Saturday, September 24, 2016

A Box of Staples

Life is ridiculous.

That was my thought when I recently came across this box of staples in the shoebox where I store office supplies. I have had this box of staples for, I kid you not, at least 30 years. Maybe more.

I'm pretty sure I was in high school when I bought it, at one of the now-defunct Eckerd drug stores in Florida. It probably went to college with me. I moved it to all the various apartments I occupied in Tampa, Winter Haven, Venice and Sarasota (at least eight). I took it to New York City in 2000. I brought it to London in 2011.

I moved this box of staples across the ocean.

I also Marie Kondo-ed my life dozens of times during those years (even before Marie Kondo came along) and these staples survived every bout of tidying and purging.

I'm telling you: ridiculous. And the box is still half full. I'll probably have it when I die.

It is something of a little time capsule. You won't be surprised to know that Swingline no longer manufactures its staples in the USA. According to Wikipedia, the factory moved from Long Island City, N.Y., to Mexico in 1999, a casualty of NAFTA.

I like the fact that the "convenient storage box" was considered a selling point.

My first thought on seeing the price tag was that $1.49 didn't seem like much of a bargain, even for 5,000 staples. But on Amazon, Swingline staples now sell for $3.66. So who knows?

(By the way, if you have absolutely nothing to do and want to catch a glimpse of an interesting culture, read all the enthusiastic comments on Amazon from users of Swingline staples. "Using premium staples is likely the lowest cost luxury in life," one wrote. Who knew staples could evoke such passion?!)


  1. What? A blogpost about staples? Only you could do that Steve. I wonder what next week will hold for your faithful readers. The Drawing Pin (Thumb Tack), How to use Correction Fluid, Damage to Library Books, Peeling Carrots? I just can't wait. In the meantime, hang on to those staples - one day your undertaker will find them useful for affixing the silk lining of your coffin.

  2. I certainly hope you use those things up before leaving the planet. Take them to school...

  3. I think I still have some staples of my grandfather's. He died about forty years ago.

  4. I have that same box of staples in my desk drawer! Still half full, with a sticker from a now defunct Illinois department store, and I paid $1.19! It's been with me through a bad marriage, multiple states, and a long term (good) second marriage. I'm off to go search my time capsule desk for more....

  5. so, I have to ask since you've had those staples so you even own a stapler?

  6. The type of price tag and lack of barcode are an indication of how old the staples are.

  7. I love it! Do you still have a stapler that they fit?

  8. But do you still have a stapler?

  9. As someone who uses staples daily at home and work, I fully agree - buy the best you can. Life's too short to use bad staples :)

  10. YP: There are no boring stories -- only boring reporters. (A favorite expression from my journalism days, used to inspire reporters to stop whining and write about the new sewer tax or a change in garbage collection.)

    E: I've thought about it! I may take them to school and put them in our staplers there.

    Ms Moon: Ha! It's funny what we have lying around, isn't it?!

    Catrina: Excellent! You got a better deal on yours than I did on mine. Or maybe you bought them a few years earlier?

    Ellen & 37P: Yes, I still own a stapler. Believe me, the staples would never have survived Marie Kondo-ing if I didn't own a stapler. :)

    Red: Indeed! I remember price tags like that, with a SKU number on top, on merchandise at the hardware store where I worked in college.

    Sarah and Catalyst: Yes, I still have a stapler. In fact, the stapler is even older than the staples!

    Jenny-O: I never knew there was such a thing as bad staples. But apparently so!

  11. Love this post! I own a stapler and staples, too. Very old - 30 years? - got it from my mum and sometimes still use it ;-)