not too long ago, a consumer could walk into Staples and pick up a Waterman Phileas, Hemisphere or Expert, a Parker Sonnet, Frontier or Vector or a Sheaffer Prelude or Agio. They were usually in glass cases under lock and key or in a blister pack on a hook.

 

A few years ago, Staples dropped those popular, mid-range fountain pens for no fountain pens at all! I guess to focus on disposable ballpoints, gel pens and rollerballs (which I guess is the bread and butter of office supplies these days).

 

Not too long ago, Staples started selling Cross pens exclusively in their stores. They sold the very popular Century ballpoint pens in chrome plate and 10 and 14kt gold filled (yes, they are not fountain pens, but they are still quality pens that you have to refill rather than throw in the trash).

 

Staples started to sell a few Cross fountain pens that were exclusive to them (the Aventura and the Bailey), which ended up being many a young person's first foray into the world of fountain pens (as they were so easily accessible).

 

Well, I went into Staples today and saw their new "Fine Writing Instruments" section.

 

130808_0001_zps618c7434.jpg

 

In their new kiosk , they have four different Cross fountain pens for sale in the $30-$50 range and they sell two Parker Sonnet fountain pens (the black lacquer with chrome trim and the SS Flighter with gold trim) for full MSRP. They also sell the Premium versions of the Parker IM and Urban, but only in BP and RB format (maybe the FPs in the future).

 

130808_0002_zpscd9ff3ab.jpg

 

You have to take one of the little cards next the pen and take it up to the register and I guess they will take one out of the back for you. I'm assuming they only offer medium nibs, but hey it's a start!

 

They also had the Sheaffer 100 and Friends of Winter ballpoints and rollerballs. They also sell black Quink in bottles (although I've seen that before)

 

So what do you think about Staples jumping back into the world of fountain pens and fine writing instruments again?

A good thing? A bad thing?


Edited by Florida Blue, 08 August 2013 - 17:35.

Parker: Sonnet Flighter, Rialto Red Metallic Laque, IM Chiseled Gunmetal, Latitude Stainless, 45 Black, Duovac Blue Pearl Striped, 51 Standard Black, Vac Jr. Black, 51 Aero Black, 51 Vac Blue Cedar, Duofold Jr. Lapis, 51 Aero Demi Black, 51 Aero Demi Teal, 51 Aero Navy Gray, Duofold Pastel Moire Violet, Vac Major Golden Brown, Vac Deb. Emerald, 51 Vac Dove Gray, Vac Major Azure, Vac Jr. Silver Pearl, 51 Vac Black GF Cap, 51 Forest Green GF cap, Vac Jr. Silver Pearl, Duovac Senior Green & Gold, Duovac Deb. Black, Challenger Black, 51 Aero Midnight, Vac. Emerald Jr., Challenger Gray Pearl, 51 Vac Black, Duofold Int. Black, Duofold Jr. Red.

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#2 rwilsonedn

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 17:55

Last time I checked, my local store had a small selection of Cross FPs, but no bottled ink, converters, or cartridges. A bit of a problem. They did have Pilot Varsities in multiple colors, though.

ron



#3 Florida Blue

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 18:00

Last time I checked, my local store had a small selection of Cross FPs, but no bottled ink, converters, or cartridges. A bit of a problem. They did have Pilot Varsities in multiple colors, though.

ron

I've always thought that was strange. How do they expect you to write with your fountain pen without any way to fill it with ink?  :doh:


Parker: Sonnet Flighter, Rialto Red Metallic Laque, IM Chiseled Gunmetal, Latitude Stainless, 45 Black, Duovac Blue Pearl Striped, 51 Standard Black, Vac Jr. Black, 51 Aero Black, 51 Vac Blue Cedar, Duofold Jr. Lapis, 51 Aero Demi Black, 51 Aero Demi Teal, 51 Aero Navy Gray, Duofold Pastel Moire Violet, Vac Major Golden Brown, Vac Deb. Emerald, 51 Vac Dove Gray, Vac Major Azure, Vac Jr. Silver Pearl, 51 Vac Black GF Cap, 51 Forest Green GF cap, Vac Jr. Silver Pearl, Duovac Senior Green & Gold, Duovac Deb. Black, Challenger Black, 51 Aero Midnight, Vac. Emerald Jr., Challenger Gray Pearl, 51 Vac Black, Duofold Int. Black, Duofold Jr. Red.

#4 rminj

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 18:16

They say one is 30% more likely to buy something that they can touch and feel.   But this display is Staples is the

strangest (or cleverest) example of that..  You can see the pens,  you can feel the pens   but you can't write with them.



#5 warblerick

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 18:19

I think it can only be a good thing, especially for the (almost forgotten) FP industry. There must be loads of people who walk into a Staples and see the display, only to think "hmm, they still make fountain pens?" Maybe some will make a purchase.



#6 UK Mike

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 18:37

It has to be a start. Sadly here in UK my local Staples has just closed down and the next one is 12 miles away.


Pens and paper everywhere, yet all our hearts did sink,

Pens and paper everywhere, but not a drop of ink.


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#7 ArchiMark

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 18:48

Anything that gets the idea of using a fountain pen out there is a good thing.....

 

While it would be even better if you could pick up the pen and hold it in your hand and even better yet, write with it, this is still a good start.....

 

Will be interesting to see if my local Staples has this display.....


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#8 Florida Blue

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 18:51

They say one is 30% more likely to buy something that they can touch and feel.   But this display is Staples is the

strangest (or cleverest) example of that..  You can see the pens,  you can feel the pens   but you can't write with them.

Yes, the displays that Staples use are a little weird. You can touch and look at the display model, but you need that card to show to a salesperson and they will get you the pen on the card. I suppose it is to prevent people from stealing the pens since they are not in blister packs. 


Parker: Sonnet Flighter, Rialto Red Metallic Laque, IM Chiseled Gunmetal, Latitude Stainless, 45 Black, Duovac Blue Pearl Striped, 51 Standard Black, Vac Jr. Black, 51 Aero Black, 51 Vac Blue Cedar, Duofold Jr. Lapis, 51 Aero Demi Black, 51 Aero Demi Teal, 51 Aero Navy Gray, Duofold Pastel Moire Violet, Vac Major Golden Brown, Vac Deb. Emerald, 51 Vac Dove Gray, Vac Major Azure, Vac Jr. Silver Pearl, 51 Vac Black GF Cap, 51 Forest Green GF cap, Vac Jr. Silver Pearl, Duovac Senior Green & Gold, Duovac Deb. Black, Challenger Black, 51 Aero Midnight, Vac. Emerald Jr., Challenger Gray Pearl, 51 Vac Black, Duofold Int. Black, Duofold Jr. Red.

#9 scrivelry

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 18:59

I was in Staples a few weeks ago and the manager helping me find fountain pens, both the disposable Varsities and Bics and the ones I thought I might like to hold from the display was very nice and practically tripping over herself to help me.  I told her I wasn't buying a better pen that day, that I just wanted to know how heavy they were, and she very cheerfully ran around finding me the pen I wanted to try, looking for a fine point, etc.

 

The selection wasn't huge, but I was glad they had anything, and having fountain pens in Staples removes them from the "Really?  That's strange" category - if Staples is selling something, it has to be pretty "normal"  That alone may encourage people to try them...

 

T



#10 Runnin_Ute

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 22:02

More good than bad in my opinion. Haven't been in my local Staples recently. (also have OfficeMax and Office Depot close) Staples/Office Max almost exactly the same distance from home. (~2km), Office Depot about 3.5 miles (~5+ km)


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#11 corniche

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 22:15

Greetings all,

 

If you go to the Staples website, you can purchase a pretty good range of Pilot fountain pens AND most, if not all of the Iroshizuku inks.  In fact, I've purchased all of my Metropolitans and all of my Iroshizuku inks through Staple's website.   I've been known to buy a Metropolitan just to bump up the order and get the free shipping. :D

 

I think it's great that they're starting to display them in the stores again; I'll probably never see one since I'm so rarely out of the house, but I think the added exposure in such a mainline chain is fantastic.  :thumbup:   Thanks for posting this. :D

 

All the best,

 

Sean :)


Edited by S. P. Colfer, 08 August 2013 - 22:18.

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#12 LOGAN

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 02:20

This is great!

 

For some reason, I never thought about looking for FPs in Staples. I'll have to keep an eye out next time. ;)



#13 Elizabeth in NJ

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 03:29

Definitely more good than bad!  Easy access to FPs means that more people get started using them. 

 

I definitely agree that they need to support the pens with inks, though. 



#14 inkstainedruth

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 05:33

I've always thought that was strange. How do they expect you to write with your fountain pen without any way to fill it with ink?  :doh:

This was the problem I had with Office Depot last year when I first started getting into FPs (I had left my Vector at my brother-in-law's house and needed a replacement).  They had a display of pens (including some fountain pens) in anticipation of graduation season, and one of the pens they had was a Yafa cartridge pen.  I didn't know anything about the brand, and of course OD *didn't* carry refills...  Which I thought was pretty dumb.  So I had a salesperson open up one of the boxes for me, and there was a order form for replacement cartridges -- in which the shipping cost more than the pack of cartridges did! :glare:

As for the new Staples display, I've seen it in one of my local stores and I think it's certainly an improvement over the old revolving carousel that alternated the two Cross pens with random brands of (mostly BP) refills.

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#15 RLTodd

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 18:09

It has to be a start. Sadly here in UK my local Staples has just closed down and the next one is 12 miles away.

Interesting cultural difference here.  I used to drive twenty miles to go to work or get a McDonalds hamburger.

I have a Staples, seldom shop there, about six miles away.  I will go over an check if they have the display around lunch time.


YMMV

#16 Jimmy Joe

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 19:24

I saw a similar display in my local Staples a few days ago. With the refills for the higher-end ballpoints and roller balls, they had cartridges--Quink and Waterman Serenity Blue. They also had two bottles of Quink black. I was pleasantly surprised.



#17 harlequin-RIH

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 19:43

Why on earth would you drive 20 miles to get a McDonald's hamburger??



#18 Florida Blue

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 20:01

 

 

If you go to the Staples website, you can purchase a pretty good range of Pilot fountain pens AND most, if not all of the Iroshizuku inks.  In fact, I've purchased all of my Metropolitans and all of my Iroshizuku inks through Staple's website.   I've been known to buy a Metropolitan just to bump up the order and get the free shipping. :D

 

Wow, thanks Sean, I didn't know Staples sold such great products on their website. I wonder how they would do to start stocking a few bottles of Iroshizuku in some of their stores as a test run?

 

I would probably buy a bottle. Their prices are very competitive, only $2 more than Goulet. 

 

It would be neat if they started selling the Pilot VP in their new fine writing instruments section. 

 

I agree with with Elizabeth in NJ and inkstainedruth, Staples needs to have the supporting products if they are serious about selling good FPs again.

 

They should have:

Converters (Sonnet's might come with them, but I don't think the Cross pens do)

A bigger selection of cartridges (Quink, Skrip, Watermans, Cross)

A basic selection of bottled ink (blue ink in bottles, maybe washable blue Quink or Waterman's Serenity Blue, some blue/blacks or red inks)

 

But I'm pleased with what they have done so far.


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#19 ajcoleman

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 23:06

I noticed the same thing the last time I was at Staples. They had several more fountain pens than before.  Ironically I was there to pick up a Pilot Metropolitan I had ordered online and had shipped to the store for pick up. The clerk who assisted me asked me to open it up to make sure it was what I ordered, and was really impressed that I paid only $15 for such a nice pen.

 

Granted they don't carry much of an ink selection in the stores, just bottles of Quink in black, and usually Parker, Waterman, and Cross cartridges, but I try to buy what I can from them to do my little part to encourage their efforts. Also watch for them to have some fountain pens on sale for the Christmas holiday season. I picked up a Cross Bailey last year for only $20. It is a great pen at that price!


Adam
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It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.

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#20 RLTodd

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Posted 10 August 2013 - 19:12

1) I like McDonalds hamburgers, especially back when they were ten for a buck.  I also like their coffee.

 

2) Drove out to Staples and looked over their display, just like the one at the start of the thread.  I give it a year. 

 

I do want to follow it though.  I think it will collapse in about a year and then I will be able to pick up some decent pens and pencils at a fire sale price.

 

Office Depot tried this same marketing stunt around five years ago.  Some really nice mid range Watermans and Parkers at the close out sale.


YMMV





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