Friday, July 18, 2008

Staples Harbors Keychoppers (Film at 11)

Well, perhaps not that dramatic, but what do you think of this line of accessories in Staples' "M" product line? I'm unable to link directly to the product page, but go to the "Business Accessories" page and click on the objects floating in their formaldehyde jars.

They're faux typewriter keys, obviously, and I've seen them in my own local store when I'm in buying ribbon. What's worse, I want them despite having zero need for any of them. Maybe the binder clips, but even that's a stretch. And then by wanting them, I suddenly feel like a placard-waving PETA protester having lunch at Burger King. It's just so... wrong.

(I still want 'em.)


Olivander said...

On the one hand, maybe this is the start of the faux-key (or--dare I say?--"typfaux"?) flood on the market that will ultimately devalue real keys.

On the other hand, maybe this will only further encourage typewriter poachers that there's an even wider market for their ill-gotten crafts (I can't bring myself to call them "goods").

Once upon a time, I would have been tempted by them myself. But seeing so many dismembered remains of murdered typewriters on eBay has me feeling slightly nauseous any time I see such a thing, real or not.

Anonymous said...

I did want them, too. Not any more. When I see that crap, it makes me feel like a vegetarian at a Texas-style BBQ, a spectator at a baby seal hunt, an early Christian before the lions. . .mostly it just makes me angry.

mpclemens said...

Yes, I wasn't trying to glorify the chopping, and it's disheartening to see posts on Craigslist saying "will even take an old typewriter off your hands for the keys!" (just seen this morning, locally.) I can't deny that there's a bit of perverse appeal in them, though. It's not ticky-tacky jewelry, but mildly-tacky magnets, clips, and pushpins.

Strikethru said...

You know, if it's not actual typewriter keys, it doesn't bother me. Faux fur.

Duffy Moon said...

I'm with Strikethru on this one. I see it like the difference between an ivory carving and one made from that weird "ivory nut palm" that looks just like ivory (well, almost) but is a plant.

Or even (this is a stretch, I know) my daughter playing with a plush seal toy rather than having to go out and club one of her own.

mpclemens said...

My (irrational, unfounded) fear is that this will give 'choppers new ideas. Any idiot with a hot-glue gun could make those magnets out of any keys, not just the glass-topped kind.

pdlagasse said...

Yeah, I think this is going to inspire some copycats who think they can make a quick buck by chopping up TWs instead of taking the time to design and make their own keys.

Perhaps there's a niche market for people who could fabricate replacement keys for typewriters that have suffered that fate.

We could establish a Typewriter Rescue Network for maimed typewriters. I was kidding when I started writing that sentence, but now I'm not so sure it isn't something we could do together!

Sotto Voce

mpclemens said...

As you might imagine, keys don't generally remove cleanly from a typewriter, especially the favored glass-top models, where the base of the key is attached to the lever running back through to the type bars. To remove a key usually requires some heavy cutters and muscle power, leaving twisted stems of metal where the tops had been clipped. Restoration would require replacing the bar up to the first joint, which would likely mean fabricating up ones or salvaging from another machine.

It's surprisingly grisly, actually. The earlier comment about clubbing seals is apt.