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Top Secret Ballpoint

Theft deterrent ink pen
  (+2, -1)
(+2, -1)
  [vote for,
against]

The problem: Co-workers constantly making off with the ink pens at my service counter.

My solution: An ink pen that only works for me and my customers.

I work in a newspaper office for an ISP owned by the newspaper. As such my desk and service counter are right between the newsroom and the advertising department, and I share counter space with them. I frequently have customers come in to make payments, start/stop service, ask for help, etc. And every time I need to write something my pen cup is empty. No matter how many ballpoints I stock and hide, they're gone.

I'm thinking of a clicky-top ballpoint that in it's "normal" state appears to be out of ink. When the top is clicked, the barrel has to then be rotated and another ink cartridge is exposed, allowing the pen to be used normally.

The movement should be very simple, so that it can be done surreptitiously, without my co-workers finding the trick. When they pick one up to jot a note in their ledger book, the pen will appear out of ink, and I get to keep it.

The cartridges will be replaceable to cut down on waste. Any standard replacement should be usable.

Noexit, May 15 2008

I share your pain pen_20pals
[po, May 15 2008]

[link]






       well [+] for sneaky, but [-] for the fact that now you're going to lose a more expensive set of pens to people who won't even keep them on their desks for you to thief them back.
FlyingToaster, May 15 2008
  

       The solution is to move towards a state of biroquilibrium. Be patient, and continue to furnish pens to all and sundry. Eventually, a point will be reached where enough people have enough pens that they are as likely to leave one of their pens behind as they are to steal one of yours.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 15 2008
  

       Just attach chains to your pens but not the little ones they use at the bank. Use the kind you could tow a car with. You have a point to prove here. May as well have some fun with it.
bneal27, May 16 2008
  

       By the way, if I worked with you, I would go out of my way to steal your pens, even if I had plenty on my own desk. You know....for fun.
bneal27, May 16 2008
  

       MB, I like your idea for biroquilibrium, and in fact what I normally do is sigh, walk back to the supply closet and grab another handful. As yet I've yet to attain that inky nirvana.
Noexit, May 16 2008
  

       //You have a point to prove here. May as well have some fun with it.//   

       I do have the point to prove, which is why I want to put out non-functioning pens to frustrate my co-workers. Eventually they'll learn that my pens never work. And as they're too inconsiderate to return pens they've used, they're also too lazy to dispose of an empty one, which also address FlyingToasters concern about losing a more expensive device.
Noexit, May 16 2008
  
      
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