Pencils goeth

August 6th, 2007 · 43 comments

This note comes to us from an archaeological dig in the U.K. (Roman Silchester, to be precise), where our submitter says the planning team was quite worried about the writing instruments going the way of Ancient Rome.

PLANNING AMNESTY Missing: 33 Pencils, 39 Erasers. Search your pockets, search your tent, search your conscience

FILED UNDER: stealing · U.K.

43 responses so far ↓

  • #1   Lisa R.

    I am NUMBER ONE!

    Aug 6, 2007 at 1:15 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #2   Lisa R.

    Haha at stealing pencils.

    Aug 6, 2007 at 1:16 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #3   Lisa R.

    ..if I saw this sign, I’d make a point of stealing extra pens and pencils.

    Aug 6, 2007 at 1:17 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #4   Nattie

    Heee and also heeeeee. Sounds a bit like a movie ad/tagline….”this summer, search your pockets, search your tents….. and search your conscience”.

    Aug 6, 2007 at 2:28 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #5   yucca

    really funny blog!

    i’ve got a note for you, but infortunately no picture:

    once i got back to my flat to find, in the kitchen’s sink, a pot that i had washed that morning, with inside the pot (inside the sink) a note saying: “Not clean. Wash it!”


    Aug 6, 2007 at 3:24 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #6   feetnik

    This may be my favorite thus far.

    Aug 6, 2007 at 4:09 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #7   Andy

    Well, they’re only planning on amnesty. If I was guaranteed amnesty, then I’d search my conscience.

    Why do I imagine that there’s this pegboard with 33 pencil-shaped outlines on it?

    That dig has probably screeched to a halt, while they ask for more grant money for pencils. Bastards.

    Aug 6, 2007 at 4:19 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #8   Rie

    I love the note-writer’s handwriting! How lovely !

    Aug 6, 2007 at 4:27 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #9   pry

    archaeologists should tape a big plastic spoon to the end of the pens. seems to work for gas stations.

    Aug 6, 2007 at 5:16 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #10   Strideo

    I love the search your conscience part at the end. It’s just enough fo take it over the top.

    Aug 6, 2007 at 5:53 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #11   BoggyWoggy

    Hey, “pry” (number 9). They could attach those long, coiled, plastic-coated wires to their pencils, so no one could rip them off! Then, if someone is down recording data in a deeply-dug hole and another guy was looking for that person, just follow the coiled wire!

    Aug 6, 2007 at 8:04 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #12   will

    This is the rare note that actually could be effective.

    Aug 6, 2007 at 8:07 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #13   Vampira

    Effective in encouraging pencil theft maybe…

    Aug 6, 2007 at 8:18 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #14   Heather

    The “Search your conscience” really gives this one a metaphysical feel, no?

    Aug 6, 2007 at 8:48 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #15   T-Bone

    “Boss, I must speak to you,” Colin said as he stood at attention before the Digging Boss.

    “Yes? What is it, Smith-Withers?”

    “Sir, I’m here to apologize. I looked in my tent and saw I had twenty pencils and three erasers stashed away beneath my cot. I realize these items do belong to Her Majesty the Queen’s Roman Digging Commission . Please sir, forgive me for my oversight.”

    Boss removed the pipe from his lips and leaned back in his chair, saying:

    “Hmph! Well, Smith-Withers, it’s a damned shame… a damned shame.”

    “Sir, if there’s anything I can do to make up for my oversight–”

    “No, Smith-Withers,” said the Digging Boss, “The damage has already been done. See to it you don’t do it again.” He paused and looked at the pale young man before him. “That will be all.”

    “Thank you sir,” Colin said, trembling with fear and relief.

    Aug 6, 2007 at 9:09 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #16   D_luv


    You da man! LOL

    This note is beyond ridiculous.. I guess whoever wrote it has been using their archeological cataloguing and inventory powers for evil — who counts pencils and erasers?!??!

    Aug 6, 2007 at 9:43 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #17   Nigel

    33 broken pencils on the way!

    Aug 6, 2007 at 10:18 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #18   The Queen of Passive Aggressiveness

    We need some juicier notes.

    Lately the passive aggressiveness has needed more… how could I say it… Cow bell?

    Let’s spark some more comment wars, please.

    Aug 6, 2007 at 11:07 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #19   DUH

    Good suggestion, Nigel! If they just break 33 of the pencils in their inventory in half and sharpen the ends, they’ll be right back at the original number of pencils!! Genius!

    Aug 6, 2007 at 11:10 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #20   will

    @Duh – You should write a book called “How to Double ….No Quadruple, your Pencil Riches.”

    Not really, I just like to use the term riches.

    Aug 6, 2007 at 11:14 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #21   jules

    Okay. I read today an article of a woman in Germany who had a pencil removed from her head that had been stuck there for 55 years. Eeewwww.

    Anyhoo, if a pencil can hang around intact in someone’s head for that long, maybe someone is burying the missing pencils at the dig for future generations to find. Can you imagine the excitement of a geologist in the year 3014 finding a genuine Ticonderoga #2, actually used by a geologist in 2007, in near-mint condition despite being buried for 1007 years?

    Aug 6, 2007 at 11:38 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #22   April

    I would like to know who is paying for someone to keep track of the pencils and erasers with that kind of precision. I imagine it’s the government, but that’s just an educated guess.

    Wouldn’t it just be cheaper on the part of the employer to pay someone to go to the store once a week and buy more pencils and erasers? And if this is a non-paying position (ie volunteers) then that means someone CHOOSES to keep the pencil/eraser supply count. That poor, sad person – maybe they could dig them up a life.

    Aug 6, 2007 at 11:59 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #23   jules

    And another thought–why are there more erasers missing than pencils? Are people using the erasers on their own personal, private pencils? I know I hate it when I run out of eraser before I have run out of pencil! AND, if so many erasers are missing, does that mean there are that many mistakes being made that need to be erased? Yeah, I think you’re right, April. Sounds like a gubmint job .

    Oh, I’m just not going to sleep very well tonight.

    Aug 6, 2007 at 12:08 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #24   lizzie

    I join the legions od fans that read only for the comments…

    T-Bone, you made my day.

    Aug 6, 2007 at 1:15 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #25   mere

    jules: i was also curious about the eraser/pencil ratio. perhaps these are those erasers that you buy in bulk to put on top of your existing eraser. MAYBE it’s like the hot dog/hot dog bun syndrome, whereas you can buy a box of 24 pencils, however, you may buy a bag of 30 erasers….
    ouch, i’m thinking too hard

    Aug 6, 2007 at 2:04 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #26   Writer, Rejected

    I guess on a dig there’s no natural place to post your passive-aggressive barf, so you have to construct a little sign with wood, rubber, and red and white striped tape. Weighing pencils and erasers against amnesty? I say, check your own consciences. You can go to a K-mart in any country and buy cheap pencils that were made by exploitated labor. Leave the hard-working, potentially pencil hording archaeologists alone. I also thought that perhaps one of them made a pencil/eraser burial for posterity’s sake, or just to piss off the dig’s supervisors.

    Aug 6, 2007 at 2:11 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #27   Beppo

    I like the red and white striped tape. It just demands that attention must be paid.

    I wonder what kind of pencils they were. I think we’re all envisioning some beetle-browed beancounter obsessing over less-than-a-penny-each #2 Ticonderogas, but maybe they were super-expensive mechanical pencils? Or maybe this is a socially conscious archaeological dig and they only bought fair trade, locally produced, carbon neutral pencils and they were much more expensive. There are not enough details to be sure.

    Aug 6, 2007 at 2:27 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #28   deadcanary

    Well…. twas I that posted the picture. I think its fair to say that Archaeology digs (research ones) are run on a shoe-string… there are hundreds of school and university students on the dig over the course of the summer, and if ever single one loses £1 worth of pencils and erasers… it adds up. The university has to take it out of the budget somewhere: the government doesnt pay enough these days to keep university digs afloat, although they want people to do it as part of their course, and it costs thousands of pounds a week to feed all those folks. I could go on and on. This is a sweet natured sign, just asking for kit to be looked after… *everything* on the dig is counted in and out…. trowels… trays…. paper…. its a military operation. Like time team, but for 5 weeks. with counting. and more rain. and living in tents. and home made showers. and no tony robinson. people tend to pop the erasers in a pocket, by mistake…. the pencils are harder to misplace. I think the red tape was all they had. archaeologists aint rich folks…. Now your commercial digs, well, thats a different kettle of fish. they eat their mechanical pencils for fun, just because they can, cos big business will pay. But pity the poor undergrads, hoarding the precious precious erasers….

    Aug 6, 2007 at 3:11 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #29   jules

    Thank you for your clarification, deadcanary. And please let me tell you how fabulous your name is, your being involved in archeaology and all.

    I feel bad and wish I could donate lots of pencils. And some dry socks. :)

    I have never thought of eating mechanical pencils before, but maybe now there will be a use for those extra buns left over by my shortage of hot-dogs. I hate it when that happens.

    (As long as I don’t eat them in my cubicle…)

    Aug 6, 2007 at 3:25 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #30   Zsa

    I love deadcanary’s description of the conditions because you KNOW I can now picture the poorly fed, unwashed, wet and lonely undergrad who was put in charge of counting the f’ing ERASERS to get course credit.
    A+ for creativity!

    Aug 6, 2007 at 3:37 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #31   anglophile

    I thought they were called rubbers in England???

    Maybe everyone could just supply their own pencils and erasers. If they lose them, well, there’s always mom and dad to write home for fresh supplies. Or maybe they could write in their own blood….

    Aug 6, 2007 at 11:00 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #32   GhostWriter

    Well, the pencils aren’t actually leaving the dig site, are they? They are either in pockets, tents or some other work-related spot. In other words, due to the self-improving nature of workflow, the pencils have relocated to a more productive location than the Company foot locker. Everybody knows the world is flat these days.

    Aug 7, 2007 at 5:38 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #33   bethany

    this reminds me of when I was in college and at the end of the year the dining hall would place a box in the lobby of the dorm for people to return all the stuff they stole from the dining hall (cups, silverware, trays for sledding… I doubt they ever saw all that cereal again).

    Aug 8, 2007 at 6:24 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #34   Jimbo

    @Writer,Rejected (#26): did you mean “exploited?” No harm meant, this is my first time posting and I thought pointing out these kinds of things is what people did on here. This site is great fun…

    Aug 8, 2007 at 7:00 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #35   Luke

    I would steal the sign.

    Aug 8, 2007 at 11:48 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #36   the triangular raver

    we lose pencils and its not dead center of the winnersh triangle. its jus a small amnesty so its winning. the losing is not in the triangle but the pencils are eqidistant from every point.

    Aug 10, 2007 at 1:11 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #37   the triangular raver

    it is indeed linear…

    Aug 10, 2007 at 1:12 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #38   Rusty Fucknut

    I am actually the writer of this sign and the theft of such equipment really annoys me as it means lots of people can’t do any work. The pencils are 6H graphic pencils and cost about 90p each, enough to dent the already-stretched budget. Hope you didn’t find any in your tent when you left DeadCanary otherwise I’ll be after you next year

    Aug 11, 2007 at 12:46 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #39   the lady

    i found several pencils, rubbers and a pencil sharpener in my tent, will it be safe for me to return?

    Aug 16, 2007 at 6:05 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #40   Rusty Fucknut

    Depends who you are and what your excuse is, although some kind of punishment must be forthcoming. Otherwise we’ll be inviting anarchy

    Aug 24, 2007 at 9:17 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #41   Megan

    Those pencils were fucking delicious.

    Sep 9, 2007 at 2:30 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #42   Liz

    I was there at the dig…..I understand the pain…….it was when the planning grids went missing that i started to worry!

    Nov 12, 2007 at 3:20 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #43   Mishee bang

    I am wondering why #39 had rubbers in her tent. LOL… :)

    Nov 12, 2007 at 3:27 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up


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