The Pulmonary Center has "beeper cards" that are updated annually. These cards list phone numbers for all faculty and staff, beeper numbers for attendings and fellows, clinic and on-call/rotation schedules, etc. It has been my responsibility to assemble these cards each year.
When I first got here, the cards were small (2 in. by 3 in.), way too small to be read easily. They also didn't have all the schedules on them. I increased the card size to 3 in. by 5 in., which made them far easier to read, and added the schedules.
Also, the cards had formerly been held together by a cheap, plastic, beaded chain that ran through a hole punch in the upper left corner. Individual cards were flopping all along the length of this chain. I decided we needed a better method of fastening the cards. We needed something that would hold them together and allow the user to flip through them. Finding the right fastener was critical.
I searched through Office Depot, Office Max, Staples, and who knows what other office supply store, to no avail. I searched in the office supply areas of Target, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, etc. Nada.
Desperate to find a solution, an idea struck me as I stood in one of the aisles at K-Mart. My mind jumped clear out of the box and told me to check the sporting goods section.
As I walked down the aisle that's lined with fishing tackle, suddenly I saw them: snap swivels. Fishermen use them to swap hooks and weights on the line without having to re-tie their knots. These were perfect! Each has a little swivelly thing you can attach to something else, like a keychain. Each has a little loop that snaps open and is just the right size to fit through the punched hole in the beeper cards. They work splendidly!
So, every year, on or about July 1st, I make a pilgrimage to the fishing tackle section of K-Mart and buy hundreds of snap swivels.