Virtual Classes Collapse Black Market for Dry-Erase Markers

By Nathan Schmidt

An investigative report by Stagnation over the last six months has revealed economic ruination in Fairfield University’s black market for dry-erase markers. With students moving online for some or all of their classes, the once-thriving illicit trade for the Expo brand markers has become the latest casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The dry-erase marker trade, known colloquially among students as the “black marker,” was a notorious source of grief on campus ever since whiteboards were first introduced circa 1998. Enterprising students routinely evaded notice of DPS, reselling markers to the highest bidder and causing shortages in the classroom.

“There’s nothing quite like picking up a marker that you’re sure was wet as a fountain pen last week, and finding that its ink is somehow simultaneously unreadably faint and impossible to erase,” said English professor Julian Vicar, who has wrestled fruitlessly with the so-called black marker for the past twenty years straight. “I don’t miss it. This is the one positive thing about moving to Zoom.”

Julian then turned away from his camera and added loudly, “Eliza! Eliza, I’m on Zoom right now, sweetie. Can it wait? Eliza, I’m talking to Stagnation. Please?”

Students have reacted to the absence of the black marker — once the most profitable, albeit unofficial, student organization on campus — with widespread apathy or even schadenfreude. Business student Clarise Grendel ‘22 is quoted saying, “Yeah, that’s not my hustle. I’m more into short-squeezing GameStop shares. But it is pretty cute how my professors think I used to read what they put on the whiteboard.”

The insider student sources who provided the information for this article could not be reached for comment, as they could not find a way to conduct a Zoom interview without their parents overhearing it.

Luckily for those few miscreant students who once hoarded all of the dry-erase markers on campus, the university administration has been working hard on an incremental return to classes in-person this semester. We may yet see a terrible renaissance of the felt-tipped monopoly in our time.

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