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Woman's epic conversation with her printer proves they are designed to drive us all mad

Anyone who has owned an inkjet printer knows the invention is rife with complications and frustrations. We managed to put a man on the moon five decades ago, but we still can't create a printer that works like it's supposed to? Really, humanity?

All we want is to be able to push a button and print the thing. That's it. So simple. We've been carrying complex supercomputers around in our pockets for years. I can send a video to my friend on the other side of the planet in a matter of seconds. I can tell you right now exactly what the weather is like in a tiny town in the Arctic. Printing a damn form in the room I'm sitting in really shouldn't be this hard.

And how about making it so we don't have to sell an organ to afford printer ink, please and thank you. Did you know that the cheapest printer ink costs twice as much per ounce as the world's most expensive champagne? And pricier inks cost upwards of seven times that? It's literally one of the most expensive liquids on the planet, and it's not like we're injecting it into people to save lives. It's freaking ink. And unless you're printing things constantly, that liquid gold tends to dry out before you can use it all anyway, making it functionally even more expensive.

Get it together, people. We shouldn't have to live like this.


You may wonder if printer woes are a distinctly American phenomenon, like some kind of annoying marker of late-stage capitalist dystopia. The pain almost feels purposeful at this point, doesn't it? Like printers are some sort of sociological experiment designed to test our mettle and weed out the winners from the whiners. Is it the printer, or is it me? Maybe I'm just an idiot.

Or maybe I'm an idealist who thinks putting ink on a page in my own home shouldn't cause me this much mental angst.

I know I'm not alone in these thoughts because pretty much everyone I've talked to about this topic has expressed the same sentiments. And judging by this hilarious viral video from the U.K., our friends across the pond deal with the same kinds of printer woes we do. The only difference is they hemorrhage money in pounds instead of dollars.

Check out this hilarious conversation between writer and comedian Stevie Martin and her printer and see if you can't relate:

In defense of multi-function printers, I will say that having the photocopy/scan option does come in handy. But do people fax things anymore? I feel like it's been 20 years since I faxed something, but maybe that's just me.

The "I can't print in black and white without blue ink" thing is legit. As are the connectivity and wifi issues. As is finding the model number for the printer. (Whyyyyyy is that so hard?)

But the best part is when the printer says it's out of paper, Martin says she's looking at the paper, and the printer says, "Well, I can't feel it."

Why are you like this, printers? Why?

I actually solved 95% of my printer woes after years of wasted frustration and money by doing two things:

1) I bought a basic, black-and-white only laser printer. It copies and prints and so far has been far less of a pain than every inkjet printer I've ever owned. Laser toner is massively less expensive than inkjet ink, and though laser printers themselves used to be a lot more expensive than inkjet, that's no longer the case.

2) I use a local print shop for printing things in color. I used to assume this was more expensive than printing at home, but as infrequently as I print things in color, and as frequently as my color cartridges would dry out, I figured out the cost of color printing at home was far higher than paying someone else to print things for me.

But for those who absolutely need an inkjet printer at home, for whatever reason, the struggle is real. You're not imagining it, you're not an idiot, and you're definitely not alone.

(You can find Stevie Martin on Twitter, and if you'd like to buy her a cup of coffee to thank her for the laugh, you can do that here.)

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