Friday, November 12, 2010

A Dearth of Testosterone in Stationery Stores

Over the past few years, I've visited stationery stores whenever I would come upon them.  I would almost always walk out of them empty handed.  What has been most prohibitive in my potential purchases is that cards and stationery in general are always targeting women. I suppose that a woman is more likely to send a thank you note or birthday card to someone, but surely there are other men out there who want to send a greeting card not covered in glitter to someone for the holidays, or any time for that matter.  Every stationery store within reasonable reach of me or that I might happen to walk/drive by has been dominated by cards with pom-poms, glitter and bright feminine colors.
Google Image Search produced this Papyrus card, which though nice, would not be sent from a man (and maybe some women don't like them either).

What makes it even harder is that so many stores are chock-full of jewelry, soaps and other craft items, which only target women. All of the Papyrus stores that I know of in the Chicago are this way, and there's even a store in Naperville called Papier Girl.  That alone could deter a potential customer, and it nearly deterred me, because I felt like I was about to enter a Victoria's Secret.

Next, the stationery is expensive, and I am willing to buy some things after saving up for a while, but sometimes paying $20 for 10 cards is not something I want to do. I try to support the few companies that I feel do a good job, so on occasion I will suck it up and just spend the money.

Crane & Co. Paper has really been the only store that has dependably had a few stationery sets that are not specifically female-oriented. Usually I just buy plain cards before they are used by soon-to-be-married couples for whatever purpose they choose. These are usually the best, since they are plain and allow me to do with them as I please.  When I last visited New York, I filled up on plain stationery, for which there were stores all over the place! Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places in the Chicago suburbs, but the only leads I've really been able to find was listed on the Noodler's Ink website for area, but they're a bit far away from where I live in Aurora. I will make the trip to Algonquin sometime I'm sure, but I really can't know exactly when (unless it is today!)

This all brings me to wonder exactly when the demise of stationery and pen began? I know I'm younger than many enthusiasts out there, but it is sometimes disappointing to think that at one time every department store had an entire section of the store dedicated to fountain pens and stationery.  I am thankful for the internet and the online stores that continue to continue to display passion for this hobby, which sometimes feels like more than that. Who knows?  Vintage is starting to become a popular trend, so maybe, just maybe, people will write letters once more and everything will become more accessible.

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