Sunday, June 24, 2012

Securing pen from Pen borrowers

Let us take a break from travel related stuff and discuss about something very primitive. The Pen.

There're two kinds of people in this world- those who buy and carry a pen and those who manage with borrowed pen.

A pen costs about Rs 5 onwards and is required for various purposes- to take down notes, to note the phone number, to leave a message to someone, to sign, to draw your thoughts and so on. School and college goers need pen almost everyday, while others would need it depending on their nature of work.

Now this post is not about pens. It is about people borrowing your pens and not returning it. If you belong to the first category who always carry a pen, you’d have received several requests from others, including strangers for the pen. In most of the cases you would have obliged. What % of the cases you got back your pen without fail? 

I've observed, experienced the fact that people who borrow the pen, often forget to return it. Most of the time they forget, sometime returning the pen becomes difficult because
  • they already left for home or 
  • gave it to someone else
  • don't know who took it since they kept it at your desk when you were not around
  • threw that pen away as it was not writing
  • lost it
Since a pen costs just a few rupees, the time and effort spent on recovering it is not worth at times. Also going to a shop and buying a new pen often costs more in time and money than the cost of pen. Effectively, you'll end up without your pen when you need it urgently, while those who never cared to carry a pen, had good time with your pen.

It is not worth arguing with a friend or colleague that they didn't return your pen. But the inconvenience of not having your pen when you need it, is huge. Those who borrow the pen should understand this and should care to return it to the owner once purpose is done.

Sometimes the pen could be relatively expensive or someone might have gifted it to you. Losing them would hurt even more.
If your office gives unlimited supplies of stationary you're probably not worried about losing pens. But for most of us, it will be a concern. Also some of us have the luxury of overpriced gadgets which help take notes, but they are not yet a complete substitute for a physical pen (a 30k device to substitute for a Rs 5 pen and still it can't be used for signing)

Tips to prevent losing pens
  • Carry a pen with cap. When someone asks for the pen, give only the pen, not the cap. Keep the cap with you, it will remind you that someone has borrowed your pen and you can ask.
  • Carry a transparent pen, write your name on a piece of paper and roll it inside.  Those who borrow will be instantly reminded of the owner and you have higher chance of getting it back
  • If you're sitting at front desk with lot of visitor, tie a thread to the pen (seen in many banks)
  • Avoid keeping your pen in the shirt pocket. It reminds every one that you've a pen and they can ask for it. Instead, keep it inside the bag, take it out only when you need to use it
  • Carry a brand new pen in your bag. If someone asks for a pen, try to sell this new pen to them and ask for money... This will discourage them from asking again
Update: A kannada version of this article has been published in Udayavani Kannada daily. Click here to read
Any other idea?


magiceye said...

:) looks like you have lost a lot of pens!

pon said...


Fr Varghese Karippery said...

The Content is very useful for everyone in their daily life.
And I think, the word 'Pen thieves' can be avoided.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Deepak: yes, few of them

Varghese: renamed the title to Pen Borrowers...

Bhavana said...

actually a very useful post!!! I am a person who carries everything--pens, sanitizer, water bottle, notepad, extra cash and I get asked for everything...and I have to keep replenishing things because I get asked all the time. In fact some people know that all they have to do is ask me:(

vinisha said...

hehe tht was a cool post ever read ........i have lost so many pens..........nw i am gonna follow these tips atleast in future i can save some of them .,....had fun reading it

Shalu Sharma said...

Ahh the humble pen.

themoonstone said...

The same goes for Books also.. people who borrow books and never return it !

I was once told that there is no word for 'borrow' in German as there is no concept of borrowing. Husband and wife buy their own newspapers !

umashankar said...

There is no armour against avarice. Greed lays its icy hands on pens!

PS: Witb apologies to James Shirley

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Umashankar,TMS, Shalu Sharma Vinisha, Bhavana

Namratha said...

I've done all this n still lost my pens. I'm guilty of fighting to get my pens back too but without any luck. Such are the friends I have :)

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Namratha: :)