The Printer(s)

I loved my HP Deskjet 6500A Plus. The Kodak printer it replaced went through ink like a 1950 Chevy would go through oil in 1984. Kodak advertised that their printers used less ink than anyone else’s in a campaign of lies probably devised by political advisers. Sell your weaknesses as strengths and people will believe it. God Bless America. But my nifty 6500A Plus scanned, copied, printed and faxed, and when the ink got low in any one of the four colors, kept right printing while advising me of the condition with each use. I seldom used colors, and I had the option of using only the black ink cartridge for ordinary printing. Kodak never gave me that option and dutifully always “made” black from a mixture of the four hues. And it stopped printing when a color was low. HP kept on trucking. A year after my warranty died I had a small problem with my HP 6500A Plus, the paper kept jamming. I had to pay a twenty-five dollar fee to have their techie walk me through fixing it, and if that didn’t work there would be no charge. She showed me how to remove the back cover and get into the paper rolling mechanisms, find the tiny piece, torn from a passing page, that was frustrating the works, and in fact I used that technique a couple of times subsequently. It tended to happen when I changed paper brands.
So, when I couldn’t find the culprit recently, after five pages in a row jammed up, I was willing to pay the two bits again to get it up and operational.
Well, they don’t support that model of 6500A Plus anymore, but they offered me a rebuilt 6700 Premium printer for fifty bucks less than the shelf price. Sounded good. I went for it. I was elated when they promised me the new (to me) printer would arrive the next day, because I use my printer every day. I edit my writing on paper. I can scribble notes, look at two pages at once, and do my work laid back in my recliner. Next day was a blessing in this time of the year given to being aware of blessings. HP, with all their world-of-business problems made me feel warm and fuzzy, a feeling I seldom get from American big business.
Next day I got an email from HP saying well, not exactly today. Seems they can’t send it until it shows up at some warehouse or other, but honest to goodness it will go out next day delivery when it does get to the warehouse. Which turned out be a week later. Well, it’s the time of year given over to being grateful, and that also means that everyone is jammed up, the delivery services, the increase in all kinds of orders, the intermediary depots disrupted by Sandy, and hell, a week isn’t that bad.
I gently opened the box, lifted out the sparkling-like-brand-new HP Deskjet 6700 Premium e-all-in-one printer, pulled off the couple of pieces of magnetized protective film paper, opened the bags containing the USB cable and the power cables, put the power cables – the adaptor portion that plugs into the printer and the connection cable that plugs into the adaptor and to the power source -installed them (too fancy a word, but it’s the appropriate word) and pressed the On/Off button. Nothing happened. I checked the three connections, the one from the power source, a nice little surge protector, the one where the power cable plugs into the adaptor, and the one where the adaptor cable plugs into the printer. It does seem to me that the jack that plugs into the printer feels a tad loose, but the snap-lock that holds it in place is locked, it just wiggles a bit more than I would like. I hold the On/Off button for five full seconds. Nothing. What else to check? I break out the manual. It tells me to do what I have just done.
I call HP tech support. Oh, they are so pleased I have chosen to call them and they would simply love to resolve my problem immediately. Have I tried pressing the On/Off button? Yes. Okay, now is the cable plugged into the power printer plug at the back of the printer? Yes. And is the cable plugged into an electrical outlet? Yes. Hmmm. Have I tried wiggling the jack at the point where it plugs into the printer? Yes. Okay, and am I sure the the adaptor is plugged into the power source? Yes. Um, except it is not the adaptor that plugs into the power source, the cable from the power source plugs into the adaptor, then the cable from the adaptor plugs into the printer. No, the adaptor plugs into the power source. That’s impossible. The cable from the adaptor has a jack appropriate for the lesser amount of current that comes from the adaptor, That cable cannot be removed from the adaptor. That’s what the adaptor does, it adapts the current from 220 to 12 or 15 volts or something safe like that. Wait a minute.
The scenario I have just described occurs three times over the next forty-five minutes. She insists the adaptor plugs into the power source. But, to iterate, the cable, the only cable connected to the adaptor is inserted permanently into the adaptor. On the other side of the adaptor there is a plug into which the jack from the power source must be inserted. Please wait. After too long she comes back to tell me that they will send me a new adaptor cable since it appears the jack from the adaptor into the printer is loose. She will now connect me to the Case Manager who will verify all my information and send me off the necessary part. Fine. Thank you.
Okay sir, I’m Hugo, the Case Manager and I’m going to take care of your problems right now. Let’s start with getting all your information, what is you name? I sigh and begin the whole megilla: address, zip code, email address, case number from the original call about the old printer, which by the way sits on a chair and awaits me to take it off to wherever you take old printers in Raleigh, and, I think, the last four of my “Social,” Okay, so now he’s going to send me the cable that runs from the printer to the adaptor.
Whoops. I hope you’re going to send me the cable which is permanently attached to the adaptor because . . . I think I’ve been through this before. We go through it again for another twenty minutes. Yes, yes. He’s going to send me the adaptor, which has a cable that plugs into the printer. Wonderful! How soon will it get here? Well, he can send it guaranteed over-night delivery if I’d like, it will only cost thirty-seven dollars. Stupefied. I believe that is the appropriate word. I want to hang up, but I’ve already invested two or three hours in this process. I explain that the printer was originally supposed to get here a week ago, and instead only came today, and that I am becoming discouraged in my dealings with HP. He’s very sorry for that, but this is the process and these are the options he is authorized. Overnight for thirty-seven, two to three business days for seventeen or a week or so for free. I grip my serenity and tell him quietly that HP is doing itself no favors treating a previously favorably inclined customer in this way, and this means I will be without a printer for two weeks whereas I could have gone to Best Buy and bought another brand and have been happily printing now for a week. He is, of course, very sorry for what has happened to me, in his sightly accented English, and he understands my frustration, and do I want the guaranteed overnight for thirty-seven dollars or the free one week or so delivery? I sigh deeply; free one week. He tells me he will be informed when it is delivered and he will call me at that time and assure that the new cable works.
Late yesterday afternoon the new cable arrived. I deny myself the pleasure of being a little boy with the first box on Christmas morning. In demeanor calm and humble, absent fever or need, I apply scissors to the unrippable polysomthingorother bag, remove the cable, plug it into the printer, drop the adaptor down near the surge protector, plug the power cable into it, stand and gently bear down on the On/Off button for five seconds. Nothing happens. Serene and undisturbed I double check all three connections and they appear to be solid.
My phone rings. It is Hugo, the case worker who promised to call when the cable arrived. Did it arrive? Yes. And the printer works okay, now? No. No? No.
Okay. Hugo has a process. HP will now dispatch a brand new, non-rebuilt, never before used HP Deskjet 6700 Premium e-all-in-one printer to me. Hugo will contact the distribution point and see that it is sent to arrive by Thursday night or Friday morning. They do ask that I commit to return the one that is not working, they will include prepaid Fedex labels to accomplish that. Just like that? Yes, just like that. Well, beat that with a stick. Okay. Let’s do it.
So, now I simply wait two days to see where this story goes. I believe strongly that the new printer will work. I am a fan of HP printers, as I said originally. Aside from the time involved I believe HP has handled this whole thing very well. I will have a brand new printer that does everything but make my breakfast, at fifty dollars below cost, and I have dealt with people whose interest in satisfying me was obvious, despite the the two techies who didn’t know which end was which. They were working from scripts, and their English left something to be desired, but they were eager to please and worked hard at understanding. My girl friend asked me how much the brand new one sells for at Best Buy. Instead I checked to see for myself how much it sells for directly from HP – they just marked it down twenty-five bucks!

Chuck Galle November 2012

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