Printer Blues

To put it bluntly, I was boiling with anger.

Tempted by the advertising, a full page spread in The Sunday Times, I drove to PC World in Canterbury. The traffic jam started a good half a mile from the shopping mall and the idiot who planned the car park never thought that having a single entry and exit road onto a roundabout is a really bad idea.

When we eventually managed to reach the store, I took my voucher to the printer section and asked for the Hewlett Packard printer which was on sale. “Sorry sir, sold out”, was the reply “but we will be getting some of those in next week but we can’t reserve them.”

Tempted once again by the prospect of a change to the world of the Apple Macintosh, I looked again but was quickly put off by the price of the software that I would have to buy to go with it. Looks as if I'll be staying with Windows for now.

All around me, I noticed budding “Silver surfers”, looking for their first Personal Computer, a decision process which could involve a lengthy interrogation of some poor store attendant about something called the Internet and something else called Windows. God help them all I thought, here comes the next wave of zombie PCs, with a 100,000 viruses to choose from, Granddad will be in the hands of the Russian Mafia, before he’s worked out how to configure his printer.

Staying with printers, I settled for an Epson Photo RX425 with £20 off but still expensive at £99.99. All part of the plot I guess, get me along to the store, have nothing that I really want for the price and leave me with the option of going home or buying the next best thing.

With the benefit of hindsight I would probably have avoided the Epson because it was only after arriving home, that I remembered reading somewhere before that they had – allegedly – been accused of overpricing their ink cartridges. Anyway, I unpacked the printer / scanner, which looks nice and installed it.

Hold on, there’s something missing. I started to boil. It’s a PC printer but guess what, in the best stingiest, meanest tradition, Epson have not included a USB cable with the printer. I guess I’m lucky they gave me a power cable. Perhaps they expect me to carry one around with me or have one lying around to connect the PC to the printer?

What I had to do was to take the USB cable from my HP printer and use this to attach the Epson to my PC. The next time I go out, I now have to go looking for a new USB cable, which anyone might reasonably expect to be in the box.

This is what I mean by “God help Granddad” among other things. He opens the box and a vital cable is missing but not really knowing what a USB cable is, he’s at a loss to understand how the printer might connect with his PC and would have to drive back to his nearest computer store to ask.

There is no excuse, Epson or anyone else, for cutting costs and leaving out vital pieces of equipment. It angers and frustrates customers and as a consequence, I promise not to buy any of your equipment again in future and worse still, thousands of people will read this Weblog and perhaps go elsewhere for their printer scanners.

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