Unhappiness with chalk

50-1402.jpgA distinguished mathematics professor, who requests anonymity, writes:

I have a complaint and no where to send it – so naturally I am sending it to you.

Crayola has made their chalk thinner. It is not much thinner. But it is thinner enough.

It is also shorter. I went back to my office and found an old box with two pieces of chalk. The new pieces are thinner, shorter and don’t write as dark. It is annoying. I was in the middle of a lecture and picked up a new piece of chalk. The quality of my teaching immediately went down. I am not joking. It was all I could do to not break down crying. I tried all the pieces in the new box. They were no good.

Back in my office I checked the boxes. The old size was 3 1/2 long by 3/8 inch thick. The new chalk is 3 by 5/16. And the new box has French* on it. The old box said “Crayola Anti-Dust Chalk.” The new box says “An du septic Chalk“.

I want my old chalk back!

UPDATE: Investigator Robert Blanton writes: “One point I wonder is whether the new package contains more pieces of lesser quality. This seems to me to have been a trend in many products over the last years. You get less disguised as more.”

UPDATE: Investigator Earle Spamer writes: “I am profoundly stumped by ‘A distinguished mathematics professor, who requests anonymity,’ who griped about the light-weight Crayola an du Septic chalk sticks that ‘don?t write as dark’ as they used to. They’re white!! I have not been able to get this paradox out of my mind all afternoon. Shame on ‘A distinguished mathematics professor, who requests anonymity.'”

*CLARIFICATION: The professor clarifies his original comment: “Of course ‘An du septic’ is not actually French?it’s just nonsense. What I meant is: someone at Crayola invented a phrase that’s supposed to sound impressively foreign.”