Women, Pens, and Pockets

Women’s Key Fob

I noticed something about women’s fashion while working for the Postal Service: many if not most, blouses, tops, or business outfits for women don’t have pockets!

Most of my career was spent in Post Offices where I was the Postmaster or manager, so I organized them for me. I had pens located at a few stations I visited often during the day like the retail window, the desk, or the area set aside for receipt and notification of mail. But, I kept a pen in my pocket for the dozens of other places I would visit throughout the day. I couldn’t carry one around in my hand, because I was called upon to use both hands all the time. And, besides — those GSA standard-issue pens came with pocket clips — for clipping a pen in my shirt pocket.

For years I worked with women most of the time and wondered why my pens were moving all over the office or leaving, never to be seen again. This didn’t happen when I worked with men. Then, it hit me when I saw women using those stretchy, coiled plastic key fobs in banks and other retail outfits.

Most women keep their wallets, keys, pens, and stuff in a purse or handbag, while most men use their pockets — lots of women’s fashions do not even have convenient pockets. In environments requiring a key and hands-free access over and over, a woman needs a lanyard or other means to tether necessary tools like keys, pens, and access cards to her person.

So, the pens in my offices weren’t being misplaced or lost or stolen. They were being used and left in new locations throughout the office by employees without pockets. The mystery was solved.

I tried using one of those wrist fobs for my keys, but it didn’t work for me. Once I discovered the utility of the retractable key chain for geeks, I never looked back. And, I never locked myself out of my Post Office or car. But, that takes me right back to where I started — you see, I had a pocket to clip that key chain to!

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