DISCLAIMER UPDATE (6/24/22): TWSBI and Narwhal have released a joint statement which I cover in my most recent TWSBIgate post. While not completely satisfied with TWSBI’s response to the situation, I no longer feel the need to dissuade people from purchasing their products.
DISCLAIMER (5/1/22): Since writing this post, TWSBI has been involved in some unsavory actions, and I am currently boycotting them. For more information, refer to the #twsbigate tag page.
OK, admittedly, these tag posts are hit-or-miss in terms of metrics, but I have a great time doing them. And, they help me reflect on my involvement in the pen hobby. So expect some more in the future.
This time, the idea is to evaluate what kind of consumer you are. And, to some degree, what type of consumer community you’re part of.
1. How much do you spend on pens in a month? A year?
It varies. Sometimes I save up and buy an expensive pen. Sometimes I get a cheap pen like a TWSBI, or a great deal on a secondhand pen. Still other times, I buy an expensive pen and spend time paying back the first bank of savings.
I don’t have a pen budget, but I don’t let myself pass my self-imposed thresholds. I don’t allow pens to negatively impact my finances.
2. Do you ever feel guilty about how much you spend on pens?
Not exactly guilty. I do, sometimes, question how much I spend on pens. Every so often, I feel like there are “better” things I could be doing with my money. But pens do make me very happy.
3. Do you get ‘FOMO’ related to pen or ink releases?
Absolutely. And I’ve been working on ignoring it for going on 3 years now. Sometimes I’m successful. Other times, well, there’s a reason why I have so many pens.
4. Do you purchase items simply because they are limited edition?
No. If a pen doesn’t interest me, there’s no reason to buy it, limited edition or otherwise. And, if it does interest me, then the edition type (standard, special, or limited) doesn’t really matter beyond how much I prioritize the purchase.
5. Would you be willing to pay more money for a sold out product online?
Maybe. It hasn’t happened yet. And it would have to be something really amazing. But I can’t rule out the possibility. Generally, when I want to buy something that has long since sold out, I set up an eBay search and wait. Or I tell Bert that I’m looking for it and to let me know if he comes across one.
6. Do you wish you could spend more on pens and/or ink? Do you feel you should spend less?
Sometimes I wish I could spend more. Usually when a really awesome indie pen gets posted on Instagram and I don’t have money available. As to spending less, I kind of already answered that in #2.
7. Do you feel compelled to buy something when you see it in someone else’s collection?
I used to. But I often found that those were the pens I sold later. So I’ve stopped those purchases. But with inks, yes, absolutely. Seeing a really nice color in someone’s pen or notebook can have me ordering it later that day.
8. Do you “stock up” on ink or paper even when you know you won’t run out for a while?
Yeah. I’m 100% guilty on this one, especially when there’s a sale. I’m less likely to with ink, because I know it takes forever to go through a bottle. But with notebooks, because the amount of time it takes to go through a notebook can vary, I’ll stock up when I get a chance.
I changed this from a question about holidays since the pen world doesn’t seem to have the influx of holiday releases that other hobbies have.
9. Have you ever hidden a pen or ink purchase from family or friends?
No. There’s no point. They’re going to see me using it. I typically do the opposite and share it to Instagram and Facebook.
10. Do you have more than ten pens or inks in your collection that you have not used in over six months?
My pen rotation is currently 19 weeks, so all of my pens in active use have been used within the last 6 months. My decommissioned pens (7 pens total) haven’t been used since they were decommissioned, but I’m keeping them either for sentimental or historical reasons.
With inks, I don’t use “Jim’s” inks — the ones he loves but can’t get easily. Not counting those, I have about 40 that I haven’t used in the past 6 months. I usually try to get rid of inks that don’t get used.
11. Have you ever been pressured to purchase something you could not afford or did not need?
No, not really. No one really pressures you to buy things in the pen world — in my experience. Teasing, yeah, some. True pressure, no.
12. Do you purchase pens for collector reasons?
Occasionally. I buy every TWSBI Diamond Mini special edition because I’m collecting them. Usually, though, like I said in #4, a pen has to interest me, and collectability has minimal impact on my purchasing decisions. The only influence it really has is if I’m on the fence about a purchase. If a pen has a high collectability factor, I’m more likely to decide in favor of the purchase because it will be easier to sell if I decide I don’t like it.
13. In your pen journey have you become less or more consumeristic?
Definitely less. I do my best to be thoughtful about purchases now, which I definitely did not in the past. I avoid impulse purchases, and try to think through what I do buy.
What kind of consumer are you? If you choose to answer these questions, make sure to tag me where you share it so I can read your answers. Or, answer down in the comments. I’d love to know what your responses are.