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SHOP TALK : Get the Lead Out, Before Tax Man Pencils You In : It’s that time again, and here’s some prices on the things you’ll need to finish up those forms.

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Tomorrow, needless to say, is that deadline of deadlines. Tax Day.

But of course you’re not worried. Oh, you may have put things off to the last minute again, but you feel pretty confident that you’ll be pulling up to the post office well before midnight tonight.

Everything will be fine--assuming nothing goes wrong. Like your dog turns all of your pencils into chew toys? Or your last eraser shreds like confetti? Or you spill your last bottle of Liquid Paper?

Having your best interests at heart at this stressful time, we went shopping last week for some Tax Day Eve items. We went to Staples and The Office Mart in Ventura and to Walmart in Oxnard so that, if you find yourself in a supply emergency situation, you’ll have some idea what’s out there.

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And what is out there?

Pencils: We’re partial to the old Dixon Ticonderoga No. 2s. We found a box of a dozen for $1.59 at Staples and $1.56 at Office Mart. At Walmart we didn’t see any Ticonderoga’s, but they had Empire-Berol USA brand No. 2s at a dozen for 76 cents.

Pens: We went for Bic Round Stic model, black ink. A dozen were 79 cents at Staples and 85 cents at Office Mart. A package of 10 was 77 cents at Walmart. Interestingly, Walmart had this Bic model with blue ink for 77 cents, but with red ink for a dime more. Then again, you didn’t really want your tax figures to be in the red, did you?

Correction supplies: If you’re like us you are prone to making mistakes. We can usually find the Liquid Paper supplies with our eyes closed. An average 6-ounce bottle of the standard white bond correction fluid was $1.10 at Office Mart and $1.28 at Walmart. At Staples, surprisingly, the white bond is not sold in individual bottles, but in packs of three, for $2.99. The store does have single bottles of Liquid Paper in blue, pink, canary yellow, green, and ivory at $1.17 each.

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As for erasers, we went for the kind you stick on the end of your pencil, where the built-in eraser used to be before you wore it down correcting your many errors. A package of 12 Eberhard Faber brand Arrowhead erasers was 77 cents at Staples. At Walmart, Pedigree brand cap erasers were five for 46 cents and 15 for 78 cents. Office Mart had individual Arrowhead erasers for 6 cents each (or 72 cents a dozen).

Ledgers: We’re talking about those “analysis pads” that enable you to list expenses and earnings in easy-to-decipher column form. Thought it may be too late to use for this year’s taxes, it wouldn’t hurt to start compiling figures for next year. At Office Mart we found National Brand’s Premium Analysis Pad, four columns, 11 by 8 1/2 inches, at $1.95 for a pad of 50 sheets. That same item was going for $3.63 for a two-pack (100 sheets) at Staples. Walmart had different brands and sizes.

Now quit sitting around and get to work.


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