Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Tonight, we turn our pen review skills toward Genome Quebec's entry into the competitive field of free novelty pens.

Genome Quebec is the regional franchise of the much larger Genome Canada research organization.  Genome Canada, a non-profit organization supported by public and private money, is pretty much the Canadian version of our National Human Genome Research Institute except they devote a much larger portion of their budget to the genetic engineering of the perfect maple syrup.  So what happens when Canadian brains and tax dollars turn to creating the perfect give away?

The Genome Quebec pen is not just a pen.  The top hides a blue highlighter.  The two in one utility is of this item is a nice, frugal touch but it does cause some problems with functionally .  The pen has the curved contour to fit comfortably in your hand when you are writing but flip that puppy around to use the highlighter and suddenly you have square peg/round hole syndrome.  Additionally, the highlighter is positioned where the button for extending the pen tip should be.  If you don't put the plastic cap back on (or more likely you lose the cap), you find your self with a blue thumb the first time you instinctively try to click this pen.  As a result, the button for extending the pen tip got moved down the body of the pen to the curve that typically rests in the crux of your hand.  If you are planning on doing any marathon scribing, this is not the pen for you as that cheap little grey piece of plastic will start to chafe.

Speaking of cheap, the overall quality of the pen's construction is not high.  It is your typical pen exoskeleton.  The kind that if screw the top and the bottom of the pen together one turn to far, you get a Liberty Bell crack up the side of the pen.  This pen is not made for endurance.  A misplaced step by a ballerina will crush this pen into more pieces than can be found in a Reese's factory.

Final topic to cover is the color because of the symbolic meaning it has.  This "Canadian" pen passes on the classic red and white color scheme of maple leaf flag for the baby blue of the Quebec fleurs-de-lis.  Sure, this may make sense given this is Genome Quebec pen.  But these seditious separatists are now using their pens to passive aggressively state their belief that French Canadians deserve a homeland.

In the end, this pen is not that flattering for the Genome Quebec group.  Like all Canadians, they will try really, really hard to provide everything that you need.  They will conduct genetics studies with their Canadian pedigrees.  They will attempt find drugs for their Canadian diseases (Maple Syrup Urine Disease).  In fact, they will go over the top to show that, yes, our cute little neighbors to the north how to use both a centrifuge and a PCR machine.  Bless their little hearts.  But in end, they just can't match up with the utilitarian functionality, quality, and productivity of the American scientific industrial machine.  Also, French Canadians can not be trusted.  They will sabotage your experiment in a second if it means they can look better in the eyes of the boss.

Free Pen Rating - 5.7*

* Rating includes the standard Canadian bonus point that all Americans give when considering all things Canadian.  They are just so cute.  Like Ewoks.  But it loses 0.5 points for being French Canadians.

This blog post is sponsored by Holden and Charles Corporation.

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