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You're Crazy! That Costs How Much?!?


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#41 bayindirh

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 12:06

I generally get the "You're crazy" look just for carrying a fountain pen, knowing them well and handling them well because I'm a jeans and t-shirt guy in trekking shoes.While not exactly on-topic, I'd like to cite the most enjoyable and extreme conversation about fountain pens. I was again wearing a t-shirt and jeans and was in trekking shoes while the conversation was taking place.

 

XX: You know, bayindirh, I'd like to buy a Mont Blanc sometime in the future, after mastering this (he has a Lamy Logo at this point).

Me: A Mont Blanc is nice, but why no other brand? There are a lot of stylish, good looking and high quality brands you can try.

XX: Because the people I talk with use these pens. The places I attend demands it.

Me: If you want make an impression, using a good (I'm thinking of CP-1, 2000, some Pelikans at that point) FP everyday and having a signature ink so people can know that you were the person who wrote the note or the thing will be much bigger than carrying a Mont Blanc occasionally.

XX: But, you don't understand. The people I'm talking about are <insert some high figures here>.

Me: Oh, I understand. My grandpa is a friend of the people you talk about. I've personally met with some of them. I know them. I'd still do the same thing around them. Carry my ordinary pen with my signature ink.

XX: Oh, OK.


Edited by bayindirh, 05 August 2020 - 12:07.


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#42 MadAsAHatter

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 12:21

I heard the following story, afaik it true (though it didn't happen to me)

 

A high school teacher using a fountain pen in a class was asked and said how much his pen cost. I don't remember the number, but it wouldn't have been excessive for the pen wackos around FPN.

 

The students were aghast - why pay so much for something you are just going to use up and throw away??

 

My point is that most of the things surrounding us - think of something as expensive as your mobile phone - are "used up" and discarded after not all that long.

 

The idea that even a relatively cheap pen can be refilled, and if cared for could last several lifetimes, is probably a completely unheard of idea by most of the people who see your pen.

 

You really can't blame them - they've lived with wooden pencils, bic ballpoints and the like - disposable things.

 

 

.

 

This is very similar to an experience I had in high school some 25+ years ago.  My history teacher (I think) Mr. Billings used a fountain pen.  One day the class realized it wasn't just a throw away clicky pen and started asking about it.  He took some time to talk about it and some people were fascinated that you could reuse it.  I don't remember if he said how much his pen cost at the time but I do remember he mentioned price ranges and what you could get for each.  I really wish I could remember what kind it was.  I vaguely remember it being a flat top pen like a Parker Duofold, has a gold nib, and it seemed excessively long when posted.  I know it had a gold nib because he talked about not letting anyone try it because it was tuned to his writing and would mess up the nib.     

 

 

I want to add a little to my original post to address those who brought up it being rude to ask about what one paid for something.  In some cases yeah it probably is rudeness.  Most of the times thought, they've asked me a few other questions before asking me about price.  When they ask about the price of my pen I take it as they're asking more in terms of how much does one cost in general more than specifically wanting to know how much I personally paid.  It just comes out as "how much did that cost you?"


Edited by MadAsAHatter, 05 August 2020 - 12:26.


#43 como

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 12:32

bayindirh: These are the people who are more into dressing for their professional part. They are not so much into style, or pens. I know a few bankers who wear boring looking Hermès ties and carry Montblanc ballpoints. They are just dressing their part. They buy what they feel comfortable with. It’s all good.



#44 bayindirh

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 12:38

bayindirh: These are the people who are more into dressing for their professional part. They are not so much into style, or pens. I know a few bankers who wear boring looking Hermès ties and carry Montblanc ballpoints. They are just dressing their part. They buy what they feel comfortable with. It’s all good.

I wanted to guide him (he also wanted my guidance) because, he was also genuinely into fountain pens. Me and my professor always carried a Lamy Umbra as EDC in those days and they looked good. So he wanted me to service his logo first, and asked me for further steps into the journey. This was the last part of a longer conversation.

 

If he only wanted to carry a FP for professional purposes, I'd just let him be :D



#45 Estycollector

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 13:09

I wanted to guide him (he also wanted my guidance) because, he was also genuinely into fountain pens. Me and my professor always carried a Lamy Umbra as EDC in those days and they looked good. So he wanted me to service his logo first, and asked me for further steps into the journey. This was the last part of a longer conversation.

 

If he only wanted to carry a FP for professional purposes, I'd just let him be :D

You gave me an inspiration to send my grand daugther a Lamy Vista rollerball as she enters her second year in college. Thanks. :)


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#46 como

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 13:18

Of course.  :)

I wanted to guide him (he also wanted my guidance) because, he was also genuinely into fountain pens. Me and my professor always carried a Lamy Umbra as EDC in those days and they looked good. So he wanted me to service his logo first, and asked me for further steps into the journey. This was the last part of a longer conversation.

 

If he only wanted to carry a FP for professional purposes, I'd just let him be :D



#47 bayindirh

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 13:33

You gave me an inspiration to send my grand daugther a Lamy Vista rollerball as she enters her second year in college. Thanks. :)

I'm humbled, thank you. I'm sure that your grand daughter will love it. :)



#48 bemon

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 13:40

I heard the following story, afaik it true (though it didn't happen to me)

 

A high school teacher using a fountain pen in a class was asked and said how much his pen cost. I don't remember the number, but it wouldn't have been excessive for the pen wackos around FPN.

 

The students were aghast - why pay so much for something you are just going to use up and throw away??

 

My point is that most of the things surrounding us - think of something as expensive as your mobile phone - are "used up" and discarded after not all that long.

 

The idea that even a relatively cheap pen can be refilled, and if cared for could last several lifetimes, is probably a completely unheard of idea by most of the people who see your pen.

 

You really can't blame them - they've lived with wooden pencils, bic ballpoints and the like - disposable things.

 

 

.

I like that comparison to a phone which costs as much or more as a good pen. But generally people use them for two years at a shot and dispose of them without thinking twice. I guess you could make the argument that most of us get far more use out of our phones, but the comparison still stands up nicely. 



#49 S_B_P

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 13:53

To be honest, I generally surprise people the other way - they assume I have a costly pen when I have an inexpensive one.

 

The pens I have range from Rs. 70 (about one US dollar) to Rs. 600 (about 9 USD). I do not have anything fancier than that.

Sometimes when my colleagues or friends see my pen and see how well it writes, they assume that I must be holding a costly pen. When I say the actual price, I get the exclamation of surprise that it is much cheaper than what they anticipated, followed by inquiries about where they can buy the pen. Most of the times, I immediately gift my pen to them if they like it.

Needless to say, some of my friends have become regular fountain pen users.

 

Sometimes (for a few of my friends) it turns out, they have previously bought (or been gifted) some costlier pen that may be 10 times costlier, and are stuck with it and they do not know how to take care of it.. When they see a much cheaper pen that is maintained better and writing better, they are surprised. For this group of colleagues, they have a sort of false notion that all good pens have to be costly. And they are surprised seeing an inexpensive pen that writes well...



#50 PAKMAN

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 15:20

Pen folks don't mind asking me how much I spent on a pen and I don't mind answering them, especially since I rarely pay MSRP for a pen and usually have bought them for really good prices. For those non pen people that have asked, if they truly want to know because they would like to have one like, I go ahead and tell them, but usually let them know that they can get into fountain pens much cheaper if they want. For those likely to say "you're crazy" for spending that much I just leave it as it was fairly expensive.  But now my retort will include a comparison to the iphone they're carrying that they will toss aside in 2 years and let them know my pen will last my lifetime and will be passed down to my daughter when I die.


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#51 inkstainedruth

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 17:30

I heard the following story, afaik it true (though it didn't happen to me)

 

A high school teacher using a fountain pen in a class was asked and said how much his pen cost. I don't remember the number, but it wouldn't have been excessive for the pen wackos around FPN.

 

The students were aghast - why pay so much for something you are just going to use up and throw away??

 

My point is that most of the things surrounding us - think of something as expensive as your mobile phone - are "used up" and discarded after not all that long.

 

The idea that even a relatively cheap pen can be refilled, and if cared for could last several lifetimes, is probably a completely unheard of idea by most of the people who see your pen.

 

You really can't blame them - they've lived with wooden pencils, bic ballpoints and the like - disposable things.

Not to mention the cost of replacing a computer.  I don't know how many times I've dealt with Apple Support and it inevitably ends up with me ranting about how the 1937 Vac Red Shadow Wave works better than my laptop.  It cost a fraction of what my laptop did (even with the buyer's premium at the auction, which was a PCA fundraiser the last time I got to DCSS before the site change).  It didn't have the same level of warranty from Parker that the Pearl models have.  It was bought as is, so I expected to have to repair it -- but didn't, as it turned out.  I ran that pen in constant rotation for something like three YEARS, just refilling it as needed (Waterman Mysterious Blue).  No flushing, no nib work.  Just refill and write.

My laptop?  I'm on the 4th OS.  At one point it had the hard drive wiped for a clean install and I lost a whole lot of very large spreadsheets (which had to be rebuilt from scratch).  It's six years old, and updates don't work together. I'm almost out of memory space at this point, and every time I empty the trash folder in Mail, it crashes.  The pen?  Besides costing a fraction of the laptop's price, it fits in my pocket or purse.  It is more ergonomic and better looking.  It works when the power is out (and I don't have to worry during electrical storms or in hot weather about lightning strikes or brownouts).  Plus -- as Samuel L. Jackson's character in the first Kingsman movie said -- "It can't be hacked!"  B) 

Not too shabby for something that was made over two decades before I was born, and was considered a lower-level model.  I should be in that good a shape when I turn 83....  I'm betting the pen will still work even by then....

As for the value vs. price (or perceived price), yes, I can tell the difference between writing with what may be a fake Jinhao 616, and one of my Parker 51s.  Does that cheap Chinese pen write?  Eh, yeah....  It did okay with IG inks.  Mostly I was curious (a few years ago a guy in my local pen club bought a ten or twelve pack of them, just to see what they were like, and was giving them away to anyone who wanted one).  OTOH, I can ALSO tell the difference between my first Parker 45 -- which I bought in an antiques place on the outskirts of Coudersport, PA one weekend (and you get much further east from there on US 6 you are in "butt-nowhere, PA" for the next couple of hours of driving -- someone's MB 146.  And truthfully?  The M nib on that 45 was WAY nicer than the F nib on the MB....  And I'm sure it cost WAY more than the roughly $11 US I paid for the 45....

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#52 markh

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 19:23

I like that comparison to a phone which costs as much or more as a good pen. But generally people use them for two years at a shot and dispose of them without thinking twice. I guess you could make the argument that most of us get far more use out of our phones, but the comparison still stands up nicely. 

 

 

True - we use our phones more than our pens.....

      and the world is a worse place for it.

 

.


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#53 bemon

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 20:44

 

 

True - we use our phones more than our pens.....

      and the world is a worse place for it.

 

.

Maybe, may not. I know what you're getting at, and I agree that smartphones have changed the way we socialize for the worse. But they also allow us to work remotely, stay informed on the go, and I like having a one stop shop for all my news, entertainment and lifestyle needs.

 

I was born in '84 so I've experienced life on both sides of the Smartphone revolution. I got through high school and college socializing MOSTLY in person (Any one remember ICQ?) and I'm glad my memories were of tangible experiences that last rather than sound bites and snap chats. 

 

But I sure wouldn't want to go back to card catalogs. 

 

Though I really do hope kids still pass notes in class instead of texting. Nothing beat getting a handwritten note from a girl! 



#54 Mysterious Mose

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 22:35

Back in the early 1990's, when I was working for the Navy, I used a MB 146.  This colleague, Ajay, was impressed.  He went out and bought four very expensive pens and showed them to me.  I wasn't impressed and that disappointed him.  He didn't understand what makes a pen good.  All he understood was the dollar sign.


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#55 Parker51

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 23:16

"We" don't use our "phones" more than our pens.
I would be very happy if "phones" were simply phones; telephone devices cheap and simple and service costs low.
And hand held multi-purpose devices could be as expensive as the market permits; with data plans matching whatever desire the person wants to pay.

#56 ISW_Kaputnik

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 23:29

The only conversations I recall having along these lines were with friends, or people who were genuinely interested in buying fountain pens themselves.  I have no problem with discussing prices in cases like that.  When one coworker was interested, I made such typical "first pen" suggestions as the Pilot Metro or Lamy Safari.  He admired my Pilot Custom Heritage 92, though, and bought one of those, which depending on who he bought it from would have run him between $120 and $200.

 

He liked his, but subsequently broke it through the kind of experimentation in taking it apart that would have been better with a cheaper pen.  After an interval of a few months, I gave him my TWSBI Mini, which comes with manufacturer's instructions and a special tool for disassembling the piston assembly.  That one cost "only" $50, a price which would cause a non pen person to have conniptions.  I no longer wanted it, and didn't feel like trying to sell it.  He hasn't broken it yet, or hasn't admitted it if he has.

 

I think that with any pen that's visibly nicer than your typical throwaway Bic, a Fisher Space Pen say, or a Parker Jotter ballpoint, people realize that they cost a bit more.  With a fountain pen, they probably assume that it's expensive, they just have no idea where expensive starts.  I'd probably consider it rude if people started quizzing me about the value of my belongings out of sheer nosiness, but with fountain pens, I don't think it's ever come up in that way.  And I don't bring the subject up myself.


Edited by ISW_Kaputnik, 05 August 2020 - 23:44.

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#57 A Smug Dill

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 00:38

I like to tell the price, when it’s not awkward, so people can stretch their sense about other people’s values. Slipping in that a pen like this goes for about $1500 gets the point across!


I like that. The whole root cause of the "... you're crazy!" thing is that people often can't see beyond their own viewpoints and sensibilities, as if they prefer to be wilfully and blissfully unaware there are others unlike them in the world. Exposing them to other viewpoints, and preferably in a way to show them their own is neither the only valid ones (but that doesn't mean invalidating their specific viewpoints), nor representative of the collective of the group in which they and I are equal members, is good for their cognitive horizons, with or without initial shock due the revelation.
 

Nothing beat getting a handwritten note from a girl!

 
Pics, or it didn't happen!
 
Hang on... you'd probably need to have a smartphone handy to take that pic, and send them electronically to whom it may concern.
 
The camera on my phone has certainly relieved me of needing to have pen and paper on hand in shops to note down prices and availability of certain products on a given day.


Edited by A Smug Dill, 06 August 2020 - 00:48.

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#58 Honeybadgers

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 05:44

I've had people in my field (medics) say something similar in response to a $9 pen.

 

They just assume that everyone else is like them and loses their pen six times a day. I legitimately had to teach one of our new boots (term for someone on probation - they're just a pair of boots until they clear training) how to literally keep one single pen for an entire day. Got reeeeeeal sick of her losing it ten times in one shift.


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#59 Honeybadgers

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 05:46

I like that. The whole root cause of the "... you're crazy!" thing is that people often can't see beyond their own viewpoints and sensibilities, as if they prefer to be wilfully and blissfully unaware there are others unlike them in the world. Exposing them to other viewpoints, and preferably in a way to show them their own is neither the only valid ones (but that doesn't mean invalidating their specific viewpoints), nor representative of the collective of the group in which they and I are equal members, is good for their cognitive horizons, with or without initial shock due the revelation.

 

Agree 100% except for when you're using a relatively expensive item in a situation where they are regularly and easily destroyed. It'd be insane to wear a pair of allen edmonds shoes as a mechanic or for me to wear black cordovan leather boots as a medic, where a boot regularly needs to be used as a wheel chock or climbing chain link fence.


Edited by Honeybadgers, 06 August 2020 - 05:47.

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#60 Estycollector

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 09:49

 

Agree 100% except for when you're using a relatively expensive item in a situation where they are regularly and easily destroyed. It'd be insane to wear a pair of allen edmonds shoes as a mechanic or for me to wear black cordovan leather boots as a medic, where a boot regularly needs to be used as a wheel chock or climbing chain link fence.

 

I have a USA made pair of Justin pull on work boots. I got tired of smashing my toes when attaching implements to the tractor or cutting logs for fire wood with hiking shoes. My hiking shoes are two pair of Gortex Soloman brand. My Summer work shoes as a medical rep is a pair of Docksides or Vans Old Skool. Winter work shoes are a couple Dr. Martens. The Justins and Solomans are both near $200 per pair, but entirely different value according to the task at hand. If I could find something to suit every purpose in one shoe type, I might just have one pair of shoes. 


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