Printing Postures

Looking back, I realize that for more than a year I have had one problem after another with printers, with my printers. That’s no small thing for a writer. It isn’t necessary these days to send printed manuscripts to editors and/or publishers—most of them prefer electronic submissions. But writers do need to print out sections of their own or of others’ manuscripts for critiquing purposes. And sometimes, I really want to see a story I’m working on in black and white for myself, to really take it apart, realign scenes and/or paragraphs, see the way the words appear on the page, whatever. Also, I create all of my greeting cards on my computer and print them out. By “all” my cards, I mean hundreds. I have a large family, which keeps growing, and many friends and acquaintances, all of whom have many occasions for celebrations, acknowledgements, or regrets.

All of this by way of saying, I need a working printer.

I’d had a Hewlett Packard printer for many years and loved it. It had served me very well over the years, but the feeder rollers—or something to do with the paper feed—started giving me grief. I was low on money, not unusual for me, so purchased an inexpensive Epson XP310. I soon discovered that those little ink cartridges run low pretty quickly. And, even though the ink is low, not empty, the printer will not print. An error message appears on the mini screen, stating “Yellow (or some color) ink cartridge low.”

My HP printer would always continue to operate, even if one or more ink cartridges were low. The lower the ink color level was, the less of that color appeared in the printouts. I was fine with that, unless I was making a greeting card or some important document.

So, when the Epson XP310 refused to print the first time, I begrudgingly inserted a new cartridge. All too soon, I had the same problem and again, put in another new cartridge. It didn’t take me long to figure out that this was a black hole (or red, yellow, or blue holes) for my money.

I tried to get tech support to get the printer to keep printing even if one of the ink colors was low. Nobody could help me. So, I checked on line until I learned the name and address of the CEO of Epson and wrote him of my dilemma, explaining that I’m a senior citizen on a fixed income and this situation was not financially acceptable, nor was it productive. After a few weeks, I received a phone call one evening from a woman (can’t remember her name or title) who tried to appease me, but offered no replacement or return. A couple weeks after that, I did receive a package of Epson ink cartridges in the mail.

Recently, I contacted the CEO again, asking if I could return this printer to them. Received another phone call from a different woman who said they’d sent me cartridges and could do no more. She added that, since I’d purchased the printer more than a year ago (True. I just couldn’t deal with that on top of my more recent printer problems.), it had outlived my year’s warranty and there was nothing more they could do.

Meanwhile, in complete frustration, I bought a Hewlett Packard color laser jet printer and loved it. A huge thing, it plunked out all my printing jobs beautifully. Until a few weeks ago. There was a paper jam in the output tray that could not possibly be reached to pull out and there was no way to take any covers off to expose the problem and undo the jam. I couldn’t get Support to help me because it was obviously a technical issue that needed a printer mechanic to fix.

I wrote the Corporate Office of HP and immediately was turned over to a Case Manager. He sent me a refurbished same model printer and a packaging label for me to send my printer back to them. Turns out THAT printer too soon developed a 50.7 Fuser Error and would not print. At this point, I was horribly frustrated and really angry. I couldn’t find the Case Manager’s number, so called the Corporate Office again. She called back and said my Case Manager would be in touch soon.

And he was. He sent me a brand new, upgraded HP color laser jet printer that is to die for. State of the art, it’s beautiful to look at, but more important, it prints beautifully. I have the fax connected and set up (haven’t used it yet) and I am happy.

And I plan to live happily ever after.