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Pentel BL407

A week or so ago I was gifted a bounty of Pentel products from Tiffany, one of our distribution reps.

Instead of hoarding them all away in my lateral file, I thought I would pay it forward to our followers and fans. The swag spans from today’s BL407 to an assortment of chalk markers and, well, other pens.

At first glance, you may think the BL407 is too much of a good thing or too flashy for you or that it was only engineered to coordinate with Robocop’s armored body, but when you get behind the driver’s seat you’ll soon realize it was made with you in mind and that it’s all that and a bag of chips with few cons.

Below, I’ve jotted a few points while using this pen.

Now the weight is something to note. Upon hoisting it onto the paper it might as well write for itself, especially considering the blend of ink and gel effortlessly flowing from the 7 millimeter ball point. Due to its comfortable heft, while writing it requires almost no pressure on your part –and isn’t that what we’re all striving for?

Let’s talk about smoothness. Much like how I felt in the western bolo tie I sported that fearful dance night at Ed White Middle, we would be hard pressed to find anything smoother in the category of economical upscale writing pens. Expect fluid to flow from every consonant to every vowel you place on every piece of paper, including the occasional Will You Go To Prom With Me note–highlighting distinct crispness on the squares you draw that will fill out the Check Yes or No section.

The overall feel of this pen may be the only con. No, I’m not talking about the physical touch as much as I am about how it makes me feel emotionally. If I’m not careful I could elevate the ownership of this pen to a level of unhealthiness in that I may not care to lend it out or even sign for a FedEx package with concern of COVID germs spreading to it.

I notice that I keep it in my top drawer in a place all by itself and locked away, far from my other favorite pens exposed openly in the pencil cup on my desk.

Additionally, it makes me feel much more accomplished than I am. With it I should be a top exec in the middle of a 3-month all-inclusive vacation signing over huge checks to tip the waitstaff on their remarkable work ethic and customer service.

That brings us to giftability. Much like the corsage I purchased but was quickly hindered from giving this pen would truly be a bountiful gesture of goodwill to anyone at work or even a significant other–as long as that significant other gives you a moment to explain why it looks like you were ignoring them for two weeks.

Although we ended up not dancing together at all and the evening climaxed with me colliding with a mob of her girl friends in the hallway close to the bathrooms as they questioned my seemingly cold behavior towards her, the opposite will be true for your fingers and the BL407 as they cupid shuffle across the paper.

Pro: Super durable, nicely weighted and smooth.

Con: Keeps my head too far in the clouds.

Pentel's Product Info: EnerGel Alloy Retractable Gel Pen offers a deluxe premium metal barrel and an ideal blend of liquid and gel for the best of both inks. The stainless steel tip delivers the ultimate writing experience as rich liquid, gel ink glides across paper. Vivid, acid-free, super-smooth ink dries quickly without smearing or blotting and is great for left-handed writers. Sleek, balanced alloy barrel is ideal for maximum writing performance. The distinctive, textured grip area provides extended comfort while you write. Gel pen is retractable to protect pockets and purses and refillable with Pentel LR7 metal-tip refill or any size/color EnerGel refill.

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If you haven't been acquainted by the hair-singeing aroma that gel hand sanitizer expels, then you quite possibly may be living on another planet. Lately, we have all been exposed to hand sanitizer whether it's on our own hands or the hands of someone next to us due to this worldwide coronavirus disease, known as COVID-19.

Pre-COVID sanitizer seemed to smell less like a rotting bag of potato skins and more like clean, tamed alcohol.

Right? We can't be the only ones to notice.

So, the question that's on many of our minds is this–why does hand sanitizer smell so badly now?

Well–we know why, and we'll share some information that shaped the smelly hand sanitizer landscape we have come to know.

Hand Sanitizer Shortage

Clinician testing for COVID - Image provided by Darko Stojanovic

By late February/early March all 50 states had reported cases of COVID-19, including Alabama. President Trump declared a national emergency, funding was given to boost the economy, and hospitals and clinics needed to remain clean and sterilized to fend off the novel coronavirus.

This quickly urged national brands like Purell and Germ-X to remove their products from public shelves and pass them onto healthcare workers and others on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight.

This great and necessary cause however created a great problem for individuals as well as essential businesses who now lacked the necessary cleaning supplies (hand sanitizer among the top) to remain open, having now to abide by new sanitization policies and mandates. This huge hand sanitizer shortage prompted the FDA and WHO to authorize the manufacturing of hand sanitizer by unregistered pharmaceutical compounders as long as they adhere to their strict formula requirements.

Why Does Hand Sanitizer Stink?

It's available now–but, why does hand sanitizer stink? It seemed to not smell this bad before, so who mixed the fish oil into the batch?

Who even thought about hand sanitizer before 2020? Image by Luisella Planeta Leoni

We were asking ourselves similar questions after smelling a batch of liquid hand sanitizer a few months back as we acquired a few 55-gallon drums of hand sanitizer to be able to provide protection to our customers (who are comprised predominantly of businesses) during the brink of the U.S. 2019 coronavirus pandemic.

Turns out, the FDA formula allowed for Isopropyl Alcohol, as well as Ethyl Alcohol (Ethanol). Isopropyl Alcohol, as it happens, is the kind of alcohol that smells more clean and less like a burning meat heap. Ethanol is often made from organic material such as corn, thus the abrasively potent smell. What makes matters even stinkier is that the filtration process from some of these "popup hand sanitizer manufacturers" is lacking the quality control their big brother brands have.

WHO Recommended Hand Sanitizer Formula

What isn't in the FDA's precise formulas is the inclusion of additives such as fragrances, due to possibly lowering effectiveness as well as increasing risk of ingestion from children.

Here is the simple hand sanitizer formula from WHO:

98% Isopropyl or 99.8% Ethyl Alcohol
3% Hydrogen peroxide
98% Glycerol
Sterile distilled or boiled cold water

Hand Sanitizer Smells Bad

In summary, yes the non-registered formula for hand sanitizer smells bad, BUT the effectiveness is what matters during critical times such as these.

Additionally, soap and water are the best first resort to cleaning hands, so keep that in mind.

Finally, since we are deep into this long COVID season, more manufacturers are taking the time to become registered with the FDA and provide better smelling products on the market such as this one.

Thanks for reading, neighbor!

Find us on Facebook and Instagram, as well as Twitter, where no social distancing is required. Introduce yourself on there, and let us know your favorite hand sanitizer scent you've come across so far.

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Nearly every business and home in the world is fighting a virtually invisible war against germs. The recent coronavirus pandemic has companies grasping for solutions to keep their doors open, while those at home try to fend off sickening and sometimes deadly germs brought in from the outside world.

We have gotten calls from customers in need of sanitizing options in order for them to keep their business from shutting down. Many traditional options are simply not available as brands have been committing their products to the frontline healthcare workers and other similar essential businesses. Household names like Lysol and Purell are nearly impossible to come by.

Thankfully, there are other methods to sanitize just as well.

Using only household cleaners you can keep your entryways (as well as other hard surfaces) sanitized and wage war with Covid-19.

Prior to sanitizing, be sure to read over and follow the guidelines set by the CDC and FDA. Important critical information and updates that can help you figure out what to use and not use can be found on their sites.

Secondly, put on gloves to keep your hands as germ-free as possible. Gloves can act as a barrier to viruses and other infecting germs living on hard or soft surfaces. However, be mindful not to touch your face while you have them on. Just because you're wearing gloves doesn't mean germs aren't collecting on them–they're just creating that barrier!

Third, wash the area with soap and water as to clean dirt and other debris. Wipe it down with paper towels to make things dry for the following steps.

Fouth, find liquid (gel-based will not work as well) hand sanitizer with at least 70 percent alcohol per volume. (If you're having trouble finding some, click here to see if we have any available.)

Fifth, use a spray bottle you have around the house to dispense the hand sanitizer into. This bottle should be cleaned out and free of other liquids. We found a Windex spray bottle in the bathroom and poured the rest of the contents into other containers temporarily.

Sixth, spray down hard surfaces such as doorknobs and door pull and push bars–you know, the areas where everyone touches to get in and out. Resist your urge to wipe it dry! Sanitizers need to stay on the surface in order to do their job. Never dry!

Finally, check to make sure all of the surface has been covered, dispose of your gloves, and wash your hands thoroughly.

Get creative and stay healthy! We're here to support you, neighbor.

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