The hole in a Bic pen lid might seem like a cruel way to encourage ink drip all over your bag.
But, as well as making a great whistle, the design quirk actually has a serious purpose and it might just save your life.
Some people have a habit of chewing pens as they mull over what to write next – and sometimes they might accidentally swallow it.
The hole is designed to prevent the lid blocking the airways by allowing a small vent to breathe through as it is lodged in your throat.
On its website, Bic writes: “In addition to help prevent the pen from leaking, all our BIC® caps comply with international safety standards that attempt to minimize the risk of children accidentally inhaling pen caps.
“Some of these vented caps, like that used for the BIC® Cristal®, has a little hole in the top to comply with the existing safety standards.”
But the pen lid hole has not stopped everyone from dying from this awful habit.
In 2007 Ben Stirland, a 13-year-old boy from Durham, died after falling off his chair and swallowing his pen lid.
His mother Nathalie Hodgson warned: “Contrary to popular belief, the safety hole is no use.
“Body secretions soon block this and because of the lid’s shape, they easily lodge in the throat and cannot be removed quickly.
“I have lost one of the biggest parts of my life and if I can warn just one parent and stop another senseless death like this, it will have been worth posting.”
Well, it looks like capitalism won’t save you from yourself, but it will save you from most other things.
This article originally appeared on Mirror.