... or maybe they just have it out for me. I'm not sure. Read on and let me know in the comments.
This story starts when I as a junior in high school. Realizing that I'd have to write a number of papers in college, I went out an bought one of the best laser printers printers on the market. I used $600 of my money from working at Papa Gino's and bought a Hewleet-Packard LaserJet 4L. I knew it was a lot of money upfront, but it was 7 years before I had to buy any more ink... and I printed all my papers and many friends' papers. I still have the printer today. It works like a dream... if only I could get it to work with today's computers that tend to only have USB ports. (I've tried a converter cable, but I haven't been one of the 4 people on the Internet who were able to get it to work.) I'm not the only either as you can still buy the printers on Ebay.
When I couldn't get that printer working, my wife and I realized that we should move on to something newer and better. We chose to go with one of the All-In-One printers, copiers, scanners, fax-machines, and dog groomers (just checking if you were paying attention). The other benefit I got was the ability to finally print in color. I wanted that Dororthy stepping into Oz experience. Of course since Hewlett-Packard did a great job before, they earned my business again.
We sprang for the HP L7650, which was around $300 (Having a blog is a great way to keep track of your purchases). Like my previous HP printer, it's still in good working order. So what's my problem?
Unknown to me, the L7650 has printer heads that require replacing every two years. There is an expiration date on them. We were able to get more than two years out of them, but a couple of weeks ago, my printer just shut-down and said, "No more. I'm not going to use these print heads any more" It wasn't going to use those printer heads any more. At least you get a warning with low ink.
My wife and I went on Ebay to look to see how much the printer heads. You can save a good amount of money buying printer ink on Ebay, so it was a natural place to look. The cheapest printer head was $55 after shipping. I probably should have mentioned it before, but the printer requires two printer heads - one for black and yellow and another for magenta and cyan.
The cheapest solution to getting this printer back working was going to $110. If I wanted to get genuine HP parts, it would be $140, plus shipping. I looked at OfficeMax online and a HP J4500 was available less than $80. We called up HP and asked if there was anything they could do. We don't want to recycle a perfectly good printer that simply needs two parts the size of a deck of cards - it is a waste and it's not environmentally friendly. HP told us that was the only option. Also, the ink cartridges that they used less than three years ago can not be used in any of the current models. I didn't realize that ink cartridge technology advanced so fast. (I'm being sarcastic as I think HP simply discontinues sizes every now and again to keep you throwing out and buying new ink every time you change printers. It only stands to reason because they have what seems to be a hundred variations of catridges.)
I'd like to say that we did the smart thing and voted for another brand with our wallet. However, that HP J4500 that we went with was by far the cheapest that fit our needs. It really is a shame that the printer companies decided to go with the cheap razor and expensive razorblade model... especially when they make it cheaper to buy new razors and dispose of old working ones.
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