Posts tagged: cross pen

My New Favorite Pentel Pen

I recently found a new Pentel pen that I like very much. If it continues to perform flawlessly for the next month or so, it will become my new favorite pen.

For the last five years my favorite pen has been a Cross Gel Rolling Ball. It’s deep blue with black trim. You have to take the cap off to write with it. It’s not a ball point pen. It takes a 8521 refill. That is blue ink. I prefer the blue ink to the black. I bought it in Staples a long time ago. It wasn’t an expensive Cross pen. I think I paid about $15 for it. I don’t see this pen in stores anymore, but if I did, I would purchase a second one.

I was looking through a case of fountain pens when I saw it. Some of the fountain pens in the case were what I consider very expensive. Spending $50 or $100 for a pen is a lot of money to me. I would hate to lose a pen that was so expensive. It happens though. Pens get lost.

I like the way the ink in the Cross pen glides across the paper. It just feels smooth. I like the way the ink looks on the paper when I’m finished. I write a lot of notes on the computer, but I still like to write on paper. With a nice pen, I like the way it feels. It is hard to describe. If you have a favorite pen, you probably understand what I am trying to explain.

The ink cartridge started to run out of ink last week. The cartridge is made out of metal and you can’t see how much ink is left. When the ink is low, the pen starts to “skip” and it doesn’t feel right anymore. You have to write over what you just wrote. It’s annoying. I use the word write, but what I really mean is print. I print my notes. My penmanship needs a lot of practice. Even I can’t read my hand writing.

I went into Staples to get a new ink refill cartridge. I usually buy them at Staples. Each refill probably lasts me 6 months or so. It was a busy day and the store was crowded with back to school shoppers. They were out of refills. They had refills for all kinds of pens, but they were out of the one I wanted. They didn’t even have a black refill. I would have used one of those temporarily in a pinch until I could get a blue one.

I started looking at the other pens in the aisle. I decided on a pack of Pentel EnerGel pens with a metal tip and blue liquid gel ink. They were $5.29 for 3 pens and the point is 0.7mm, the same size as my Cross pen. They are a nice looking pen, two different shades of blue and silver. The tip retracts just like a ball point pen. They are made in Japan and it says so right on the pen, not just on the package that gets thrown away. You don’t see “Made in Japan” a lot anymore. Almost everything seems to be made in China today.

I walked out of the aisle so that I could check out and lo and behold it was the longest check out line that I had ever seen at this particular Staples. It is the Saratoga Springs, New York Staples. I didn’t want the pens that badly to stand in line for probably 15 or 20 minutes. I put them back on the shelf and walked out of the store.

When I returned home, I started using my Staples Classic Grip pen. It’s a fat pen with a rubber grip that writes rather nicely. It is a ball point type pen and it is refillable, although the refills come in a 3 pack with 2 black cartridges and 1 blue, which is not a good deal for me. They are fairly cheap though. I can’t find the refill on Staples’ website, but I have seen them in the store recently so I know they still sell them.

I went back to Staples the other day. It had been a week since I was last there. I wanted to see if they had restocked the Cross 8521 refill. They had not. I looked through the display rack and the Cross refill that I was looking for was still empty. They didn’t have the black refill (8523) either.

There was a young Staples employee in the aisle who seemed to be taking inventory of what was in the writing department. I explained to him what I was looking for and he tried to help. He had a ladder nearby and checked the overhead area of the pen aisle to see if the refills I wanted were up there. They were not. I told him that I wondered how in this day and age with computerized inventory, that the store didn’t know it was out of this item for a week. He didn’t know either.

I was only in the pen aisle for a few minutes, but it was interesting to note two different people comment on the price of fountain pens. Both young customers were shopping with their mothers and couldn’t understand why someone would pay so much for a pen. The pens were priced from $20 to over $100. The fountain pens are just to the right of the revolving stand that holds the pen refills. In fact, in this store the revolving stand is so close to the shelf that contains the fountain pens, that it gets stuck on one of the brackets every time you try to turn it.

Since the store still didn’t have my Cross refill, I looked again for the Pentel pens that I almost bought the week before. I decided to give them a try and bought them. I guess everyone has their back to school supplies because the checkout line was back to normal. It took me about a minute to check out.

I opened the package of pens as soon as I got home and started to write. As far as I am concerned, the pen is a work of art. It writes beautifully. It feels good in your hand and it is very light and balanced. It looks good too. Can a pen be good looking? Of course. Why not? The ink supply is in a clear plastic tube too so you can see how much ink you have left at anytime. The original ink supply is very generous. This pen should write for a long time.

Until I finally get my Cross gel rolling ball refill, I will continue to use my new Pentel. Even then, I don’t know if my Cross can ever be my #1 again. It had a good five year run though.

Here is a link to the Pentel website. The pen I have is the BL77-C. The pen in the picture looks different than my pen. My pen has a silver colored tip and the finger rest is blue. Maybe I have a new and improved version. The pens are refillable too.

Do yourself a favor and pick up a package of these the next time you are in your favorite office supply store.

Update on January 9, 2019: This is still my favorite pen.

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