Hello. Today I am a consumer of a Lexmark product. A printer in fact, and I know I will enjoy this purchase, to help to better my daughter and son in printing out vital reports and such for their education. I know I am buying this $40 dollar printer with my families' budget in mind and I am sure that it is the best financial obligation I can bestow upon my family, at this time.
This printer will cost you sooooo much in the future you might want to go, “Office Space” on it, in the near future. (If you haven't seen “Office Space”, they beat the crap out of a printer with baseball bats and golf clubs) And please let me explain why.
Once along time ago, it seemed you could buy a printer based on its reputation and a name brand. Such as buying Ford, Chevy, or in today's era, like buying Toyota or Honda. Yes, these printers were giants of technology, i.e. They ran forever, the print quality was decent, and yeah, the price per page was decent. You would say to yourself,” I can print from home and save money, in comparison to the local professional printers, to save money, and the print quality was just as good, why not?”.
Well, my friends, the local printers have become only sign and banner makers, so I guess that part came true, in accordance to our lovely demand and supply, “free hand of market”, which has determined a lesser need for professional printing, and we are off and running, with our (Now, please let me timescale) in the 80's, doing tax reports, to in the 90's, taxes, spreadsheets, and even some color-graphed documents, to the 2000's where we are printing just about what ever pleases us, including: A. graphic design; B. Full color, High Quality Documents; and yes even, C. Full color, no border photos, of your style and format choice.
Wow, the 2000's rock right? I can print, at home, to my heart's desire. I can print spreadsheets, daily planners, to-do lists, i.e. - chores and the occasional honey-do lists, and my kids can print all the stuff they need for their school projects, IN COLOR!!!! Sweet times, right?
I say no. It is not as sweet as you might think. Please let me explain.
Even in this age, this era, this time unto which we were born, we could not expect to be just a number to a huge corporation. Alas, most companies in the world are paying huge money in advertising to let you know that you are NOT just a number to them, i.e. First Bank of Colorado (Great commercials), McDonalds(Pure beef, healthy for you.....er not), Wal-Mart, (One stop shopping or something, I am not sure) and even the Government, “Click It, Or Ticket”,(Well, at least someone loves me enough to restrain me to a several ton moving object, Thanks.) All these companies have one thing in common, YOU!! They love you, they need you, they want you, or well at least your money. You are not stupid, you know it. They know if they can inch their way in your head just a bit, you might just stop for that chocolate shake, that spontaneous bank account opening, or that occasional “forgetting” of the seat belt restraint. (Restraint.....mmm don't you love that word) But they truly all just want your business. And truthfully, they usually give what you expect of them. Wal-Mart, crappy products, McDonald's, crappy service, and the Government, crappy everything, but at least you truly know what you are getting into when you are dealing with them. Now let me take you to Lexmark, ohhh, shall we have fun.
Lexmark, the leader of crappy products, who has ensnared the world's governments with their low-cost(so they say) and high quality(er, haven't seen it yet) product, has easily befuddled the minds of our fearless and/or brainless leaders with the eloquence of their low bid,(or as I would say it, “We'll get you in the end!”) type of forefront, that it had to become a world-class, reputable, and quality manufacturer of printers. And up they came, I say, up they came.
Once, the low end of the totem pole, remanufacturing other big companies printer consumables, like Hewlett-Packard, Xerox, Samsung and even IBM, the once small company became an overnight success, with their low-cost “compatibles” to the highly-priced, extremely-competitive market of commercial printing, unto even striving to design and manufacture printers and consumable products such as, ink cartridges, toner cartridges, as well as separate drum units for said toner cartridges (“Brilliant”, says the devil of Capitalism) to such companies as Dell, Epson, and of course the US Government (er, Canada Government, too.). Now Lexmark has turned it's evil empire's eye upon you....the consumer, the customer, the layman, who knows nothing about cost per page, average printer life expectancy, drum life expectancy, or even certain contracts, that you enter into, within the purchase of your average everyday printer from Wal-Mart. (Imagine, them not selling a worthless product)
Today, I will speak about disclaimers. On the top of the box, upon the label of the printer you are about to purchase is a little “disclaimer” that typically states (in hard to read size, font, and wording) that the printer you are about to purchase has been equipped with cartridges that are, “UNUSUAL”!!
No friends, I wish it said that. In fact what it states is that the cartridges supplied are only purchased under the specific understanding that when said cartridges are “empty” (And believe me when I say that Lexmark's idea of empty and mine are different, they really are VERY different ideas. More to come later), that “YOU” as the purchaser “MUST” return said products(the cartridges) to Lexmark.
The underlying and unsaid parts of that are many. I will start with the first simple one. Where do you get the next set of cartridges? Well, I suppose most people will pay out of their nose for some new OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) cartridges. But let us take a step in realization for the layman here, for a sec. A black ink cartridge (Not a black and white ink cartridge, the white is the paper) consists of a certain amount of milliliters of ink. In America, we can usually say that a ml. (milliliter) weighs about the same as one gram, and most of the newer-age printer cartridges have between 5 and 20 milliliters of usable black ink. That is a whole lot of pico-liters(a pico is 10 times the raised power of negative 12) dots that can be sprayed upon a page, but as we all know, it is never enough, especially when the cartridge is not functioning correctly. (Another thing we will have to come back to, as it happens more often than you would like) This means that the amount of liquid in the cartridge is equivalent to the amount of printing you can do. (I am only going to pick on black for now, because it is easier and I am rather lazy) Unfortunately for the consumer, er..you, the CUSTOMER(Oh, wouldn't you like to wish Lexmark saw you as a person in capital letters) the amount of milliliters in the cartridges has fallen over the years, and the MSRP (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price) keeps going up. WAY UP!!! Once long ago, people were paying 30 dollars for an estimated 40 ml.'s of ink from HP (Hewlett-Packard), and commonly in the new era (2000+) we find prices to be more like 30 dollars for 20 ml.'s of ink from Dell, Canon, HP, and yes even Lexmark. Good you say? No, I reply. The printers that can use the high amounts of ink (LOL, 20ml's is a high amount???? What world do we live in??) can only be used in certain machines. This is across the board people. Only the higher priced machines, nowadays, are even allowed to use the higher “capacity” cartridges. I put the capacity in the quotations because the cartridges are actually the same size, physically, in most cases, and are just filled with less ink.......but your printer recognizes the difference, that I will tell you with a bit of pizzazz (Is that a word?) Your printer has limitations of which cartridges it will accept and which it will not, giving error signals such as “Wrong Cartridge” , “Unknown Cartridge”, “This Cartridge Has Too Much Ink In It To Be Used In Such A Cheaply Purchased Printer As You, The “CUSTOMER” (Ha-Ha) Has Purchased!!! Please, Look For The Smaller Yield Cartridge.(Sucker)” That is more truthfully the error that should be displayed. Are you catching on yet??
A low-yield cartridge can have as low as 5ml's of ink and still cost you almost 20 bucks. Check the numbers, people. (More expensive than Dom Perignon, some articles have said)
*************Buy a cheap printer, get stuck with limited supply of ink!!*****************
I love to find a great deal too, for my regular items around the house (obviously that statement weighs differently with different people and their particular needs) but the big boys on top of the printing world have made this item,(your printer), which I wish you would think of as (YOUR PRINTER!!!) as a common household item that can be maintained by you, i.e. Purchasing more cartridges, because it says it is empty, (He-He, believe everything you read, or do you think about it?) and in some cases print heads (if you don't know what one is, thank your heavens) or even imaging drum units (the bane of some government official right now, wondering if the Lexmark printer is truly less costly)
We buy these things, why, because we have to. Our homes would be in a wreck if we can't have the new-day commodity of being able to print things from home. And trust me, they make you pay. A lot!
Getting back to subject, the ink cartridges that Lexmark expects you to buy is their own. They want profit (Can't blame them, they sold you that piece of crap for 40 bucks) and they want you to send the cartridges, (when they are “empty”) back to them. Sounds good right? Makes sense, right? But, on your next trip to the Wal-Mart or such, you come to find that a pair of cartridges (the color, which has magenta, (pronounced ma – jenta), and cyan, (pronounced sigh-ann), and yellow, (well, pronounced yellow), and the black cartridge (not black and white)), are actually more costly than the printer was in the first place. What gives? Is this some conspiracy? Do they just want me to buy a new printer? (ER, I would) Should I have maybe looked into more options, like refilling the cartridges myself, (Lexmark hopes that you would have guessed that could be too messy, and if you haven't experienced it, it is, yet they have a back up plan --->>> More to come.) or perhaps purchase something from the Internet, (Usually don't work optimally, much to Lexmark's delight), or maybe take it to a local “cartridge refilling place” i.e. Cartridge World, Island Inkjets, Kaboodle, Walgreens, etc. Well obviously, I believe the answer would be: C. Take it to a refilling place. They often refill the cartridges at ridiculously less cost than Lexmark, even as much as 50% off of the MSRP. But surprise>>>>> remember when I said that Lexmark has a plan. They do, a huge one that has cost millions of taxpayers dollars in almost a decade long legal battles against remanufacturers and refillers across the world, (remember when I suggested that remanufacturing is where Lexmark got it's foot in the door of the printer world, in the first place?). Lexmark has won a legal battle in the Supreme Court (morons) that has allowed them to “kill” a cartridge when the printer identifies it as “empty”.
Let that sink in, please.
They can “KILL” the cartridge when it is empty. In other words, it can no longer function in any, or all, or even YOUR printer, ever again.(until Lexmark waves their MAGIC WAND over it to allow it to “Reset”, more about this later) What does this mean? Well, remember when that third option looked like a viable solution to getting rent paid on time or buying new OEM cartridges, Lexmark the “Lovely” just took that best-case-scenario out of the equation, for you, the customer(he-he), and if you bring in a cartridge purchased under the legal boundaries of the “Lexmark Return Program” neither the refillers, nor God Himself, can help you. You have to go buy a new OEM Lexmark (Oh, by the way, you basically break contract if you do not send those cartridges back to Lexmark, but I wouldn't worry, you're a loyal customer(he-he)) Unfortunately, the chances of that particular printer model being able to “use” a higher capacity cartridge(so you get more pages for your buck) are most likely out the window as well. (Uh, they need their profit, remember) And you once again find yourself in quite the predicament of not reading the fine print and being screwed by the big boys.
Well, don't worry you are not in bad company, as I said before, the U.S. Government, as well as the Canadian Government has been being screwed by Lexmark for years, and of course the US Government (morons) has just given Lexmark another “screwer” to play with.
Soooo, good luck Lexmark fans, loyal customers, and unfortunately the poor souls who have to buy the least expensive printer out there, so that they can put food on the table this week, because it will not be a cheap and inexpensive ride for you when you are riding with the “Devil'smark” er, I mean Lexmark Corporation.