Sunday, February 18, 2007

Command + P

I'm convinced that color printers are a scam. Everything about them is infuriatingly designed to be as counter-productive and expensive as possible. I'm convinced its a conspiracy on the part of Kinko's and Kodak photo centers in drugstores everywhere to keep themselves in business during the heaviest battle of the D.I.Y. Revolution. These companies and others are relying on the consumer becoming so frustrated with their HP MoneyPit 3000 or their Epson Print-n-Shred that they'll actually cave and come to their stores to have their photos developed the old fashioned way--inside the belly of a giant, whirring contraption that keeps customers and employees alike baffled as to how it works.

To support this claim I provide the classic examples of printer frustration: the persistent paper-jam. the $30 ink cartridges which contain exactly enough ink to print one beautiful, automatic test-page. The refusal of full black cartridges to work until the color one has been replaced. Until now everyone merely assumed it was companies such as Hewlett-Packard keeping themselves contentedly in business, even to the extent that they started giving away printers for free provided you bought a set of inks. But this system doesn't exactly add up.

Think about it. When a product doesn't work, and consistently fails to work, people stop buying it. When a computer OS, for example, is riddled with bugs and virus loopholes and a bizarre tic that freezes your cursor in a corner but still allows you to move around and click things, consumers stop buying it and eventually the manufacturer stops making it. It is no longer a wise business decision to continue making products that people don't want. Thus, the only reason why these shitty rip-off printers keep being manufactured is because people keep buying them. Which is stupid, but somehow--either through advertising, subliminal messaging, or outright ignorance--people keep thinking that its better to put up with this piece of crap than to take their film rolls to the drugstore (which, like hybrid cars, has turned out to Not be cheaper in the long run.)

So long as we idiots keep being swindled by these obviously contrived highway robbery systems, the printer manufacturers are not going to improve their products. They don't have to, and moreover they don't want to. They're benefiting from our continued purchasing of inefficient, jammy, shoddy printers--ink sales are up, replacement printers are up, home repairs are impossible. Then Krishna Copy and print labs are there to catch the rest of the people who've gotten fed up enough to toss their personal printers in the bin. No matter what, unless you can employ a personal scribe, you have to use these people's services in order to run business and maintain personal affairs. The modern world has not yet reached a point at which we can function without the ability to put words on paper, so we are essentially these people's pawns. Me, i'm just going straight digital from here on out.

1 comment:

PartyingMyPants said...

very good blog. it seems these printer companies' business model is very similar to the way in which i approach relationships: keep the expectations low.

when people don't expect much out of you, it's difficult to disappoint.