Got hosed by printer salesman, now I want your help!
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December 2, 2010, 10:11 AM
Join Date: Sep 2010
You got hosed, but not so much by the salesman as by the brutal industry that is printers and accessories.
The salesman probably didn't lie to you, he just likely knows little to nothing about the product he's selling, which is common in chain-store sales personnel. He also likely is told to push that certain printer for a myriad of reasons, including but not limited to having a bonus assigned to each one he sells. A Salesman will always recommend whatever he makes the most money on unless you give him specific criteria.
Not really dishonest, but not really working in your favour either.
Here's where you got hosed and will continue to get hosed:
The money is in the Ink.
There is very little markup on ink and toner.
No consumer grade printer will perform as well as you think it should.
Inkjet cartridges will cost you between 30 and 80 bucks for a complete colour and black replacement.
Toner cartridges will cost you between 60 and 140 bucks for a replacement (monochrome).
Typical lifespan of ink carts is going to be around 200-300 pages on average quality settings, while toner is going to run from 1000-3000.
You're going to be spending as much or more for replacement carts as you did on the printer no matter what. It's how the industry works. And believe me, retailers dislike it just as much as you do because of the aforementioned cost/ profit ratio problem, as well as the whole 'having to deal with irate customers as a result of low ink yields' problem.
There's no way to escape all this, but you can lessen the damage to you wallet by following these steps:
1. Think really hard.
"Do I actually
a printer? or do I just think I should have one?" Ask yourself this question often, and be honest. If you are an academic, work in advertising, run a choir or musical ensemble, or have an up-and-coming band that needs show bills printed, you probably have a good reason to buy one. If you have used a printer less than once a month in the last year, you likely don't. Even if you have kids in school, invest in a USB Thumb Drive for each child, and make arrangements to use a printer at School if they can't just pass the drive off to their teacher.
2. Research research research.
A printer is an investment. Depending on your usage it may cost you
upwards of $500
(including initial purchase) to run this thing for a year! If this makes you wince, refer to step 1.
Still with me? Buy a printer that suits your specific needs. Will you be using colour frequently? Don't buy a printer with colour functionality simply because you *might* need it. Many printers (Ink and Laser both) will not allow you to print monochrome if your colour cart is empty or unavailable. That can be an awful source of stress and waste of money when you need to print an 800 page Master's Thesis in 2 hours but instead are driving to staples to stock up on Cyan #ML-3160 (which is currently out of stock).
3. Research research research (pt. 2).
When selecting a specific printer, try not to pay as much attention to sale prices, online reviews, or Consumer Reports as you do to which printers local businesses and offices are using. Do you have a friend or relative who works in an office? what do they use? Do they like it? Why? Ask the Salesman what they're using in-store!
These printers may not be regular stock, and/ or need to be special-ordered. They may be relatively more expensive. The reason why you want one is because the ink/ toner will be readily available for a long time to come.
4. Adjust your settings.
Many printers look just fine for everything but Corporate-level presentations on Draft. Your Kids' assignments will look good enough for School on Fast-Draft. Get aquainted with your printers settings, see what the same document looks like on each of the quality settings, and take the lowest acceptable setting as your default. Double-check before you print. This can turn a 1000-yield cart into a 2000-yield cart!
5. Don't refill.
Unless you're getting cart refills done by an authorized service center, refilling is a pretty big gamble. Most carts are designed to stop you or anyone else from refilling. You will eventually end up damaging your machine.
Think of it this way: There's Kraft Dinner and then there's home-made Mac-and-Cheese. Kraft Dinner is quick and cost effective, but if you only eat Kraft Dinner you will get Scurvy. Home-made Mac-and-Cheese, while more expensive, contains food.
6. Review step 1.
"It's just a printer! You'd have to be a nut to put this much thought into a printer."
It's not just a printer, you spent a portion of your life earning the money you will use to purchase and maintain this thing. A printer you don't need is a waste of your time. Many document printing services (including Staples) are quite reasonably priced and convenient. Take a look at what is available in your area on on your route. Pop in, say hi, and see what their rates and services are like, then go home and calculate how much it will cost to use them exclusively vs. use your own Printer, Paper and Ink.
Eat your vegetables. It's good for you!
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