As you’ve seen through the last few posts, the majority of the items I pick are awkward books that should never appear in any normal person’s list of search results. However, a huge chunk of my day involves picking items that are not movies, music and books (the staples of Amazon). Today’s item fits this category of picks… The Giant Pencil.
We’ve all made the mistake (admittedly or not) of either forcing our parents to give us money to buy one of these, or wasting the little money we have on one in a moment of blind buyer confidence, excitement, and untamed, juvenile impulse. The ultimate “impulse buy.” Pictured below:
It is my sincere belief that purchasing (and regretting) one of these is a very important part of growing up, and is a fundamental part of the chain of events that catalyze one’s ability to mature. We all went on field trips to some kind of museum when we were in elementary school, with or without mom as chaperon (preferably with, giving you a coveted and endless money supply for souvenirs). The museum itself is a blur for kids this age, and they’ll never remember a minute of it. However, the inevitable trip to the museum store at the end is what we all wait for, and where we all make our first major purchasing mistakes of our young lives.
Mom’s not chaperoning on the particular day in which my scenario takes place (little “Rachel” is our protagonist today). Rachel only has 10 dollars to spend, and it came with a warning from mother… “Don’t waste it on something you’re not going to really enjoy.” Rachel glides past the stuffed elephants and sloths and frogs, souvenirs reserved for the elite group of “rich” kids, whose parents nestled a $50 bill in each of their backpacks. Those stuffed animals are so expensive. Rachel will wait until Christmas to get hers. At least she’s being raised right.
She moves throughout the store, growing worried she won’t find something she can even afford, let alone enjoy. Then her eyes settle on the item at hand: the giant pencil. Gripping it with both hands, her eyes light up as she pictures the scene in tomorrow’s English class: all of her friends taking out their dinky little Ticonderoga No. 2 pencils, and her whipping out this baby. All eyes move to her, and they watch jealously as she struggles to take notes with an item made for a giant, giant man.
Instead of considering other possible scenarios, including the more likely one, where all of the kids just think she’s stupid for having such a big, dumb inefficient pencil that she can barely fit into her backpack, she buys it on impulse. When she gets home, her mom takes one look at the thing and sends her to bed with no dinner. She knows her daughter made a grave error, one she made just 20 years ago when she was in the same situation, though back then the history was much closer to real life than it is now.
Rachel brings the thing to school the next day, and is relentlessly hassled for the pencil until it’s put away forever. Like every giant pencil ever purchased was. Note that this is the typical giant pencil purchasing scenario, not the one at hand.
So the question is: who is purchasing this on Amazon for their child, when they should have known full well that this is one of the most regrettable purchases you could ever make? The answer is simple: a mother who was very, very sheltered as a child, maybe even home-schooled; a woman who never had opportunity to make the mistake of buying one of these in her youth; a culture-less woman whose lack of exposure to museums and museum stores sent her down the destructive path that is endless money wasting.
The result? Her daughter (we’ll call her Julie) will never mature herself, as she will never have the opportunity to watch physical cash leave her hand as the big stupid giant pencil is handed to her. Instead, she gets it in the mail for “free” from her mother. Who cares if she only uses it once? No consequences for Julie.
Parents: let your children buy this one on their own. They need to learn. They need to grow.