Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Snake Protection

Recently I finally posted some brickbats and bouquets about online retailers. Well, another parcel just arrived from overseas, and the story goes something like this…

For quite a while I have wanted to get some Koh-i-noor 0.5 and 0.7mm leads. It’s not too hard to find their 2mm leads for clutch pencils, but their thin leads seem conspicuously absent from the internet. Recently I found an online retailer that listed them and shipped internationally, so I went to order some, despite the rather high minimum shipping fee they charged. However, when I got to the checkout stage on the website, it started putting “Or code XXXX” next to my Koh-i-noor leads so I started to worry they might be going to substitute some other range of leads. I suspended my order, and emailed customer services. No problem they told me, they had checked, the Koh-i-noors are being deleted, but they are still in stock, so order away. I did, and I also noted in the comments section on the order form that they must be Koh-i-noor leads, no substitutes. A little later I received an email confirming my order was ready to ship if I would approve the shipping fee. I said sure, but please double check they are Koh-i-noor brand leads… so who wants to bet that I received Koh-i-noor leads?

Surely it’s not supposed to be this hard. Down in the shipping department it must be something like, “Hey John, what does this word Koh-i-noor mean?”, “Oh, no problem Pete, it’s just an alternative spelling of Rotring and Pentel, so when he says he wants ‘Koh-i-noor, no substitutes’, he means he wants a mixture of Rotring and Pentel.”


Well at least they agreed to credit me for the price of the leads and call it quits. Still it does leave me out of pocket quite a bit. But hey, I like to find something positive wherever I can. Now, of all things, these guys were a US forestry supplies company! Yes, that’s right, forestry supplies. But they had a small selection of pencils, draughting supplies, ‘write in the rain’ paper, etc, including Koh-i-noor leads. Obviously for forest supervisors and managers. So, when I opened up my parcel, they had included a one page flyer on their range of Snake Protection. SNAKE PROTECTION!!!! FANTASTIC!

Talk about trying to get some add-on sales. I buy a pencil and they try and sell me snake proof clothing! Now we don’t have snakes here in New Zealand, so I’m not really up with the play when it comes to snakeproof chaps and gaiters, snake boots and snake handling tools. But I am now! ‘Rattlers’ Snake-Bite-Proof Chaps or ‘Whitewater Outdoors’ Superfabric Snake Gaiters, guaranteed flexible, breathable and lightweight - who even knew this stuff existed! Might just have to get me a pair, just in case like.

And then of course, the box was filled up with those spongy plastic foam “peanuts”, and there was this little brochure. “This package contains Bio-Pak Packing Pellets”. They are “…derived from starch and other bio-degradable ingredients which are harmless to the environment and dissolve when exposed to water or rain. They can even be composted…try it yourself, drop a bio-pak pellet in water and watch it disappear”. I was thinking, hey, a little salt, some sauce, a bottle of beer, might not be a bad snack, a new way of environmental recycling...until I read the final line, “CAUTION – Packing pellets can be harmful or fatal if swallowed”. But maybe they mean just a choking hazard?

Back to the problem at hand, anyone know how or where to get Koh-i-noor thin leads?


Unknown said...

I'll keep an eye out for them

Anonymous said...

lol thats funny

Matthew R said...

Did you ever get any Koh-i-noor leads? Are you interested in any specific hardnesses? If I were able to get some F hardness, for example, would you want them?

I will also say that I've had really good service from that company buying some fairly oddball stuff that isn't widely available. Nothing pencil related, though. One secret to getting a catalog is to make up a company name and job title and just use your home address. I've done it...a few times.

Kiwi-d said...

Hello Matthew R - no, have still not managed to get any Koh-I-Noor leads. My preference is 0.5mm HB grade, so if you ever see a few tubes then yes, I'm definitely interested.