Tag Archive: eBay

Light My Fire!

As I haven’t done a Dollar Review for a while, I thought I would do one on the Permanent Match.

This is a permanent match.

This one of those things you can find all over eBay that looks like it wouldn’t work but really does. Mine’s a cylinder but they also come in a rectangular shape. Either way, the idea is the same. That little knob on top unscrews and a shaft comes out, that’s the “match” part of the thing.

Sorry it's so blurry.

The metal “match” is hollow, there’s cotton wadding stuffed in the end with a little steel tooth crammed in to hold it in place. You can’t really see the wadding in the photo, it gets all black and charred after awhile. You fill the little chamber with naptha, the “match” has a gasket at the top so it won’t leak. The little bar on the side is a flint; you make the fire the old-fashioned way, by drawing the little steel bit  down the flint very fast. There’s a lot of sparks and if you’ve done it right, some will land on the naptha-soaked cotton and set it on fire. It’s takes a bit of practice to get it right, but it does work.

Now, the downside – I’ve seen claims that the thing will light “10000” times and that might be true under perfect conditions, but I wouldn’t bet on it. The flint on the side wears down a little bit each time you swipe it and not every swipe will work perfectly. The flint is just barely the same size as the steel tooth, if you don’t get them lined up perfectly you end up gouging bits of plastic out of the sides of the notch it rests in. If you leave the match tip burning for any length of time, the cotton wadding gets burned up and I’ve yet to find a way to get the little steel bit out so I can change it. I would really prefer a design where I could add more wadding, once it gets burned up the thing is nearly useless.

But when it works, it works very well.



Final verdict – For my ninety-nine cents and free shipping, I thought the permanent match was worth it. I wouldn’t want to depend on it to light a campfire in the darkest jungles of Borneo, but it is a nice novelty to have around.



I really love eBay, it’s like a yard sale you can visit in your jammies. If you like to casually browse through the categories (like I do) there are some really odd things out there, mostly from Asian countries it seems, at really low prices. I like to buy the occasional odd thing, as long as it’s less than a dollar and has free shipping, and will amuse myself by searching for random words to see what pops up.

I’ve decided to justify this time-wasting obsession by mining it for valuable blogging gold!

To that end, I will be writing up reviews for these cheap little items as I get them and posting them on a semi-regular basis. If anyone would like to suggest (or send) me something, I’m more than happy to accept any suggestion (or freebie!) you might offer.


This is one of those odd things that is sold for around the same price, mine was $0.99 with free shipping,  by dozens of dealers under different Engrishtastic names. I’ve seen it as “Hyper Peeling Stick” “Dental Bleaching Stick” “Tooth Teeth Stain Eraser” “Whiten Teeth Tooth Dental Peeling Stick” , and variations on those themes. All the creatively named products are the same thing; a turquoise handle and a bundle of white rods of aligned and compressed  fibers that look very similar to the innards of a hi-lighter or other felt-tipped pen. The little white sticks have a flat end that fits into the handle and a chiseled end that is supposed to do the polishing. Mine did not come with any neat packaging, it was all tossed together in a little baggie made of the thinnest plastic I have ever seen. There were no instructions but it’s pretty straightforward; put white thing in socket on blue-green thing,  rub on teeth.

I have used it on my teeth, just to see what it was like. It does polish, and leaves my teeth feeling squeaky clean. Kind of like a touch-up between dentist visits.  It’s sort of tedious, but if you’re watching TV or some similar activity where your attention is elsewhere, it makes it go by faster.  It’s pretty small and takes some maneuvering to get the back teeth. There’s not really any taste other than a general “plasticy” flavor you would get from licking a straw, many of the eBay ads call it a “bleaching” stick but I detected no chemicals that would do any sort of bleaching.

The bag is seriously thin, it's like a square plastic soap bubble with a ziploc top.

What I really like to use it for is polishing jewelry. It does a wonderful job of getting the tarnish off of rings, doesn’t scratch, and doesn’t make a mess the way paste cleaners can. It’s also good for removing permanent marker from non-porous surfaces like plastic and for taking stains off of fingernails. It takes a bit, but it does the job without leaving a lot of scuffs behind. It does work better if it’s dampened, but it works when dry too.

The little sticks are probably meant to be used just once and thrown away, but my frugal nature won’t allow me to do that; even if they only cost about four cents each I still want to get my money’s worth. The compressed fibers in the individual rods are bound together strong enough that, with a good sharp knife or  razor blade, you can shave off the used portion and expose a fresh polishing surface. I bought my little set over a year ago and I still haven’t used but two or three of the cleaning sticks.

The petite powerhouse of scrubbiness.

I think these little guys are well worth the $0.99, I’m sure there are other uses for them besides what I have mentioned. If you have an extra dollar laying around, it’s a good buy.