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SocietyJanuary 19, 2017

I lived my life using only inspirational advice from Typo and it wasn’t good


The stationery store Typo is known for its quirky slogans and inspiring messages. Madeleine Chapman followed their advice to see just how positive it really is.

Whenever I buy stationery, it’s aspirational. I aspire to be more organised and write in a planner every day. I aspire to buy a pad of refill and use the whole thing, not use five pages then lose it. I aspire to only use Bic fine point pens because everyone knows they’re the best

Stationery is supposed to be aspirational, and aspirations always run high in the New Year. So I went to Typo because Typo is the go-to stationery shop if you want a little flair and can’t afford kikki.k. It’s the Cotton On of stationery, and is actually part of Cotton On so that makes sense.

I went to Typo expecting some cringe-worthy slogans aimed at the young, mostly female customers. It’s January so I wasn’t surprised to see two young girls, freshly graduated from the colour-coordination of Smiggle, poring over the ink pens next to some notebooks. When I got closer to them I saw what was written on those notebooks.

What. Fresh. Hell. Is. This.


I’d always known that Typo slogans were best avoided, but this was a bit ridiculous. Considering the average Typo customer is a) female, b) young, ergo c) impressionable, some of this bad advice might actually influence people.

So I, a grown woman, decided to follow the advice that Typo gives to its young customers.


Seems simple enough. Every Sunday I make the good choice of setting my alarm so I won’t be late for work the next morning. Last Sunday I did no such thing. When I woke up, it was to this message from the office.


I headed to the bus stop and because I was so late, I got to catch the double decker for only the second time in my life. I sat right at the front on the top deck and honestly, it was bloody thrilling. Maybe Typo was right. Maybe I could just live without an alarm forever and ride that top deck right to paradise. At the next stop I saw a woman in office clothes running frantically after the bus as it pulled away, and I remembered that not every workplace will accept “don’t worry I’m still alive” as an excuse for being late to work.

By the time I got to work I was almost ready for lunch. Typo sells lunchboxes and drink bottles, so I knew they’d have some top tips for eating. Since New Years I’d been trying to eat less sugar and carbs. Not a strict diet, more a trimming. So I browsed Typo’s online store to see what foods they endorsed.


Having to look at that grammatically incorrect sentence was making me hungry, so I went out to get pizza.


It wasn’t good. The pizza looked like it had carbs in it. It certainly felt like it had carbs in it. But does pizza really have carbs in it?


Asked and answered.

This isn’t the first time Madeleine Chapman has put herself through hell in the name of a story. Read about her week living as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, here

That afternoon I got approximately no work done as I tried to digest my lunch. After work I had a social softball game. We lost. Let’s pretend I played horribly because I was deliberately making bad choices for the sake of a cool story. Yes, let’s say that.

I needed some proper food for dinner. Something with nutrients, part of a balanced diet.

typo5 typo6

Goddammit. Don’t get me wrong, I eat more junk food than the average person but it’s not a source of pride for me. I definitely wouldn’t display it on a piece of stationery, just mention it in this story for everyone to read.

I needed something to look forward to for the next day. Something better than pizza and burgers. Something, dare I say it, healthy. So I went to the drink bottle section.


Water for breakfast. Probably not a good idea but I was actually looking forward to it. In just one day I could already feel a pimple forming on my chin. One of those really sore but invisible ones that make you think you have a toothache, but then you realise it’s just a massive zit on your jawline. You know the ones. Water would be good. I even put some ice cubes in it to make it seem like a meal.

But by 10 am I was struggling. I could hear my stomach rumbling and to be honest, water doesn’t really work to tone that down. So I once again turned to Typo for guidance.


I eat because I’m bored all the time. Lots of people do. But sometimes you really are just hungry and need to eat. Of all the bad slogans, this one is probably the worst to hand out to young men and women who are just starting to feel the pressure of society’s impossible beauty standards.

I looked at that drink bottle and made a small wish that no young woman would ever read it or believe it. Then I turned my thoughts to lunch. I couldn’t just not eat, despite what Typo said. I had a sports event after work and needed energy, so I stuck with carbs and heated up some rice. I wanted to have something else with it, maybe some meat, maybe some veges, so I crossed my fingers and fell back into Typo’s online store.


It was the worst meal I’ve ever had, and I eat a lot of things that give me hives. As I walked to my athletics meet, I was already in a full sweat from all the sugar and now also had a deep cut on my lip from severe dryness, both in jokes and in reality. I started to crave a cucumber. That sweet nothing taste of water and health. But apparently a Typo customer has only two modes of eating; all sugar and carbs, or only water. A binge and purge mentality, if you will. Aka the worst possible thing to promote.

When I was home safely and ready for bed, I remembered there were cupcakes in my fridge that a friend had brought over. I knew Typo had something to say about this…


It’s not a good idea. I knew this before I did it, but I say it now with absolute conviction. Do not eat cake in bed. Firstly, what’s so great about eating in bed? You either have to sit right up, which negates the luxury of lying in bed, or you have to prop yourself up on pillows and eat at a constant triple chin angle so you don’t choke on anything. But Typo promotes it, so I took that fancy chocolate cupcake and ate it in my bed.

It was a hate crime. I couldn’t even take a photo of the crumbs and icing aftermath because it looked like I’d shat the bed.

While my sheets were in the wash, I thought about the trauma of the past 48 hours. Nothing in Typo offers good, or even mediocre, thoughts. Everything is negative and aggressive. I followed the food advice, but the life advice is maybe even worse. “Live every hour like it’s 5 pm on Friday”. What does that even mean? “Shut the fuck up about your stupid diet.” “Live for the weekend.”


One that I tried to follow just once was the above sarcasm mantra. I couldn’t be that rude to a real person so when the announcer on the train said, for the tenth time, “press green button when lit”, I muttered “is that right?” so sarcastically that I transformed into a pupil and eye rolled myself out the door. If nothing else comes of this, at least I produced the greatest pun of my life.

Maybe Typo is a disillusioned 45 year-old who hates their job and wants to teach the younger generation that dreams are futile and alcohol and food are the only sources of happiness. Even the one product that I agreed with turned out to be a huge disappointment.


Before anyone mentions that Typo products are supposed to be funny and not taken literally, go visit a high school and see how literally the students take every comment about how they look or what they weigh, no matter how ‘funny’ it is. It’s all fun and games and bad statements, but if you see ideas enough, the messages start to sink in whether you want them to or not. So next time someone asks if I want to go to Typo for a pencil case with ‘Sassy AF’ emblazoned on it, I’ll have my answer ready.


This isn’t the first time Madeleine Chapman has put herself through hell in the name of a story. Read about her week living as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, here

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