August 8, 2016
I've always loved Sharpies, namely, the ultra-fine and fine point types. On some surfaces, the stuff you write/mark needs to be allowed to dry for a fairly short amount of time or else you can smear it and then not be able to undo the smeared/messed up part, but on some surfaces it's set right away. Either way, once it's set, it stays that way. I have stuff I wrote I've written on with a Sharpie many years, even decades ago, that's still good as new or maybe only with a little wear. Of course, I'm not talking about just writing on paper, in which case you'd obviously expect that. But I'm talking about surfaces such as rubber or certain types of plastic that you can't or can't easily or clearly write on with "normal" pens at all: those were easy to use a Sharpie on and what I wrote or drew on those surfaces stays there for as long as I'd ever need (probably until after I die, after decades of being very useful and reliable!).
I also haven't had any of these leak on me, as I've had many normal ink pens do over the years, sometimes ruining something like a shirt I liked a lot. No Sharpie has ever done that to me, though, I'm happy to say! I've also packed these in suitcases during not only more local, but also during long international flights, when the flying altitude is quite high and at least sometimes, I assume the baggage compartments were not pressurized. Yet, they've always survived well, never rupturing or even leaking. Maybe I've just been lucky, but if that's the case, then I've been lucky countless times and feel very safe with Sharpie products, as well as feeling like if any ink pen is going to write on a surface (without being a "paint" type pen that's much more expensive and usually unnecessary), then these will do the job, and last long enough to make me feel like I got my money's worth.
Lastly, it's worth noting that in this case, "name brand" status can really make a difference, and for very, very little money (spending a few more cents for Sharpies than a budget brand isn't like buying a Rolex!). It might be easy to forget about this if you're looking for a bargain on a minor item like markers, so I thought this worth mentioning here, even though I've never mentioned this factor in any previous review of anything else. Maybe it's partially because you can have the best name-brand item for such little investment when you're talking about markers. But mostly, it's because the Sharpie is so well-known, and for so many decades, in many professions as being THE "professional" marker (the only one, really), one that any/every TRUE pro in that given profession uses without exception. In fact, people in my past line of work never asked for a marker. No matter what company or client was involved, no matter where we were on a cross-country tour (at least in the USA, but maybe also elsewhere: I'm just not qualified to say for sure what the case is in other countries), everyone always just said, "Hey, do you have a Sharpie?" or "I need a Sharpie, please." Sharpie was equivalent to the word "marker," but was used instead as the most natural, normal thing to say instead of marker, which just goes to show how much it's the accepted standard that, when violated, stands out. That is, if someone asks for a Sharpie (meaning, marker), and you hand them something else, they WILL notice that it's not the normal, high-quality marker they expected.
Sharpies are the gold standard in multiple business worlds, I know, but the one I happened to work in had me doing production and/or tour management within various popular music genres (e.g., various types of "rock," pop, etc.). Working in various roles in the music business, many times I found myself playing roles in which I would need to be able to provide a marker to an artist (musician) so they could use it give their autograph to a fan on a very wide variety of potential surfaces that they wanted signed. I always had the production case well-stocked with Sharpies (and if I hadn't, anyone else stocking it would have inevitably and only used Sharpies), not only due to their ability to do the job and do so reliably no matter what odd things fans wanted signed, and no matter what varied surfaces the production crew might need to write upon, but also, to be honest even though it's unpopular to admit you do something due to wanting to present a certain "image," because it was the ONLY pen that a true "pro" would use.
Whether it was so that fans would know they were dealing with true pros ("fine point" are the standard for autographs, or marking on things like boxes, btw), or so that our business associates such as the local production companies (if I was touring) or the touring crew (if I was doing local production) would know they were dealing with the highest caliber on our end as well. Like anyone taking their career and careers of those they work with, as well as their organization's success seriously, I'm sure you want to be seen as a pro for various reasons, including letting those you do business with, your customers/clients, those who you buy from, etc. feel confident that in working with you, they're working with true pros at the top of their game, providing the best products or services available in your field. It instills confidence on others' part when they see you using the gold standard tools, and in the case of permanent markers, that happens to be Sharpies. Using any other brand just doesn't say "I'm a pro" like a Sharpie does. And worse, it can make it seem like you're a "wannabe," someone who's just very new in your field and unaware of how things work, or possibly even a failure, who cares more for saving just a piddly few bucks or cents than for providing the best quality available of whatever you provide. It's not even about the pens when it comes to this issue, of course. But the impression you give off about yourself can be affected by something that's seemingly (but not really) so insignificant as the brand of marker you use. That's not true about what paper brand of staples or paper you use, imo. I'm not saying every single thing matters like this. But for whatever reason, Sharpies have long been the default marker that pros use, possibly in your field as well. And your overall presentation of yourself and your business to any who see that pen, even if you're not actually using it, can translate into more than enough additional dollars you make as a result of being seen as a reliable pro as you could possibly save buying any other brand, as odd as that seems hearing myself write these words (normally, I don't think this way, and I wouldn't say this about most stuff I'd use in my business activities).
But it's also the case that, in my experience (and I have occasionally used other brands of markers that other people gave me to use), Sharpies are as good as or better than any other marker I've ever used. As should be the case, "image" doesn't have to matter here: if you just want the best, most reliable permanent marker out there, you'd get a Sharpie anyway.
And btw, no, I do not have ANY investments in the Sharpie company, if that's what they're called, or any other possible personal benefit in recommending these pens!