Thursday, March 01, 2007

Why so hard to buy a colour printer?

The price of colour laser printers has dropped from the previously stratospheric levels of $10K. Time to look for a replacement for the ink jet?

The problem with doing this is that neither the printer manufacturers nor the computer supply shops have realized that most people want to know the price of the consumables BEFORE buying the product. Being told that copies cost $0.09 each does not do it for me, I am a suspicious person and it makes a big difference to me if I have to buy 3 cartriges at $180 each or $50.

The reason I want to dump the ink jet in the first place is the extortionate cost of ink. Ink for inkjet printers costs more than five times as much as the street price for top grade heroin. Yes I know all about razor and blades business models, the point is to avoid being trapped into them as a consumer.

Looking up the price of printers on Amazon was difficult enough. For some reason they seem to think that when I ask to sort printers by price I mean something different. What I really want to do here is to identify the colour, non-ink jet printers but those searches fail completely because a multifunction printer with a color scanner is put in the colour printers group. None of the printer descriptions make it easy to find out the cost of consumables. Hey guys, you have only had twelve years to work this stuff out.

While surfing Amazon I notice that OfficeMax sells remanufactured cartridges for som printers - aha! Only the OfficeMax site won't give me a list of cartridges they sell so I can use them to help select my printer. Oh no, they will only let me know what the price of the cartidge is if I tell them which printer I have first.

Meanwhile Dell appears to have no interest in selling me a Windows Vista PC with a 64 bit O/S loaded. The only model they seem to sell that works for me is the Dell Precision 690 and Dell will only admit that it can be configured for 64 bit operation if I go through a particular purchasing route which does not allow me to use the discount I am entitled to through my employer. On the other hand Dell will tell me the price of cartidges for its printers.

Why make it all so hard here?

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