On Printers and Printer Ink

By | January 1, 2020
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On Printers and Printer Ink

It’s New Year’s Day. There’s not a whole lot going on. I have a beef brisket in the oven, football on TV, and nothing on my schedule. It’s a Wednesday and a holiday so beyond football and brisket, there is not much else is going on.  I’m going to use the day to catch up on things.

Today, I’m going to set up my new printer.

The other day, I ordered a printer (free delivery) to replace a 2-year-old printer that says it has ink, but prints illegible things. It’s my 6th or 7th printer. I’ve had so many I lost count. Oh, don’t worry, I don’t have 6 or 7 printers sitting around my house waiting for me to issue the print command – I only have one printer.

The rest are resting in the landfill.

Let me back up. I had no working printers at all until UPS delivered my new printer yesterday – and hopefully, when I get it set up today, I’ll have one that works. And one that is full of ink.

The printer I was using (an HP by-the-way) was two-years-old. I replaced the ink in it twice, but it was haunted. It was haunted right from the start. My travails started last week, I needed to print out a bank statement to see why the bank showed I had $61.26 less than what I had – I hate it when that happens. Much to my chagrin when I punched the print button, my printer responded by printing 4 illegible pages that looked eerily like Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Oh, Nefertiti, I do love you, but not in my printer.

Yep, I did all the usual stuff you’d guess I’d do. I ran the print-head alignment thing, I did all the “Troubleshooting” things. I ran the HP Doctor. And, of course, I checked the ink levels. The ink levels were low but not empty. I thought I’d try putting in new ink cartridges and see if that would fix things. I hopped in the car and drove to Wally World (Walmart). Yep, they’re open today, the only holiday they honor is Christmas. Happy employees, I bet.

Wally World just “modernized” its local store. This means they remodeled nothing, they just moved things around. Modernized means shuffling stuff around and getting rid of the brands and items I like so they can replace them with brands and items I don’t like – or make more room for stuff I don’t like.

To get to the point: It took me ten minutes to figure out where they moved the printer-ink section.

After sorting though hundreds of different ink brands and model numbers, I found the correct ink cartridges for my printer. And what to my bloodshot eyes should appear – the new remodeled (read “higher”) prices. The black and white cartridge was $18 and the color cartridge was $29. In my world of limited math, that equals $47 not including a 7.5 % sales tax. With tax included, even my limited math skills, I could figure the total cost was going to be slightly more than $50. For INK? REALLY?

I was standing there surrounded by printers. Some of them were selling for LESS than the cost of ink for my cheap HP printer at home. For instance this Canon Pixma printer for $29…or an HP DeskJet wireless printer for $35. And they come with ink. The same ink I am about to pay $50 for!

This was not the first time I have tossed a printer because it cost more to replace the ink than it cost to buy a new printer. Big wheels keep on turning, my mind just keeps on burning … if I spent $50 for new ink cartridges and then my printer still printed hieroglyphics — I’d be out $50.

I don’t have $50 to throw away. I left Wally World without the ink cartridges.

When I got home I decided to do some online shopping – for a new printer. After searching Best Buy, Amazon, Target, Staples, etc. I ended up ordering an HP printer from Wally World – online – for $54.73 including tax and free shipping. AND INK!

It is a much better model than the cheapie I’m about to toss. For about $4 more than it would have cost to replace the ink for my HP DeskJet 2600 El Cheapo printer, I bought a new HP 5200 series – not-so-El-Cheapo printer – complete with ink.

I removed the El Cheapo, threw it in the garage. Then I set up my new HP 5200 series printer – which promised easy 1-2-3 setup.

Ha! There was no laughing going on here.

Oh, don’t worry. I finally got it set up but only after I realized that to proceed with the printer set up, I had to turn down the “HP Smart Ink” offer that was on my screen before I could finish setting up the printer. I clicked “Maybe later” (dumb mistake) on the free offer to join HP’s “Ink of the Month” club.

Anyway, my new printer is set up and printing real words, letters, and pictures. No more smudgy hieroglyphics for me!

Instead of spending $50.53 for two ink cartridges for an old, genuine El Cheapo printer, I’m am thrilled to tell you that for $54.73 – including tax –for a brand new, not-so-El-Cheapo printer, complete with two FULL ink cartridges. And it prints pages that I can read.

Why does ink cost as much or more than a new printer?

Thanks for reading my RANT.

21 thoughts on “On Printers and Printer Ink

  1. Robert F.

    If you are like me you went through all that and still have a $61.26 discrepancy with the bank. The printer companies make their money on the ink not the printers…strange but true.

    Reply
  2. Marjorie

    My most recent printer, about 18 months old, is not nearly as pleasant to use as the basic, simple HP that I had prev- iously for at least five years usage.

    Reply
    1. Norma

      I have HPEnvy Photo 6255 and I hate it. Big time. It was cheap and cheap is as cheap does. Back in August I was on line with the tech for this item for over3 hrs and believe me it was a trap…I ended up with a big bill them saying I had a virus. Well may be I did or maybe they put it there….LOL I don’t trust anyone anymore..Maybe this comes with age? Don’t know. This stupid printer takes so long to print out what I need and I sit here waiting for it to hiccup for me… I did eventually get a good deal but not after wrenching down their throats for a decent fix. The # I called
      was the one they printed out in their paperwork…Anyway just my little rant. LOL

      Reply
  3. Norris Kenwright

    Hi, I too have old printers lying around and this Christmas treated myself to a new Canon 3610 printer / scanner which has ink tanks so this does away with the cartridge cost, Genuine refills (after 6000 pages of prints) is $20 NZ per color tank ($13 US) and $30 NZ ($19 US) for black which is a larger tank. With a $30 cash back and full tanks worth
    $90 the total cost was $239 NZ ($ 165 US). A full set of genuine replacement cartridges for my old printer was $120 NZ. Hope the investment is worth it

    Reply
  4. Norm Koeckritz

    I have always used refilled ink cartridges from Amazon. I have never had a problem with these.

    Reply
    1. connie

      I bought”supposedly” genuine ink off amazon for a lot less than staples. Unfortunaley they did not even last
      3 months before the printer said it was out of ink. I have an hp printer that is 5 years old. I have considered replacing the printer but love how mine works but buying ink at a cost of normally $90 dollars is ridiculous. And I no longer trust buying ink off amazon. I usually print no more than 4 pages a week. A friend bought an hp for $50 at wally world. It does print ok but was not easy to set up and still has to be reinstalled a couple times.

      Reply
  5. Colleen M McAllister

    Only problem that I can see, well one of two, is that the ink cartridges that come with a new printer tend to have less ink thanthene you buy. (Second is the filling of land. Not a good thing.).

    Reply
  6. Sam, L.

    Yes I thought the same thing. Don’t they have electronics recycling in the good ‘ol U.S. of A.??
    There is in Canuck land and no, ours doesn’t end up on other shores as I have looked into it.

    Reply
    1. infoave Post author

      Thanks for the reminder – it’s done! Happy New Year to you too.

      Reply
  7. Dawn Campbell

    Well you have just ranted about something that has driven me nuts all along also. I managed to figure that out…that buying a new printer is the way to go. But be warned! A new printer doesn’t always mean it is going to work right either. Been there, done that. Lol. Thanks for the rant! Love it!

    Reply
  8. ralph king

    look into inkjet super store.ca. prices are very cheap. i use them and very satisfied.

    Reply
  9. June Trottier

    One other thing, they say good for so many pages…..never never is.
    such a ripe off and a shame, that the consumer is ripped off this way.
    We fall for it every time..( I do anyway ) tryed buying new so much cheaper..
    .but then
    happens again..

    You at thundercloud are a great help to me…always answers and help
    thanks for the good work….Happy New Year

    Reply
  10. Lisa Pigg

    I always base my printer purchase on the price of the ink cartridges. 😉

    Reply
  11. JonInOz

    Happy Printing TC/EB,
    Have you read the John Ruskin quote ?
    “It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When
    you pay too much, you lose a little money – that’s all. When you pay
    too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you
    bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The
    common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a
    lot – it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well
    to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will
    have enough to pay for something better.”

    I was made aware that the ink with a new printer is far less in volume than the new replacement ink , and the profits are in the sales of ink, not in the printer costs.
    After discussion with my local print shop owners I bought a Brother model for AUD$200.
    The shop sells a high quality generic brand of ink, $65 for three colours and a large volume thicker cartridge standard black.
    Brother make profits from their products, the printer doesn’t complain about the high quality generic ink as most budget printers will.
    The printer is five years old, my printer use is of high volume, photos, cards, and other coloured items.
    Each set of ink cartridges last for at least eighteen months to two years.

    “When you buy on price alone……………….”
    happy 2020, a good balance … (-: 🙂

    Reply
  12. Annabelle

    Just read your rant ! But you never told us if you found the difference in the amount of your bank account? I hope you did and bank was wrong.
    My last printer I bought with scanning capabilities is a cheap one from Cannon. The main reason I bought the one I did was because it only needed 2 ink cartridges instead of 5, like a lot require. I am happy with my low cost printer.
    Happy New Year ! Glad you took a day off for once. I don’t know how you keep up with all that you do, but happy you are there for us…… your Cloudeight family of computer learners.

    Reply
  13. Annabelle

    Forgot to tell you in my last post… I take my old technology things that don’t work to Staple’s. They take printers, scanners, old cell phones, and computers for no charge. Just a heads up to anyone reading this….but I would call your local store to make sure they all do recycle these items for free.

    Reply
  14. Sherry

    Love you guys! I’m no brainiac, you’ve helped me before on some pretty elementary stuff. Printers are the scourge of the earth. I have used many different brands over the years and have never had one that printed consistently the entire time I owned it.
    Part of the low price, I believe, consumerism. Many people buy the higher-priced models, thinking they are better, not necessarily so. The price of the ink defrays and makes the profit for manufacturing costs. Some printers are actually sold at a loss, which is made up quickly by the cost of purchasing ink. The ink cartridges that come with the printer have very little ink in them.
    Not all “remanufactured” ink cartridges at the same. Have you used one of those services where they pay you for your empty cartridges? They will recoup the amount they pay you and still sell the cartridge at a reduced price. Where do you think they make their profit? They aren’t giving you a real quality product out of the goodness of their hearts. I’ve used remanufactured cartridges and I’ve even filled some myself over the years. All will go well until it doesn’t! Then you’re in trouble. Did the reduced price of the cartridges make up the price of the new printer you had to buy?
    I don’t do vast amounts of printing, but the necessity is still there. Sure, my printer screws up every now and then, it’s the nature of the beast.
    The best deal I have found is to subscribe to “Instant Ink” though “hp”. No, I don’t own shares in the company and they have never given me payola. With “Instant Ink” I pay a set fee each month and they supply the “hp ink cartridges for my “hp” printer. It has worked out very well for me. You have to be a proactive consumer, see if this is something that would work for you.
    Another option in printing is to have someone else do your printing and ship it to you. There are many, many options involves with that. I use Sheet Labels for some of my non-urgent print needs.
    Well, there’s my food for thought. As consumers, we have to get much more proactive and protect ourselves. I am a senior citizen and watching what the government is letting big pharma do to my group.
    I hope all of you have a day filled with smiles from friends.

    Reply
  15. lew

    I gave up on inkjet printers years ago. I thought I did a lot of printing but apparently not. The cartridges would sometimes dry up and quit working. They were all-in-one printers. When a ink cartridge either went empty or dried up the scanner quit working. Money grubber HP wouldn’t let the scanner work until a new replacement ink cartridge was installed.

    I switched to a laserjet. It was more expensive. The toner cartridges are expensive. The toner cartridges last a lot longer. Also toner cartridges don’t dry up. Various studies have shown that the actual cost per page is cheaper with a laserjet than it is with an inkjet.

    Reply
  16. Jason Miller

    I guess I must be one of the lucky ones. I have an HP Officejet 6500A. I’ve had it for about 5 years now and never had a problem with it. I use after market brand ink and only had a problem one time. I had ordered 3 each of the 3 color tanks and 2 of the extra large black tanks. One of the color tanks had leaked while still in the sealed package. I sent the company a picture of it and asked them if they would please send me a replacement. They replaced the entire order. All 11 of them with an note of apology for my trouble. I have not needed any ink for quite some time now. I hope I still have their web site for my next order.

    Reply

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