Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Secret Of The Green Go Button

They love to screw you for money.

Especially with computer printers.

I gave up wasting time with inkjet printers. I don't print that much that often which means the cartridge openings dry out and plug up. To clean them to have to use more ink (meaning more money). And sometimes no matter what you do, a cartridge stays plugged.

The color inkjet cartridges are usually the ones that dry out. Print out a color photo and find it ruined with a purple overtone; the yellow ain't working. I gave up on the whole rip off when I couldn't get a cartridge to work, one half-full of overpriced ink. I decided that I would save money by printing my color images at a digital photo kiosk found at department or drug stores.

For black and white printing I decided to go with a laser printer which is nothing more than a photocopier hooked up to a computer. I bought a low-price home unit made by the Brother Corporation. The cost per page was supposed to be much less than an inkjet. The salesman told me that if the toner cartridge seemed to be empty, you could get more pages by taking it out, shaking it to loosen up the powder, and then re-installing it. I already knew that trick from selling photocopiers back years ago when I was an office equipment salesman.

So when the light came on the other day -- TONER EMPTY -- I did the shake-and-reinstall trick. Nothing. The printer wouldn't print.

I was pissed off because I knew I hadn't printed that many pages. The toner still had life in it. Print quality was still OK before the unit stopped.

After a few nugatory results with shaking-and-reinstallation, I checked the user's manual, finding the section about extending the cartridge's life. Under Troubleshooting: Improving the print quality, details on how to shake and re-install but no mention of the Go button.

I went online and did a Google search. I came across complaints from customers that the toner cartridges didn't last as long as advertised. Eventually I found the secret to making the unit work longer thanks to an user's comment: Press the green "Go" button after re-installing. Make sure to press it seven times.

Presto. The printer now works.

So why does the Go button have to be pressed seven times? Why not two or three? Maybe an engineer at the Brother Corporation was into numerology.

Regarding the user's manual, maybe someone forgot to add the detail about the Go button under Troubleshooting. Plain incompetence.

Or maybe the option for completely using up the toner was made arcane to increase profit margins. Whatever reason, customers are unhappy because they have to replace the cartridges too soon. What is needed is a smart competitor won't play such games and win customers over to its product.

In the meantime...

Fuck you, Brother.


X. Dell said...

Forgive the humor I see in this post (after all, it's at your expense), but this reminds me of a short story by Mark Twain, about his attempts to catch a mouse.

I can relate to your frustration. I also find it hard, sometimes, to be an analog man in a digital age==especially when a ripoff is a ripoff in any era.

Doug said...

Our Canon printer is having issues, and I find myself wishing there was a secret code for getting that to stop.

I've just given up printing.