Remember When There Was Only One Type of Post-It Note?

In the beginning there was paper, and there was tape.  And if you wanted to leave a note on a page of a book, you had to tape a piece of paper bearing the note, and when you removed the note it would not come off easily, but would damage the page with its stickiness.[1]  And to tape the note to another page would take more tape, for the original tape would be unfit[2] to carry out its duties.

And the 3M Corporation said, “Let there be Post-it notes,” and there were Post-it notes.  And the 3M Corporation saw that the Post-it notes were good, and trademarked the name “Post-it.”  The Post-it notes were canary yellow, and the 3M Corporation saw that the canary yellow was good, and trademarked that, too.

And the world was filled with Post-it notes, all of the same size, and the same color.  And the 3M Corporation said, “Look, the Post-it notes are all the same, and everyone buys them.  Who knows how much more we can sell if the Post-it notes were different?”

And the 3M Corporation said, “Let there be Post-it notes of not only 3 inches by 3 inches, but also of 3 inches by 5 inches, and of 4 inches by 6 inches, and of  1 ½ inches by 2 inches, and of 1 3/8 inches by 1 7/8 inches.”  And the 3M Corporation said, “Let there be Post-it notes of not only canary yellow®, but also of blue, and green, and orange, and pink, and of neon colors and pastel colors.”  And the world was filled with Post-it notes of every size, and every color, although the 3M Corporation was unable to trademark the colors blue, green, orange, and pink.

And the 3M Corporation created Post-it notes with lines on them for people who needed to write on lines, and Post-it notes arranged in an accordian-style for people who needed to pull notes out of dispensers.  And world was now filled with Post-it notes of every size and color, and every design and arrangement.

And the 3M Corporation said, “It is not good for the Post-it notes to be alone.  We shall make helpmeets for them, so that they shall not be alone in the office supply storeroom, or mail room, or closet for companies that are too small or cheap to dedicate an entire room to office supplies as I have commanded.  And so that we shall make a greater return for our shareholders.”  And the 3M Corporation put the Post-it notes under a deep sleep, and took a piece of the patented low-stick adhesive, and formed around it Post-it tabs that could mark books of learning and pages of deposition transcripts that contained incriminating testimony so that lawyers could easily indicate which pages they wanted photocopied.

And the 3M Corporation created Post-it tabs of the same material, but that were much smaller, and some were loaded into a pen, and some were loaded into a highlighter.  And the 3M Corporation created Post-it tabs that were more durable, that would not wrinkle or crease or tear with normal use.  And the 3M Corporation created Post-it tabs that were narrower, and called “flags,” some with arrows, and some without arrows, and some that came in pop-up dispensers, and some that did not come in pop-up dispensers.  And the 3M Corporation saw that it was good.

And the 3M Corporation said, “The low-stick adhesive is not sticky enough for some people.”  And the 3M Corporation created a Post-it note with a super sticky adhesive, and called these notes “Post-it® Super Sticky Full Adhesive Notes.”  And these Post-it® Super-Sticky Full Adhesive Notes were truly the stickiest notes that the world had ever seen, and did not drop off pages easily, and gave people the confidence that their notes would stay put, but which sometimes damaged the page or ink when removed, as the 3M Corporation warned on the package.


[1] Older versions had “holiness.”

[2] Others “unclean.”

Mark Kaplowitz

132 Responses

  1. Dude! They make them in fun shapes! Like hearts and flowers. I am a 3-M addict. And can I say, this post warms my 3-M hot pink sticky paper heart?

    Also, I can’t believe you haven’t commented on posts about Tech’s recent bar mitzvah. You are missing opportunities to read drama in the comment section. Omg! My aunt SCREAMED at me (on blog) about posting my father’s “secret” that he never had a bar mitzvah. That should not be missed! And my mother uses the word “prejudice” instead of “biased” on the post the next day. Oh, good times over there. Good times!

    • Thank you, Mikalee. I’ll have to think about that. And the employees gathered at the foot of the abstract sculpture in front of the 3M headquarters and heard the voice of the corporate secretary…

  2. Very funny! What about their migration to computers? Does that mean they’re ghosts?

    Congrats on being FP

    • Thank you very much. You know, after I posted this I thought about the computerized Post-its. I don’t think those are ghosts, but life forms so evolved that they have shed all physical restraints and now live on in the form of solid-state electrons. Which I think should be everyone’s goal.

      • Well, we’re well on our way to transferring our minds from our wetware brains to computer hardware, so it will be lovely to have our evolved Post-its waiting for us!

  3. This is one of the most entertaining FP pieces I’ve read. Glad they scouted you! It made me laugh out loud in my office 🙂

    Thanks,

    A Post-It Addict
    *P.S. You forgot the ones that say, “Sign Here” – I use those a lot, too.

  4. I find this post about “post-its” ironic since I scoured my house looking for different sizes and colors for a storyboard I am creating for my book! I found 8 different kinds!
    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    • Thank you so much. That kind of thing has happened to me before. About a month ago I wrote a post about a 13 year old girl who was accidentally served alcohol at a restaurant. And then my mother told me about the same thing happening at a restaurant where she lives. She thought I saw it on the news!

    • Wow, thank you. I’m thrilled when anyone just reads what I have here. I don’t know how I’m ever going to get a repeat of that reaction, but I will certainly try!

  5. Very funny and witty! And yes, Post It notes have soooo many variations! What is next? Post It notes that can speak and tell you what tab you are looking for, maybe…

    • I think it would be great if the Post-It notes argued with each other and competed for the affection of buyers through the lost art of rhetoric. “The highest virtue a Post-it can have is the perfect balance of reliable adhesion and harmless repositioning,” one might say to me while I walk through the Post-it section at the store. Thank you for your comment and compliment.

  6. I have fluorescent Post It notes, so that I can write down inspiration in the middle of the night. My friend just happens to collect Post It variations, so has almost every type you could imagine. It’s ridiculous! 😛 Well done on making Freshly Pressed!

    • Thank you. It’s always a great opportunity to meet new people. You know, I too like to write things down in the middle of the night, and maybe the flourescents would help me see the paper, so that I don’t accidentally write on the night stand.

  7. Great post! “… but which sometimes damaged the page or ink when removed, as the 3M Corporation warned on the package.” That´s a bit like a warning on a permanent marker I recently saw: Ink sticks immediately rub and waterproof on any surface and cannot be removed from plastics, paper, cardboard, textiles and other porous materials” Like it!!

    • Thank you. And I’m glad you like the style. I’ve done a few others in that fashion – if you’ve got absolutely nothing better to do and want to peruse some the archives.

    • I think Post-its were always around in my lifetime, but there was definitely a time when they did not intersect with my life. In the days when I wrote only with pencils and Elmer’s glue was never more than an arm’s length away, the Post-it was hidden to me. Waiting.

  8. I am sure I am missing the point of something. But this has to be amongst the best posts ever!

    May i ask if this was spontanious or if it took some time?

    Regardless. it is awesome

    • Thank you! That’s very gratifying to hear. You know, I don’t remember how long it took to write. I know I had the idea kicking around in my head for a bit. But all writing involves some spontaneity. So I guess it was a little of both. Glad you liked it.

    • You’re quite welcome. I get those strange looks too. That’s why I started blogging. You don’t get strange looks when you blog. Unless you’re actually blogging at the pub table.

    • Thank you for the reblog – I appreciate it, and hope your readers enjoy the post. If I was awake for 26 hours I would be hallucinating. I’m glad I was able to brighten things up a bit. And here’s to different strengths of adhesion!

  9. Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion!! A classic. So funny she’s all “I invented post-its!!” I think of that movie every time I see a post it haha

  10. I have a minor Post-It notes addiction. I have dispensers, pads in different sizes and colors, and have even dabbled with the Post-It wannabe, the Stickies on my Mac (shh, don’t tell anyone I cheated). I’m pretty sure I need a 12-step program at this point.

    • Any 12-step program is bound to involve leaving yourself reminders to do or refrain from doing certain things. And how is one supposed to remind oneself without post-its? Or stickies? I don’t think you’re an addict. Just a great consumer. Post-its were invented for you.

  11. This is hilarious.

    3M Corporation really created/is creating something. I got confused when my sister had asked me to buy her a post-it. I went to the mall and saw those lines of post-it things. It took me half an hour (or more) with phone calls to get her the right one she wanted…*blink unemotionally*

    • Thank you. Yes, simply going to the store and picking something up went out of style with bell bottom pants. Nothing is simple anymore. Everything requires phone calls and committee votes, even buying milk. Those lines of Post-its in their sundry forms are what inspired me to write this post. I hope you accomplished your mission without having to go back to the store.

    • Absolutely! I’m waiting for them to finally put a chip in my brain so I can get advertisements without the inconvenience of going on the Internet or turning on the television or walking anywhere.

  12. I have a love and hate relationship with Post-Its. I love that it keeps me on track with my daily to-do’s, but at the same time I’m stressing out over the things left uncrossed (and undone) at the end of the day. But Post-Its are still the world’s greatest invention for me. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    • Thank you! I know exactly what you mean. I recently started using Post-its to keep track of things that need to be done, and after an hour I had a whole diary-page filled with Post-its. And at the end of every day I transfer the notes, one by one, to the next page, to which get added more Post-its, and eventually I’m leaving myself Post-its to remind myself to transfer the Post-its to the next day.

  13. This was a jolly nice thing to read, sat at my work computer with my screen surrounded by different coloured post-it notes! I also have a program on my computer that lets me post virtual post-it notes to my desktop. I think I might be slightly addicted.

    • Thank you. I aim to please. And yes, the text is pretty familiar to me. I had re-read the Torah recently (the Jewish Publication Society’s English translation, circa 1962) so I guess the words and style were on my mind.

  14. All very true. It’s got to be the original or nothing for me. It’s terrible when someone orders the wrong size pad and then you can’t fit your messages in one page and you have to make multipage notes. Not to mention all the office gossip about peoples taste when they have non-canary colour note pads on their desk. The world can do with out luminous yellow, green and pink notes all over everything.

    • Oh, like when the message has to spill over to a second post-it note? Arrgh, that’s the worst! There is a proper post-it for every post. And how do I know this? Emily Post, of course.

  15. I can’t remember the exact story, but I read that the inventor was trying to invent something that stuck better and he felt like a failure at first. There is a book of organization projects and things to do with Post-Its.
    Great post 🙂

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