I have once again regained my senses and realized that printers are basically devices to siphon money from your pockets in the form of ink.
My not-so-beloved Epson NX300 died recently, cause of death unknown. It was a pretty basic model, but it did have the quadfecta of all-in-one printers: printer, scanner, copier and fax. I didn’t use the fax all that often but when I did it really came in handy. The document feeder was also a step up from what I had before, which was a 1 page at a time machine. However print quality was fair, color printing was sketchy, and it tended to need a lot of TLC from time to time. It also tended to drink ink, which I tolerated as it was cheaper than most inks at about $13 a cartridge (though it took 4).
Recently though it quit printing in color. Repeated attempts at head cleaning and nozzle-checking didn’t help. It’s probably 3-4 years old, which I guess is 107 in printer years, but I was optimistic. I contacted Epson tech support by email, whose first response was “use genuine Epson ink.” So then I bought a new black cartridge, as I was using a 3rd party brand (which had worked fine before). I put the new cartridge in and it recognized it fine. But then after trying again to check the nozzles it read that it was empty. I took it back to Target thinking it was a bad cartridge.
I then went to Staples and bought a box of all four cartridges, which was about $40, top start fresh. I put them in and still no color and it wasn’t reading them as full consistently either. I called Epson again, and here’s basically what happened:
“Hi, my printer still isn’t printing color.”
“Take them out and reinstall them, then run the nozzle check and cleaner.”
“Ok…still didn’t work.”
“Sounds like a hardware issue – here’s a list of service centers and a link to our customer loyalty program to get a new printer for yourself, where we sell overpriced printers at 15% off.”
So of course I’m angry, and concerned that now I’ve spent $40 on useless ink that doesn’t fit any current Epson printer. I go to Staples and try to return the ink, sob story in full effect. No luck there either, but I can’t blame Staples for not accepting opened and used ink (I was actually quite surprised that Target took it back).
End result, I’m $40 lighter in the wallet, printerless, and never buying another Epson.
It seems like we have two options when it comes to home printers: cheap ones which can basically get tossed when the ink runs out, as the cost of 2 ink refills is more than the cost of the printer, and high-end ones that may last longer, but only because you can justify the repair cost when it breaks because you spent $350 on it.
Oh – and when I asked if they made any printers that still took my ink, he said they didn’t because the new printers that they roll out also usually require new cartridge formats. The ink cartridges you purchased a year ago may not be compatible with this year’s models. Sound like planned obsolescence?
The upside is that I wanted to upgrade to a wireless printer anyway, so this was prime time. As there weren’t any significant sales I hiked on down to Wal-Mart and got a Canon MX340 that scans, faxes, copies and prints wirelessly all for about $80. It took a couple minutes to get it to play nice with the iBook, but has been flawless since.
At least until it breaks…