Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Big Bang. For your buck.

Economies crumble. Mortgages default. Prices rise. Incomes stagnate. Jobs disappear. Inflation... inflates.

But there are a few items in this crazy world that seem to have remained untouched by the maelstrom of uncertainty that's rife in these turbulent times.

It's time to give these functional, economical and highly underrated items a round of applause. Inflation? Ha! Scarcity? No freaking way! These little pieces of affordable heaven can be purchased in abundance for almost nothing, and most people find occasion to use at least one of these treasures every single day.

Let's start with paper clips. I'd venture to guess that one box of paper clips could sustain a normal person's paper clipping needs for years, if not decades. And the cool part about paper clips is that they can be used over and over again. I can't remember ever hearing anyone saying, "My lord. Look at the obviously used condition of this paper clip."

And let's not forget staples; another stalwart, unsung desk necessity that does so much and expects so little in return. Expects nothing, actually, because it's a staple.

One of these little boxes of metal bits contains, oh, I don't know, a bajillion staples. Enough to have a party with four to seven people, during which everyone does nothing but staple things to other things, and still there would most likely be staples to spare.

And they're so cheap. Every staple probably costs a fraction of a fraction of a cent. Most notable in their absence, forget a staple and someone's bound to say, "Who in the heck forgot to staple these important papers together? Heads will roll!!"

And don't even get me started about the wonders of rubber bands. The rubbery nature, the benign function coupled with the potential to thwap unsuspecting victims in a game of childish horseplay.
Oh, but the function's not completely benign. Need a bunch of something wrapped together? Want to keep pesky whisps of hair out of your eyes? Compelled to remind yourself to not swear, smoke or be negative? One simple rubber band around the wrist snapped at a moment of craving may be just what the doctor ordered. Best of all, a crap-ton of rubber bands costs almost nothing.

Let's stray away from office briefly and head into the kitchen, shall we?
Let's make a pot of coffee. What? We need a bit of paper so that our grounds stay where they should? In our world of abundant economy, the coffee filter ranks right near the top.

For just a couple bucks, you can buy enough coffee filters to keep you in the brew for months and months. And even if these bits of filtering wonder experienced a price increase of 20 percent, no one would really notice.

Coffee filters are a great deal, and truth be told, we'd be fools to not pony up the extra ching in order to guarantee the quality of our morning beverage. So convenient, so affordable, so necessary.

There are many other cheap items we take for granted. Toothpicks spring to mind. As does Scotch tape, to say nothing of masking and duct.

Unlike global warming, economic distress, job instability and all the other anxiety-producing down-sides that define our madcap world, there are many cheap, simple, stable things that provide an oddly palliative comfort.

Like a staple or a paper clip or a rubber band or a coffee filter. Or a toothpick. Or tape. Or a q-tip. Or shoe laces. Or a pack of zucchini seeds...

The list goes on and on.

1 comment:

  1. Ah yes, Mary - there is bliss in the mundane. It's all around us - the wonder and joy in recognizing that it was here all along! Thanks!