Thursday, February 16, 2012

$1,285 worth of pocket bling


Let me say at the outset, nobody really needs a ballpoint pen that costs $200 or more.

But it sure is a cool thing to have peeking out of your shirt pocket.

I was blissfully unaware that such absurdly expensive writing instruments existed until a bank president buddy of mine flashed his Mont Blanc about 20 years ago and casually mentioned what he paid for it.

I was suitably impressed and decided it would be a nifty thing for a big-time professional journalist like me to whip out at interviews and press conferences. I shopped around and picked one up at an office supply store for about half the $200 price advertised elsewhere.

When I took it out of its case, I was impressed with the craftsmanship and heftOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA of the pen. Clearly, this is no Bic. Or even a Cross. It's a Fine Writing Instrument, made for the writing of IMPORTANT WORDS.

I got over that feeling quickly enough and was soon using it to scribble notes on cocktail napkins and grocery lists on Post-It notes.

It wasn't long before I decided I had to have the rollerball, and then the fountain pen. I got them for under $100 each on Ebay.

I've come to think of the ballpoint as a classy accessory, a piece of masculine jewelry that actually comes in handy when you need to write something.

And I'm always a little disappointed when people think I'm just using an ordinary ballpoint pen.

Someone mentioned the other day that Mont Blanc prices have skyrocketed. I went to their web site and looked up my pens. I was stupified at the current prices for the Mont Blanc Classique line of writing instruments.

The ballpoint and rollerball each carry a MSRP of $385 and the fountain pen is a staggering $515. That means the retail price of the hardware lined up in my shirt pocket is $1,285. Jeez, Louise!

That said, you can still get a deal on a used Mont Blanc on Ebay. Within the last week a ballpoint sold for $102.50, a fountain pen for $152.50 and a rollerball for $159.99.

A little more time spent on the Mont Blanc site makes it clear that the Classique pens are considered entry level for their crazy-expensive line of writing instruments. I have no ambition to own any of those.

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