Image: Dreamstime: Sergey Tolmachyov
Printers are dead. No one buys them anymore and no one even needs them. At least, that’s what you people say. By “you people,” I mean, you people who don’t buy or “use” printers anymore.
Well I got news for you: We all got together last night and decided that your days of freeloading are finally over.
By “we,” I mean those of us who still keep a serviceable printer up and running. In my case, I’m down to just one active printer from a high of five—a Canon all-in-one inkjet—while my only other printer, a Brother color laser printer sits offline as quiet as Chernobyl reactor 4 due to an unfortunate off-brand toner accident.
I still carefully track the ink on the Canon to make sure each of the individual six—yeah, six, count ‘em—color slots is sufficiently full and there’s a spare on hand for when the ink gets low. Sure, it’s annoying and expensive, but I like having a printer available to me at any time.
And the thing, is so do you people—it’s just that you don’t want to pay for it. Sure, you dismiss the need for a printer with a wave of the hand and make snarky comments about printers and the people who buy them. But every few months I get that ding on my phone and a message that reads: “Hey, are you home? Can I print something?”
Like a pass to a concert, a contract you need to sign, or a government form, and then another government form.
“How come you don’t have a printer anymore?” I ask. The response: “I don’t need one.”
And that’s where last night’s group meeting comes in. I talked to them—everyone who still has a printer—and we have collectively decided to stop enabling your freeloading ways.
No more Phish concert tickets, no more Braniff boarding passes, and no more passport applications will be printed for you at 10 p.m. on a Sunday.
Even worse for you people, freeloading off your office is coming to an end, too. You see, you think work doesn’t care or know that you’re firing off 100-page PDFs on the company printer, but those sharp-eyed facilities managers do. They know that those Ikea furniture instructions aren’t work-related and they’ve known it for years because every print job is tracked and monitored. It didn’t matter before, but with belts being tightened and fewer people coming into the office at all, your abuse of the work printer stands out like a sore thumb now—so yeah, you can only print work-related documents at work now. The memo—printed out—is on your hot desk.
So now you’ll have to fend for yourself and maybe truck your butt down to that 24-hour FedEx Center in the next town over at 1 a.m. and pay them 49 cents to $15 a page to get your hard copies.
It didn’t have to end this way, of course. Even though you’ve never so much as given me a buck for the printer use, I didn’t mind it, as helping others is built into the DNA of every upstanding printer owner.
But all the printer dismissal, all the shrugs and “who needs ‘em?” has finally come to a head, and told the rest of us what you think: That we’re either suckers for making our printers available to you, or ancient fossils for even maintaining a printer at home.
Maybe after you’ve racked up enough printing costs at FedEx, you’ll realize that, yes, you need a printer too. Until then, your printer-freeloading privileges are cut off.