An addiction . . . but not the sort you’re thinking of.
Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m a stationery junkie. I cannot walk by a news agency, stationery aisle, Officeworks, or a Smiggle store without going in and buying a heap of stuff that I really don’t need because I’m still trying to get through the stuff I bought the last time I couldn’t walk by the same store. I have countless notebooks, pens (my preference is for black or purple ink), textas, permanent markers, whiteboard markers, pencils (lead and coloured), wind-ups (retractable crayons), post-it notes, paperclips (of the PVC plastic coated, coloured variety), files, and folders all of which are unused and sitting in the closet in my study. And I’m not the only one.
Recently, I have discovered that many of you out there, have the same stationery fetish as I have. You’ve probably kept it hidden really well too, just like I have. At first I thought that maybe this was a teacher thing. Something quirky that a lot of teachers deal with, because, you know, we’re forever marking work, making posters, all that sort of teachery stuff. But, no, it’s a wider problem. It envelops people from all walks of life, all sorts of careers, both sexes, and all age ranges. Some people are just simply drawn – no pun intended – to stationery.
I have scaled back my stationery purchases over the last year or so, but I can’t help myself. The Smiggle brand, which I believe is found only in Australia and New Zealand (although, I know for a fact, Smiggle stationery has made its way to Florida – more on that later), has become my favourite. Whenever I see the Smiggle logo above a shop door, I have to go in to see what new and exciting morsels they have in the store. Oh dear God, what they have in store!
On two occasions earlier this year, I had the opportunity to indulge my love of stationery shopping. Of course, you’ll be surprised to learn that none of it was for me. Not a single thing stayed in my hands, but I sure did have an unbelievably brilliant time stationery shopping for the benefit of others.
The first occasion saw me buying a large amount of red pens and quirky shaped post-it notes, which I sent to Sweden. Let it not be said that when my friends are having red pen emergencies, that I stand back and let them flounder helplessly. No, I throw my own love of stationery to the wind in order to help those unable to find their lost red pens and post-its. And should my red pen-wielding friend ever be in need of a large array of aforementioned red pens again, I’ll be the first to hunt those suckers down.
The second occasion I was able to stationery shop to my little heart’s content was a short amount of time after the red pen and post-it emergency was averted in Sweden. The birthday bells were tolling for a certain person in Florida. I was left in no doubt what was required on this auspicious occasion. So, indulging my love of stationery shopping and my friend’s completely understandable obsession with purple pens (aren’t we all fond of purple pens?) I headed to a nearby store that the kids I teach kept telling me about.
It started like this:
‘Ms M, have you been to the Smiggle store yet?’ Yes, that’s how they speak, and the words they emphasise.
‘Why no, children. I have not yet been to the Smiggle store. Pray tell, what is the Smiggle store, and why would I go?’ I replied.
Then almost every girl in that class whipped out her Smiggley pencil case, opened it up, and emptied the contents on the classroom floor. I gasped at the beauty of said contents. All those pens and pencils and highlighters and crayons and sharpeners and . . .
And then this happened:
I think I may have drooled at some point because the kids recoiled in horror. Either that, or I went Gollum on them. A little coinkydink, don’t you think? Sméagol . . . Smiggle. Food for thought, Smiggle corporate types.
‘Look at all those pen and pencilly goodnesses, my precious.’ Although, come to think of it, in my head, at this point I’m doing more of a Yoda voice than a Gollum one.
Alas, I digress.
Kids are right about some things:
So, I went into the Smiggle store and thought, ‘I need to get some purple stuff.’ I was shocked at how easy it was to find the purpley goodness. The Smiggle store has everything, yes, everything grouped by colour in the store! An addict’s delight. I bought up purple pens, highlighters, and pencil case. And the best bit . . . most Smiggle products are scented. The erasers, pens and highlighters have a smell. In the case of the purple stuff, it smells like fake grape. Don’t turn your nose up. It’s perfectly delightful, and you can tell that by how purple my nostrils are from where I smell my purple Smiggle pens. And as a side note, you’d think it would be incredibly difficult to find a purple, fake grape scented, hippopotamus eraser. Not something that any average person would ask for.
New mission – find a purple hippo eraser:
‘Excuse me, Miss Smiggle employee. By some stroke of luck, would you happen to have a purple, hippo eraser? No, I didn’t think you would.’
‘Hold on, slightly obsessed with purple Smiggle stuff customer, I happen to know exactly where there’s a purple, fake grape scented, hippo eraser,’ she said as she thrust her hand into a tub of animal shaped, purple erasers and pulled out *cue angelic overture* a purple hippo eraser. I packaged up all that purple stuff, and a few little extras, and sent them to Florida. And then all was perfect with the world.
It was at this very store that I happened to mention to the lovely employee that I may have a slight obsession or addiction with stationery shopping. She looked at me with what I though was pity in her eyes and said, ‘Huh! Me too. I love working here because I get to spend all my hard earned cash on the stuff in here. I’ve got so much stationery at home, that I don’t need to buy birthday and Christmas presents anymore. I just keep giving my friends and family stationery that I’ve been buying. Don’t worry, you’re safe in here. We’ll help support your addiction. Here’s a customer loyalty card.’ Alright, technically she didn’t exactly say all of those last few sentences, it was really just the first five that she uttered. However, she did give me a customer loyalty card.
And the principle behind the loyalty card? I spend lots of money at the store and they give me a stamp. When my card is filled up, I get a free gift . . .FREE STATIONERY. It’s a win-win situation. They get money; I get stationery. Everyone’s happy.
Well, maybe not everyone’s happy. I’ll admit that the old lady who wanted the last purple pleather sketchbook wasn’t happy when I wrestled her to the ground and wrenched that sketchbook from her wrinkly old claws. And maybe the ten year old girl wasn’t all that happy as I snatched up a dozen or so purple, fake grape smelling, teeny little midget oval highlighters, but that was probably because I stepped heavily on her foot as I tried to shove her out of my way. Okay, so the staff members weren’t happy either when I cleared the store of customers by screaming ‘Bloody huge spider’ at the top of my lungs, in order to be able to peruse the store freely without interruption from other annoying people. Don’t look at me like that . . . and stop judging me for my obsession.
Now, if you’ll all excuse me, I have some pens and stuff I need to . . . acquire. 🙂