Bic #2 XTRA-FUN: XTRA Lame

  BIC has managed to make a pencil that looks cool, will never break, and has a great eraser--too bad it doesn't write!

I've been going through a bit of a rut reviewing expensive and hard-to-get pencils in somber colors.  I found the cure as I was compulsively checking out the stationary section at Target...  BIC #2 XTRA Fun Pencils!  They were 8 for $1.52 on sale and came in a variety of bright colors.  I was even more optimistic when I flipped the box over to check out the nutritional information--made in France! Cheap Euro-cool pencils, what more could you want?

Well, it turns out you get what you pay for.  I opened up the box and took a sniff, hoping it would smell like cedar or croissants, cheese, and wine.  Rather disappointingly, it smelled like nothingness.  Oh well, I figured, probably just some weird hypo-allergenic French wood.  I threw a bright pink BIC into my vintage Panasonic and got a nicely centered sharp point.  I wrote one line with the cheap and cheerful pencil, and my dreams were ruined.  It felt like I was dragging a plastic stick across the page.  Equally alarming, the pencil felt like a wet noodle in my hand.  Drat!

I started scrutinizing the pencil a little bit more.  First, I noticed that the weird French wood was actually a plastic foam type material with streaks molded in to look like wood grain.  What a sneaky trick!  I was shocked at how much I could bend the pencil with just my fingertips.  They must have done some strange things to the lead recipe, because it never broke even as I bent the pencil to amazing angles.  No wonder it wrote like plastic...

One feature that I actually didn't hate about this pencil was the eraser and ferrule.  While the whole pencil is plastic feeling, the ferrule is the only part that actually looks like it.  I could live quite happily with that plastic eraser holder if the rest of the pencil was any good.  The eraser is a little small, but actually works surprising well.  

The packaging emphasizes that the pencil is break resistant.  I think they accomplished this; I never broke its lead and the whole thing will bend a mile before it breaks.  BIC has managed to make a pencil that looks cool, will never break, and has a great eraser--too bad it doesn't write!  I guess I shouldn't be surprised about a pencil on sale during the back-to-school season.  I'm sure third graders WILL appreciate the novelty of the BIC... I know I would have tried to impress my friends with the amazing bendy pencils, but alas, my priorities have changed.  I'm hoping to rehome these pencils to a deserving grade schooler, but in the mean time it's back to nice pencils in drab colors.

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