Saturday, February 01, 2014

2014 Starts With a Rip-Off?

In mid January an auction for a Pilot pen & mechanical pencil set on my local online auction site piqued my interest. The details of the set were minimal and I was a bit suspicious about it all, but I thought I would put in the minimum bid and leave it at that. If I lost then no drama, and if I won and it was a second hand scratched Pilot lemon then it would have only cost me the equivalent of US $10.19 including postage. Well, I won the auction and in due course my Pilot pen & pencil set arrived.

Upon opening the parcel the Pilot hard case had a fair bit of edge wear and tear, so my hopes were not good. I opened the case, to reveal an annoying lemon set. I say annoying because as you can see the case is a Pilot case, but the pen and pencil were unbranded, not Pilots. Clearly I had been trumped and taken for sucker.

After a few seconds my annoyance and disappointment subsided and said to myself just calm down, relax, be cool. I had a good shot at returning them and getting my money back. Anyway, may as well investigate the lemons and see how bad they are.

Firstly I said before the pen and mechanical pencil were themselves unbranded. That's not strictly correct. Around the centre band of each is printed in black the word KICPA. KICPA? Never heard of that brand. Also it wasn't engraved or anything, rather printed on. A bit strange really. So, I googled KICPA pens and pencils and got next to nothing, except links to a couple of old eBay auctions, for pen and pencil sets with KICPA printed on them, in Pilot cases! So, maybe there was a little more to this than first thought.
Right, time to start pulling things apart to have a look at the entrails.
Hmmm... definitely not an el-cheapo mechanical pencil insert mechanism.
There's a lead clearance needle on the eraser. Again, not the mark of a cheap generic set.
Things are even clearer with the ballpoint pen. It again has a good quality insert mechanism, and a Pilot brand R-3 refill.
So, despite my initial reaction, this is obviously a genuine Pilot pen and mechanical pencil set. What then is this KICPA? First thought is this set is part of Pilots corporate gift programme and KICPA are a company who have bought them as gifts. Back to googling KICPA.
Ahhhh.... KICPA... The Korean Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Pen and pencil users! Well, that's my best guess anyway.

The mechanical pencil is 0.5mm push top ratchet mechanism. As you can see, the metal body is a gold colour with a pattern of long rectangularish flat sections. There's probably a name for that sort of pattern but I don't know what it is. Please enlighten me if you do happen to know.

The set is in very good condition, basically "as new" despite the condition of the case. Man, those Pilot cases. They really are spring loaded. You could lose a finger closing them.

There is a reasonably large community of Korean immigrants down here, so I can only assume a KICPA member has emigrated and tired of his/her set.

Right then, moving on. Whilst browsing my Korean backgrounds I came across this.

Hmmmm, Little Miss Bo-Peep Korea and her sheep and a "Beat This Caption"? Hey, are they poking fun at us down here? I used to get a decent number of hits from Korea... translation please... whats it say?