From Our ReadersThe Unspeakable Evil of PrintersFrom Our Readers

Did you ever meet a printer that wasn’t completely and utterly infuriating? The sinister machine lurks in the corner of almost every study or office. The printers of the family newsletter (printed in Comic Sans, natch), the printers of those slightly inappropriate pictures you think are hilarious when drunk but should never see the light of day. In other words unspeakable evil. “Machines of despair.” They sit churning out any old trash we feel the need to type out or photoshop. Perhaps it’s this endless stream of garbage they are forced to produce that drives them to commit printer suicide with the words you never want to see ‘Paper Jam’. Second only to the Windows ‘wheel of woe’, a paper jam has us dropping to our knees in offices and homes around the globe screaming in frustration.

They silently wait, seemingly loyal and inoffensive, but when it comes to printing actual work or more crucially job saving stuff … well you’re in trouble. This is the printer’s optimum time to ruin your life. The minute it emerged from the factory conveyor belt this was it’s destiny– to chew up your lengthy but tedious report on why your sales figures have been slightly poor this month. Just for fun it might decide that despite being perfectly capable of connecting with your computer for months, it now can’t see it.

A printer is never happier than when it has ingested half a ream of paper yet smugly sits there like nothing’s wrong. This prompts you to spew forth a stream of offensive bile so strong even Chris Rock would be repulsed by you. Once the jam is cleared the printer will then rearrange it’s innards in such a way that makes you think all is well. The efficient sounding clunking and clanking is all part of it’s web of lies. As soon as it stops you’ll get another error message. Don’t bother phoning the technical helpline, it’s neither technical or helpful in most cases. Someone in a distant land will only ask you if it’s plugged in. When you inform them angrily that of course it is, “What do you think I am? An IMBECILE?” They’ll politely tell you to unplug it and wait thirty seconds. I can only assume this thirty seconds was invented to score another fifty cents from us via their premium rate helpline in our darkest hours. “The printer is unplugged! It has no idea how long for.”

History has taught us nothing. From when I first set foot in an office and used an old dot matrix printer, to today, all the laser-jets under the sun still can’t function without merrily snacking on some paper. We’ve invented wireless printers but they are still the same malevolent devices with slightly less wiring. We have laser printers, yet still the printer finds new and exciting ways to ruin us, except we’ve given them lasers which surely the printers will one day use as weapons. It’s not too much to ask the good folks at HP, Lexmark or Brother to invent one that doesn’t make me want to throw it out the window, is it?

I don’t know about you, but I like my office equipment to be loyal, like a puppy for example. A puppy might come into your house and chew everything in sight or pee on your Ikea sofa, but in time you build a bond and despite the nasty stain on the underside of that cushion, all is well. You can NEVER trust a printer though, no matter how steadfast yours appears. No matter how faithful it’s been, at some point it’s going to turn.

You can read more from Rebecca Lomax here.

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