Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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track the journey of lost lighters and pens
  (+13, -2)(+13, -2)
(+13, -2)
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Print a unique ID on each bic lighter or pen and prompt user to register the item on the Web. As we all know, you never get to finish your own lighter or pen, someone always steals it, or you just forget it somewhere. The next person who finds it sees the web site address on the lighter, goes there to register himself, etc With your personal login, you can then see how many people have used your lighter, how far it's gone, how long it lasted, etc The lighter company could give away prizes for "longest journey", "biggest buyer", "biggest stealer", etc.

What do you think ? This is my first submission, I can't wait for feed-back


vdh, Aug 27 2002

The inspiration, I believe http://www.wheresgeorge.com/
But this is much more interesting. I already *know* where my money goes. [DrCurry, Aug 27 2002, last modified Oct 17 2004]


       Welcome to the halfbakery, [vdh]. I see the good intentions of your idea, but who wants their 10 cent bic pen back anyway?
BinaryCookies, Aug 27 2002

       Weclome. I like it, I like it a lot. I have a fascination with things like this. Would you perhaps like to know the fantastic voyage your croissant made to get here?
watermelancholy, Aug 27 2002

       That link is "much" more interesting, Peter? Oh yes. Thrilling.
waugsqueke, Aug 28 2002

       nice idea. croissant.
po, Aug 28 2002

       Good idea. It would add only a miniscule amout to the production cost to laser-etch a barcode and a human-readable Unique Serial Number on each pen or lighter. An end to office arguments about who stole who's pen !   

8th of 7, Aug 28 2002

       Similar to this could be "wheresmyeric.com". This would track where Eric (my rubber chicken) has gone. In a recent trans-atlantic flight British Airways lost my baggage. Although it was eventually returned to me, Eric was missing from a side pocket. I am going to wage war on BA... "wheresmyeric.com" would stop all this madness - and bring back my chicken!
Jinbish, Aug 28 2002

       Hardly worth the effort for a pen that you probably stole from someone else anyway.
angel, Aug 28 2002

       If it's pens that you're looking for then you'll probably find them in the top drawer of Mr X's desk. Mr X, the human magpie and subject of a previous tale about trains, is the man who sits next to me in the office. I recently felt compelled to expose him as the owner of nearly 50 pens (red seems to be his favourite colour) and a dozen pencils.
DrBob, Aug 28 2002

       DrBob: "How to cure pen thieves".   

       Take a 12V lighter battery, a minature mercury tilt switch and a standard pyrotechnic electrical igniter (my require licence in some jurisdictions - used for launching model rockets). Assemble same into the body of a Pentel rollerball pen. Place pen on desk in invinting position. Remove paperclip which acts as "safety catch" thus arming device.   

       When Mr X picks up the pen, there is a loud crack and a bright flash. Mr X leaps backwards, dropping the pen, and cowers, whimpering and rubbing his singed fingers.   

       I can testify to the remarkable effectiveness of this form of aversion therapy. The test subject took to carrying a ruler round with him and would prod all pens at arm's length before touching for months afterwards.   

       For persistant offenders, add a small quantity of black powder to the igniter.   

       Warning: Please do not steal the pens of bitter, twisted, vengeful, posessive explosives engineers, as having your fingers blown off often offends.
8th of 7, Aug 28 2002

       In fact, the inspiration came from www.bookcrossing.com , where they encourage you to drop your old books in airports and other public places (they call it "freeing them in the wild") so that others can find them, register on the site, leave their opinion and release them again somewhere else. I did not know wheresgeorge.com, but I can imagine trying it here in Europe now that our single currency allows for wider dispersion of the bills.   

vdh, Aug 28 2002

       I'm guessing "Van Der H..."?
angel, Aug 28 2002

       8th: I just took the plastic end cap (blunt end, not the point) off one of my ballpoints, filled it about 2/3 full with india ink, then put the little cap back on. Pen thieves don't like it when stolen pens explode ink all over their clothes as soon as they start to chew on it. I don't mind when a pen gets stolen, but I do mind when coworkers use it as a chew toy and then try to put it back. I have not had a pen disappearance since.
Mr Burns, Aug 28 2002

       [thc] 8th of 7's idea is so much cooler, yours is devious but his has explosives.
kaz, Aug 28 2002

       What if I did register a pen I found? I would just say the pen is in Kalamazoo, while sitting in the office right next to the one I stole it from.
ImBack, Aug 28 2002

       Dr Peter... nae, sir, not snide and mistaken. Misunderstood perhaps. See, I would file both of these links under "who gives a fuck". Therein lies my thrill gauge.
waugsqueke, Aug 29 2002

       Based on your interest and feedback, I have gone one step further and submitted the idea to the Bic company (there must be more efficient ways, I simply used a "questions and comments" web form on their site). That was yesteday night, and I already have received a short but friendly acknowledgement that said my proposal had been transmitted to the "silly-ideas-submitted-by-total-strangers evaluation department". I'll keep you posted in case something happens
vdh, Aug 29 2002

       Yeah... that's another way of them saying: REJECTED
ImBack, Aug 30 2002

       I favor the Where's George approach - come up with a way of assigning uniquish identifiers, then give everyone permanent markers to mark their pens, lighters and bicycles.
DrCurry, Aug 30 2002

       Then we can look forward to "wheresmypermanentmarker.com".
angel, Aug 30 2002

       Hmmmm .... some way of tagging everything you own with a barcode of your DNA profile ? (But what if your identical twin steals your pen ? I can never remember if I'm supposed to be the good twin or the evil twin.... )
8th of 7, Aug 30 2002

       All it takes is one jackass (the guilty jackass, no less) to not contribute to the web site, as far as stolen pens/lighters go. Maybe hook a LoJack-type thing to a pen and track it around the world. Very expensive, but fun for the occasional special event.
polartomato, Aug 30 2002

       Where is AfroAssault when a really *useful* idea for explosives shows up?   

       I am just a bit obsessive about my own pens, really. It's the Sanford Uniball Micro or nothing for me; liquid ink is it. I've holes in the pockets of every pair of pants I own, right near the top on the rear outside of the right pocket, from where the clip rubs the fabric as I hang the pen in my pocket. I don't lose many pens, but it does make me crazy when I do. I'd feel almost vindicated if I could find out where they all go.
absterge, Aug 30 2002

       Perhaps you should get a pocket protector.
ImBack, Aug 30 2002

       ratemybicpenis.c*m I mean ratemybicpens.com   


       I could go on for hours but I won't. Such a site would only appeal to the JW Bobbit boys. And the dildo devotees.
polartomato, Aug 30 2002

       All this pen talk... I'm rapidly losing my ability to handwrite. I am so not used to having to do it. This week I've been doing a lot of note taking and I am having trouble just getting a full sentence out. My hand throbs at the end of the day.   

       I'm surprised by the popularity of this idea. Are people really that fascinated with such minutae? "Hey, I found a lighter. Let's rush home and pull up whereismybic.com and see where it's been." Dunno. This is pretty close to being as uninteresting as it gets for me.
waugsqueke, Aug 30 2002

       I think it would be oddly disturbing if lost Bic razors also ended up on the site...   

       Croissant with a helping of howdy, by the way.
Lucky_Setzer, Aug 31 2002


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