On Friday, the Washington Post reported that EPA chief Scott Pruitt spent $1,560 of government funds on 12 customized silver fountain pens from an upscale DC jewelry store called the Tiny Jewel Box. This is not the first time Pruitt has used government funds on luxury items, but his latest expenditure has some people wondering—how the ever-loving fuck do you spend a grand and a half on pens?
I'm actually team Pruitt on this one—not on the corruption thing, but on the pen thing. As someone who carries around no less than 15 pens and markers wherever I go, I get it. As an avid journaler and one-time art kid, I love a good pen. A good pen or marker can inspire creativity, while a bad one can totally ruin your journaling vibes. I have probably spent $100 on pens in 2018 alone. And that's my own money. Who knows how much I would have spent if I had a government spending account to use on whatever I want, which is apparently how Pruitt views the EPA budget.
But fountain pens are mostly bullshit—the ideal pen for writing has a thinner nib, and isn't made of a hefty metal like silver. Those $130 fountain pens Pruitt bought are show pieces—nice to look at, sure, but you never know when they'll fail you at a time when you need them, like when you're signing orders to delay methane regulations.
Still, it is very possible to spend $1,560 on pens. Here's what Pruitt should've used the money for instead:
500 Muji Hexagonal Polycarbonate Gel-Ink Ballpoint Pens 0.38MM ($875)
Every pen snob has her preferred brand, and mine is Muji. I love many of the company's writing implements, but its hexagonal polycarbonate gel-ink ball point pen in 0.38mm, which cost $1.75 a pop, are my number one. It's a gel pen, so the ink is a dark black, which I prefer to a ballpoint. If I were Mr. Pruitt, I would purchase 500 of these bad boys to distribute to my finest employees while greedily reserving at least ten for my own personal use. As of December 2017, there are 14,188 full-time EPA employees, so not everyone will get a pen, but life isn't fair.
Five Sets of Sakura Permapaque Dual-Point Markers, Assorted ($182.35)
Now that we have our basic pen needs covered, it's time to move onto markers. I've toyed around with every type of marker under the sun, but the type I keep coming back to is Permapaque. They come in tons of fun colors including metallics—and we know how much Scotty loves bling—but moreover, as their name suggests, they are opaque markers. What separates these bad boys from your average Sharpie is that they don't bleed through the back of a regular piece of paper. They also don't have that Sharpie stench, which is a pro to some folks, and a major drawback to others.
OK—$1,057.35 spent, $502.65 to go.
Ten Muji Hexagonal Six-Color Ballpoint Pens 0.7MM ($65)
I know what you're all thinking—what if Sir Pruitt needs a colored pen for his daily journaling, doodles, or other official business? I recommend Muji's six-color ballpoint pen, which goes for $6.50 a pop, and allows you to write in black, dark blue, light blue, light pink, red, or orange. It's six pens in one, and it's magnificent. OK folks, I only got $437.65 left to spend. See how fast the money flies away?
One Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Brush Pen Gift Box, Set of 48 ($102.19)
These artist pens are slender, but the nib shape resembles a paintbrush, which makes them perfect for shading in an illustration or even highlighting a report, as I imagine Mr. Pruitt sometimes does. A set of 48 goes for a mere $102.19 at Utrecht, but is pricier elsewhere. They are perfect for writing memos instructing EPA staff to say that climate change isn't settled science.
60 Pilot G-Tec-C Gel Rolling Ball Pens, Ultra Fine Point, Black Ink ($101.45)
In case anyone is dissatisfied with the black Muji pens I recommended earlier, I would stock up on some Pilot G-Tec-C Gel Rolling Ball Pens to be safe. A dozen of these great writing implements go for $20.29 on Amazon. The main difference between the Pilot G-Tec-C and Muji is that the ink in the former is more likely to bleed through the page, which some people don't mind. I kind of do mind, but I can't deny that the ink flows out of these bad boys incredibly smoothly. Only $234.01 left to spend—can you see how easy it is to spend bank on these tubular ink dispensers yet?
25 Muji Hexagonal Aluminum Ballpoint Pens 0.7MM ($187.50)
Since EPA Lord Pruitt appears to have a penchant for metal pens, I'd be remiss if I didn't include Muji's Aluminum ballpoint pens, which go for $7.50 a pop. Despite their metal exterior, these slender ballpoints are extremely lightweight and nice to write with. They're also ballpoint, which are ideal pens for doing crossword puzzles or annotating all those Washington Post exposés about Scotty's spending habits.
72 Bic Soft Feel Ballpoint Pens, Medium Point, Black Ink ($49.98)
Although I only have $46.51 left in my budget, my last suggestion will take us $3.47 over, but the extra cash is absolutely worth it. If you're looking for an ordinary writing implement—i.e. one you can buy at your local Staples—the BIC soft feel retractable ball points are the way to go. A pack of 36 goes for $24.99, which is a steal compared to my other offerings. These babies are soft, ideal for quick note-taking, writing your grocery list, or marking down which EPA employees are on your shit list.
I agree, the amount of taxpayer money Scott Pruitt spent on a mere 12 pens is reprehensible. He could've gotten a lot more amazing pens for that amount of dough.
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