Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I love Hewlett-Packard
except when
I hate Hewlett-Packard

I'm sitting at the desk in my home office. I'm using an HP "Media Center" PC. To my right are FOUR different HP printers. I have a photo-quality inkjet, another inkjet used as a backup and for scanning, a little portable photo printer, and a monster-size Color Laser Jet.

My newest laptop is also an HP, as is my newest desktop a few miles away at my regular office.

Most of the time, I'm a big fan of HP -- but not this week.

On Monday morning, as I do on most mornings, I started to print an update of my business checking account. The Color Laser Jet would not print, and gave me a warning that I had to replace the cyan toner cartridge. This was particularly annoying because there was no advance notice, and I had been at both OfficeMax and Staples within the previous few days.

Later on Monday, I went to Staples and spent about $93 on a new cyan cartridge. I also spent about $93 on a black toner cartridge. I print more black than color with this printer and I like to have a spare on hand and was already printing with the cart that had been my spare. Including sales tax I spent about 200 bucks to be able to print two colors. That seems like a lot of money, especially since Staples sells an HP inkjet color printer for just $49.98 (including ink, and it also copies and scans).

After licking my wounds, on Tuesday morning I loaded my new cyan cartridge and clicked my mouse to print the bank info. The screen showed a list of recent transactions but nothing printed. The screen on my HP monitor told me that the HP printer had told my HP computer that it was unhappy. The printer's own little screen said the machine wanted a new yellow toner cart.

I had not printed ANYTHING since the previous day's cyan scare. No condition had changed. I'd think that with all of this mighty technology, the printer knew on Monday that it also needed yellow toner. Why wasn't I informed?

Soooooooo, yesterday I want back to Staples and spent another 90-something bucks. However, I did save $3 by returning the dead yelow cart.

Now it's Wednesday. I really should be looking at the bank's website instead of working on this blog. I really should be printing out the bank info. Somehow, the prospect of a low balance doesn't bother me as much as the prospect of my printer telling me I have to go back to Staples and buy a magenta cartridge.

I'm foolishly reluctant to try to print. It couldn't happen a third time, could it? I have other problems to deal with today. Sears is sending a repairman for the umpteenth time to fix our top-of-the-line $3,000 General Electric fridge that doesn't make ice and leaks water all over the floor. I had to turn off the house's main water supply because the idiot who installed the fridge did not install a shutoff valve for its water supply.

When we need to flush a toilet, I briefly turn the water back on, and then mop up the kitchen floor.

Later today I have to drive a few hundred miles for a funeral. I'm a little bit envious of the dearly departed. Dead people don't have to deal with GE or HP.

But, the show must go on. So, OK, folks, here goes.

I open the really cool HP package. I slice through the industrial-strength cushionioning and hear and feel the whoosh of air escape from the protective cocoon. I lower the front panel of the printer, extract the old yellow, insert the new yellow, close the front panel, hear some whirrs and clicks, and prepare to print the bank statement for the third time.

But, Noooooooooooooooooooo. Now this brain-dead piece of shit informs me that I have to go to Staples for the third time in three days (and the fourth time in five days) because it's thirsty for magenta.

I am not kidding. I am not making this up. At this point, I hate Hewlett-Packard even more than I hate General Electric. My printer won't print my bank info, but it does print money for HP and Staples.

UPDATE: Since today is a busy day and I won't have a chance to get to Staples, I decided to print the bank stuff with my HP Photosmart printer. It perversely informed me that I had to replace both the black and the cyan cartridges!!!

Fortunately I had them in my supply closet, so I'm a little bit happier. However, I am NOT happy knowing that as I sit at this desk I am surrounded by a small army of robot ink salesmen forever ready to extract money from me.

I loaded the "new" hermetically sealed cyan and black cartridges and was promptly informed that they are too old to be used.



  1. Kick ass! If appeals for logic don't work, try embarrassment or blackmail.

  2. I hate HP. HATE! I only buy Canon or Brother printers. And I would never buy an HP laptop, ever.

    Too many bad work experiences.

  3. To Michael,
    My name is Brian and I am part of the Sears Cares Escalations team. It sounds like there are some definite frustrations in your life right now and while I cannot help with the issues regarding your HP printer, I am very interested in the part of this post pertaining to your refrigerator. I am concerned that we are not doing all we can to resolve the issue if we have had to come out on multiple occasions. We most definitely want to talk with you to determine what needs to be done for you. At your convenience, please contact my office via email at and we can help. In the email, please provide a contact phone number and the phone number the refrigerator was purchased under (if different than the contact phone number) and we will call you directly. Also, in your email, please provide the screen name (Michael) used to post here for reference to your issue, and we do look forward to talking to you soon.

    Thank you,
    Brian J.
    Senior Case Manager
    Sears Cares