I’ve had a personal saying for years now. Printers are designed, manufactured, and possessed by Satan. I hate them and they hate me.
There are, I suppose, good printers. Office printers seem to work well most of the time, but they’re not practical for home use at all. And come to think, the first time I used the printer at my new job I wound up dealing with a paper jam.
There’s a reason that copier smashing scene from Office Space resonates with so many people. Printer/copier/scanners are horrible to us. Consumer printers are particularly bad.
Consumer printers have this sinister business model where the actual machines are sold as loss leaders because you’re going to have to buy extremely overpriced ink as long as you want to use it. According to Consumer Reports, printer ink costs anywhere between $13 to $75 PER OUNCE. How is this not price fixing?
I hate, hate, hate the Epson printer in our house. It’s always been kind of irritating. I don’t print things often. It happens maybe once every other month. Partially I don’t want to deal with the stupid printer and partially I don’t need to anymore. A smartphone really minimizes the need to print things.
On the blue moon occasions when I do need to use the printer it’s often out of ink. If it isn’t out of ink, then it’s running low. Always.
This weekend I really needed to print something. It was 18 pages of plain black text – a simple print request. Now this printer doesn’t seem to work properly anymore because using the regular “text” print setting will produce smudged type. If you set it to “high quality” (even though it’s just text) it prints as you’d expect.
My print job got about a quarter of the way finished and then stopped. Out of ink. It’s the black cartridge that needs replacing, obviously. That’s the one I was using.
After throughly searching around the desk I determine that we haven’t got any new ink cartridges at home. It’s too late to run and buy ink so I’m out of luck. I was extremely annoyed, but it made sense.
Just in case, I Googled some workarounds to see if there was a way to get the printer to ignore the out-of-ink message. I had no such luck. I was pretty desperate so I tried changing the text to blue – the blue cartridge had ink. That didn’t work either. I didn’t think it would.
The next day, I ran out to the store to buy some black ink. As I walked in, I noticed two printers on clearance. One was a $50 Canon laser printer.
I’ve often thought about getting a monochrome laser printer. It’s really all I would need. Color is nice to have, but I usually just print pages of text. A monochrome laser printer would avoid the hassle of inkjets with their multiple cartridges that are constantly running out of ink.
I was so annoyed, I almost bought the Canon on impulse. But then I thought better of it and left the store with black Epson ink.
After satisfying the printer with the new ink it resumed the last print job. Apparently that was my request for blue text. The original print job was no longer there for some reason. Now I don’t need it to print in blue, but I figured I’d just let it go. There weren’t many pages left anyhow.
Turns out that was a terrible mistake.
I went off and did something else and upon returning to the printer, I discovered that IT HAD STOPPED AGAIN. Now the blue ink was gone and my print job still wasn’t finished.
Okay, I thought. This will be a simple fix. I’ll just make the text black again and re-send the print job. That’s what I did, but the error persisted. The blue ink was gone… so I couldn’t print black.
At this point, HULK IS GETTING ANGRY.
This makes no sense. I tried sending the print job again with the “monochrome” checkbox ticked. Still nothing. Nothing could get past that error message. Nothing short of giving Epson even more of my money for their stupidly expensive ink.
I can’t even express how horribly anti-consumer this feels. The necessary materials to print my request are IN THE PRINTER. Blue is not needed. The printer doesn’t care. I have to pay the piper. Again.
So I returned to the store. And bought the Canon laser printer. Apparently I should have done that in the first place.
Now I’ve got a laser printer which at least got me through my print job. I’m not ready to declare it the answer to my print woes yet. I’m sure something nasty will happen sooner or later. It’s a printer, after all and I don’t trust them.
I know, I know. First world problems. That’s completely true. But it’s also true that we should be capable of making better, cheaper printers and better, cheaper ink. With all the other stuff the human race has done, I have to believe that. Obviously the game printer manufactures are currently playing with consumers is more profitable than making better products. Maybe the devil makes them do it.
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