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  1. Like most of us here, I do an awful lot of my purchasing on-line. Now that I think of it, few of my actual pen purchases have been made in person. Despite my being as big an advocate as anyone about the merits of trying out a pen in person! I've used quite a number of merchants, but a few really stand out in terms of their outstanding service and quality. I'm long overdue in giving them the recognition they deserve -- at least in my sometimes not so humble opinion! My top 5, listed alphabetically (I'd hate to admit relatively dollar volumes. I don't even want to think about that!): Richard Binder {www.richardspens.com}: I've not actually had any serious nib tuning done by Richard. I've bought a few pens as well as some nib units. I think Richard's prices on the pens/nib units are totally competitive, perhaps more so given that he actually confirms the nibs are in great shape before shipping. I've also been totally unhesitant to ask him questions and his opinion. Service has been quick, shipping fool-proof, and quality superb. Even when I email in questions I usually get a response the next day. Sometimes the same night if he's having a bout of insomnia similar to mine! Fahrney's {www.fahrneyspens.com}: Well, I live in Northern Virginia. So Fahrney's in DC is sort of the hometown B&M store. I have occasionally gone there in person -- especially when I really wanted to try a pen in person. This is particularly nice also because there is usually a technician on duty there who can add another dimension or viewpoint to the expected performance of a pen from a manufacturer. On line purchases are a breeze, and the phone based customer service folks have always been very accommodating. Deliveries are always fast -- hardly a surprise given my location, and everything is well packed. Fountain Pen Hospital {www.fountainpenhospital.com}: I've been a long-time lurker on their website, particularly the 'Back Room' page for previously owned non-vintage pens and the 'Vintage' pen page for -- well, you can guess. I can truthfully say I've never received a pen that failed to write out of the box. I have decided a couple of times that I didn't like what I received, and returns were no problem. Shipments from New York are fast, and packaging is great. I did have a chance this past summer to visit in person when I was in NY and met pretty much all of the people with whom I've spoken which was great. I won't suggest that you can't get many of these pens cheaper say on eBay. BUT every pen I get is in full working order, which I find valuable in itself. Goulet Pens {www.gouletpens.com}: Without question, the website is a fantastic resource in itself, with the steady release of videos by Brian discussing various pens. I've bought primarily inks, cases, and some nibs. Even during this past winter, with the horrid low temperatures, everything arrives safe and sound and prompt. But then anyone who browses FPN is well aware of the Goulet reputation for really sound packaging practice -- they must get a huge bulkrate on packaging materials. Special kudos for customer service: on a couple of occasions, I've either changed my order or ended up placing two orders right after each other; Goulet Customer Service have been outstanding at dealing with these changes and combining orders. I get everything from them within just a few days -- hardly a surprise, given they are also Virginia based! And the fact that Brian is a Hokie (Virginia Tech y'all) as is my son is I have to admit a bonus point... Peyton Street Pens {www.peytonstreetpens.com}: Teri Morris is well known here at FPN. I recently placed my first order with her when she sent out a post about NOS of Parker Falcolns. Wonderful service -- even when at the last minute I asked her if possible to change from a brown pen to a black one. Not only was she able to, but I received everything within just a few days. Huge surprise when I opened the box: she'd included a bonus of an Indian pen as a Thank You for the order. Both pens write beautifully straight out of the box. She and I were in close communication by email throughout. Here's an even bigger surprise: Peyton Street Pens have their own gift boxes for the pens which are in my opinion magnificent: company name in a beautiful silver font, box is finished in a sort of linen finish; instead of opening as your usual box does, it pulls open from the side like a drawer. I've only seen this before on expensive LE pens. Which highlights that pens purchased for gifts will come well packaged! Thanks Teri!There are of course some other merchants I've used and I really have no complaints against any of them. I've been fortunate that way. But these 5 are my tops and I wanted to share with all y'all!

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