Horse Penis strikes again

I will never buy another HP printer as long as I live

The long-awaited paperless office recedes ever more quickly, at least in most official offices. Here in the home office, however, my printer has sat idle for more than a year, probably because printing at the office has been available. But last week, I needed to print. Usual problems. Ink past its sell-by date. 1 All of them. Then discover I don’t have a full set of replacements. Order them, and wait for them to arrive. Pull out the old ones, stick in the new ones, throw the old ones in the bin. Discover that the new cartridges are of the wrong region.

Yup, we’ve been here before. But this time I know the score. I have real work to do, so I delay calling Horse Penis printer support. When I do so, a nice young man tells me that I need a cartridge from the old region in order to set the new region. The garbage has been emptied, but in a drawer I have a couple of unused ones. Fine, I say, I have one, but it is out of date. He puts me on hold while he checks with a technical whizz that an out-of-date cartridge will work. It will. He puts me on hold to wait for a (presumably different) technical whizz. I listen to Vivaldi and watch my credit leak out of Skype. Another nice person comes on the line and after we exchange pleasantries, names and serial numbers we’re ready to do the deed.

“So, you have a full set of the old cartridges,” Lauren asks chirpily.

“No, I don’t have a full set. I just have a couple, and they’re out of date. Your colleague checked, and said that would be OK.”

“Oh no.”

I listen to more Vivaldi while she does whatever she needs to before coming back on and telling me, not in quite so few words, that I’m screwed.

As calmly as I can, I assure Lauren that I know this is not her fault, and that there’s nothing she can do about it, but if she would mind possibly conveying a message up the chain that I for one will never again buy an HP printer, that would be grand. And as a parting shot, I say that I simply can’t understand why HP would actually undermine its sales in this way. At which, Lauren perks up.

“Oh, I can tell you why. It’s EU legislation, to stop people buying things more cheaply in another place, which harms the economy of both places.”

Which, of course, is complete tosh. I mean, it probably is EU legislation. But the argument is tosh. Furthermore, I have “US” cartridges made in Ireland, and “Europe” cartridges made in Malaysia, and the whole thing sucks.

{% pullquote %}The following day, I wandered down to a big shopping street to buy a new, cheap, monochrome printer for the occasional bit of printing I need done. There’s a laser printer for €60 whose cartridges cost €80, which I discover in the nick of time doesn’t play nicely with Mac. There are printers for less than €40, whose running costs I don’t even attempt to investigate. I know the model. King Camp Gillette was a genius. But {" a printer is not a razor. "} In the end I decided that no household needs more than one printer anyway, and with the help of a USB stick and good old sneakernet, the Main Squeeze’s unit would do for me too. {% endpullquote %}

Talking it over with my compadre, we agreed on three things. First, that the current state of affairs was a terrible thing. Secondly, that while the costs of entry to the printer market might be formidably high if you want to be pushing the envelope etc etc, if a company were to offer a restricted line (monochrome laser, workaday colour inkjet, pro colour inkjet) where both machine and consumables were fairly priced, we’d both be happy to Kickstart the hell out it. And finally, that the first company to offer 3D printer plans to make your own printer could have our firstborn.

  1. What, it goes mouldy? I mean, dried up I could deal with, but out of date? 

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