I have a confession to make and I want to keep it just between us. I’d greatly appreciate it if you didn’t go around repeating what I am about to tell you to your friends. I am embarrassed and at my wit’s end. I am confiding in you because I trust you, and by doing so, put my legendary reputation at stake…whatever that reputation might be.
OK. Here it goes. Deep breath, Kirby…..
I am a disorganized slob.
There. I’ve said it. I don’t feel better telling you. In fact, I feel worse. Great. Now you know and I can’t take it back. Since you are now ridding shotgun on my guilt, I might as well keep the party going.
Hope and salvation is at hand. To quote Tom Petty, “I’m taking control of my life“. Or, in this case, my game collection room. It is out of control. Boxes thrown on shelves without rhyme or reason, abstract strategy games mixing with deep fantasy themed epic exploration games, and perhaps worse of all, I actually lose track of where my games are and have a hard time finding them. This is not a shrine of games and geekiness! This is a wall of terror and chaos!
The final straw that broke this geek’s back was trying to find a specific game my little geeks were asking for. I went downstairs to find it and couldn’t. I spent long enough downstairs that my two oldest geeks came looking for me, wondering what had happened to their old pop. When I explained I couldn’t find the game, they started to help me look. We looked and looked, but could not find the game. I knew it was in the room and the room is simply not that big. We finally found the game tucked behind two other games on a side shelf. It took us a good 15 minutes to find what we were looking for and we were all exhausted from the effort. As we made our way back up the stairs, my oldest little geek said, “Dad, your game room is embarrassing!”
OH, THE SHAME!!!
He was right and I was going to correct this sad fact as soon as possible. But how? It is easy enough to state your intentions but an entirely different thing to act upon them. I knew that the best way to start was to start small. I have many, many games and if I was going to do this right, I was going to have to take it one game box at a time.
When I was asked by Mom Central Consulting to review the Brother P-Touch Labeler, I about fell off my chair. Any Game Geek worth their weight in dice knows perfectly well that the only thing more popular with gamers than small plastic bags is labels!
A plan was born in my mind. I would use the label maker to help me organize my games and game room! But before I could do so, I was tasked to test the durability of the labels, putting a single label through a gauntlet of abuse and pain! I eagerly gathered the equipment I would use, the camera, and got to work.
The Brother P-Touch labels boast of being resistant to liquids, heat, cold and other harsh conditions. I had only the single test label to use and I planned to put it through the gambit! I decided that if I was going to take the time to label and organize my office, the product I would use better be up to the task and last for a long, long time.
First Test: Hot Water and Scrub Sponge
The first test would use hot water and a double-sided scrub brush. I soaked the sponge and grinned evilly as I approached the label…
I first soaked the label with the hot water making certain it was as wet as possible. I then pushed down as hard as I could on the sponge and scrubbed. I went at it for a good minute and really put my back into it. I thought for certain the edges of the label would curl or, at the least, water would seep through and get underneath the label. But there was no water damage to be seen. In fact, the label looked even better than before. All my work only cleaned the label and nothing more. The first battle went to the label.
Second Test: Nail Polish Remover
Time to get serious. The next challenger was a nail polish remover single wipe. In case you didn’t know, nail polish remover contains acetone, a powerful chemical that is harsh on the skin and can make fingernails brittle! Acetone is considered a volatile organic compound according to the U.S. Environmental Protective Agency (EPA). With such chemical power, I did not give the label much hope for survival.
I focused the wipe around the corners of the label. In my experience, all labels failed as soon as they began to lift around the edges. It was only a matter of time before they began to peel and eventually be pulled off. However, not once did the label being to crack or peel! I was coating the label with acetone and it appeared to have absolutely no negative effect! Surprised, I gave the victory to the label.
Third Test: Clorox
Clearly, this was one tough label. It had already survived without any visible damage a hot water scrub down and a chemical coating of acetone. The next test would mix both scrubbing friction and chemicals by using a course scrub brush and a strong mix of Clorox, a chemical bleaching agent. What bleach does very well, other than getting your whites bright and ruining your darks, is breaking chemical bonds. This is how bleach gets grease and dirt out of clothes. The bleach should, in theory, break down the chemical bonds in the label and I should see discoloration as the bleach reactions to the air. The scrubbing is to ensure that the bleach get ground in and finds any cracks that might exist.
I mixed the bleach strong. So strong, it would ruin my clothes if it touched my skin and might very well burn my eyes out if it splashed on my face. I wore latex gloves, an apron, and eye protection just to be safe. I rubbed and scrubbed, soaked, and swirled the label in the bleach mix for about 3 minutes until I was satisfied that I did as much damage as possible given the time allowed. I cleaned off the label and gave it a thorough inspection. I was surprised (and a bit disappointed) to see that the label looked absolutely fine without the slightest hint of damage or fading!
Fourth Test: Steel Wool
OK, this was getting stupid. The label had so far proved tougher than hot water, scrubbing, acetone, bleach, and coarse friction. In my feverish mind, I heard the label mocking me. This would not stand. I had finished the tests Mom Central Consulting had asked me and fulfilled my obligations. Now I was going to do my own tests. No more brushes and sponges. No more chemicals and liquids. I was bringing out the steel wool!
I put all my weight down on the label and scrubbed it with the same level of passion and energy as I would cleaning a four day old pot of chili. I scrubbed and scrubbed, going to town on the edges, changing my scrubbing from back and forth to little circles and back again. I did everything I would if I was trying to remove the most stubborn of grease and caked on food. When I was too tired to continue, I rinsed the label, dried it off, and inspected it. I finally saw some damage! But only a very little. Here and there on the label the edges looked rough or slightly gouged, but that was all. The label was still secure and the text on it as easy to read as the day it was printed.
Fifth Test: Fire
Now it was personal. I had put all I could into that steel wool and came out looking a fool! What did it take damage this thing? Dragon fire? As I didn’t have a mythical beast handy, I went with the next best thing: a butane lighter. I put on a protective glove, stepped outside, and lite the flame.
I kept the flame on the label until it started to smoke and then burn. I did this again and again, each time stopping and moving to another location on the label whenever it became too hot and caught fire. I gave the entire label a generous and complete burning. A baptism by fire if ever there was one! Satisfied that I had burned the label to a crisp, I went back inside and inspected the label under the light.
Amazingly, the label was still there and was still easy to read! Oh, it looked burnt and beaten, but you could still read what the label said clearly and it was still sticking fast! Dumbfounded, I threw my hands up in the air and accepted defeat. It would appear that nothing short of a black hole was going to put this label out of commission.
I do believe I have found my label of choice. Not only is it durable enough for my game collection organization plans, but it will also most likely outlast the human race and be a relic of mystery to an alien culture who stumbles upon our planet a millenia after all life has turned to dust. There is strange comfort in that.
The label itself has surpassed my expectations, but this only half of the equation. While durability is a solid plus in any book, the labeler itself must be easy to use and provide the user with a rich set of functions and features. Failure to do so makes the most durable of labels all but useless. They simply won’t be used if they aren’t easy to customize and deploy.
But that is a test for another day. A day, I might add, that is quickly approaching.
I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Brother P-Touch and received a product and gift card to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.