Smencils: Well, I’d Name Scented Pencils Differently


My daughter is one of those kids who can’t come back from a bike ride without presenting me with something she found on the ground (she hasn’t started giving me dead birds or mice yet, but we’ll see). Just the other day she showed me this pencil – or rather, this Smencil.

It is an orange-scented pencil made from 100% recycled newspapers – and yes, it does smell like oranges, a light, delightful scent. And who could complain about them being recycled? They come in many different scents, and are popular as fundraisers for kids in school. Great idea! And…bad name!

Ok, maybe it’s not a terrible name, but let’s compare the word “smell” vs. the word “scent”.

If someone asks “What’s that smell?”, you know they’re not inquiring about roses. They are wondering about that stink, that stench, that whiff of something rotten and rancid. Not perfume. Not air freshener. As Mr. Krabs says about anchovies, “That smelly smell that smells…smelly.”

Scent, on the other hand, is about aroma and fragrance and bouquet. Dryer sheets are scented. Candles are scented. Scents are what you want to breathe in.

So, I have to ask: Why not Scentcils? Interestingly, the Smencils people also own the domain. So why did they choose Smencils over Scentcils? The only advantage I can see is that Smencils is slight more appealing to kids, in that “let’s be as obvious as we can be” way, sort of like cereal named Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs. Oh wait, that’s from Calvin & Hobbes. Well, Reese’s Puffs, then – candy for breakfast! Or maybe a drippy goo toy called Slime, which has the added advantage of picking up every pet hair in the house.

I can verify that Smencils are a great product and I love the ecological angle. But I just wish they’d gone with Scentcils. I don’t want to use a pencil that makes me afraid of what it might smell like.

Final Grade:



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