Friday, 3 June 2016

The one with the electric pencil sharpener

Compers all have wish lists. Whether they write it down or file it away in their memory palace, they all have a bunch of things they want to win. Based on no market research whatsoever, I’d wager my career wins that most of these lists are chock full of big-ticket items such as cars, holidays and anything manufactured by Apple. I’ll stick my reputation on the line too and venture that most wish lists do not contain electric pencil sharpeners.

Mine did. Well, it sort-of did. Which is to say, I’ve been after an electric pencil sharpener for some time now. So, why didn’t I just buy one? They are, after all, modestly priced. Fair point, but they are also a bit frivolous, especially in a house that’s already home to at least six bog standard pencil sharpeners. I’d forgive you for thinking I live a cosy middle class fiesta of rye bread and pickle, but the simple truth is that I find it hard to justify the purchase of ostentatious, high-falutin’ stationery.

Thankfully, along came #NationalLimerickDay. No, I’d not heard of it either, but every hashtag day presents an opportunity, and in this instance said opportunity was hosted by Rymans. The task: write a stationery-related limerick. The prize: a £20 gift card.
A mediocre limerick

As you can see, my composition was far from excellent, but given that most of the (very limited) competition either went off topic or failed to scan, it was in its own way a standout effort.

One week later, I’m standing in Rymans with gift card in hand. My initial thought was to blow it on an inkjet cartridge, but while ink might be more expensive than champagne, it is by some margin the inferior treat.

You see, winning essentials is of course fabulous, but winning fabulous things is surely fabulouser. And, in terms of modestly priced non-essentials, the electric pencil sharpener is the fabulest, if not the fabuloustest. You want a benchmark? Earlier this year I won an iPad Mini, and compared with the electric pencil sharpener, it didn’t change a single atom of my life.

Some pencils

Owning an electric pencil sharpener is a life-changing experience. It's zen in a plastic case. If you’re scoffing right now, I bet you don’t have small children who can’t yet be trusted to sharpen their own pencils, and I bet you’ve never experienced the wrist ache of the full pencil-box sharpening session. I’m through the looking glass and I recommend you join me.

What’s the smallest thing on your wishlist? Let me know in the comments below!


  1. this made me smile. I love winning those small prizes that are actually really useful to me. I have things like soap and olive oil on my wishlist. I won lots of really useful low value items when my daughter was born and I was just as happy winning weaning spoons and teething toys as i was with big wins! My front door win was also a happy moment as we desperately needed a new front door. x

    1. You won a front door?! That's so niche! - but so cool to win something extraordinary that you really need :D I might add olive oil to my wishlist too - it's even more necessary than the razor blades I'm holding out for!