Friday, May 19, 2006

Bastard of the Day

Today's bastard is Hewlett Packard for manufacturing and actually charging money for their Photosmart (sic) 1215 printer. I thought I couldn't go wrong with this printer -- my HP LaserJet 6P has been churning out pages longer than I've been married. But between driver issues, printer malfunctions, and paper jams, I have only managed to print four pages with this piece of junk over the past four years.

The 1215 has been crap from the day I bought it. Unfortunately, I didn't learn that until it was too late. I ordered it when I bought my first digital camera in late 2001 because I assumed I would be printing lots of pictures. I was wrong -- I didn't print any pictures because I displayed my work on the Web instead. During and after my cross-country bike trip, I pretty much forgot about the $300 paperweight, still looking pretty in the box. Since my LaserJet is better at text than any inkjet printer could be, I never bothered to install the 1215 until I had a color project. It was a disaster. I spent about six hours getting those four critical pages to print, cursing a blue streak until I was hoarse. Oh, and did I mention this was on Christmas Eve from 10 PM to 4 AM? Even if I had been able to contact tech support, the printer was already out of warranty.

I have tried everything to get this printer to work. Right now I need to print a few photos to mail to someone, and I'm going to have to do it at the drugstore because I'm giving up on the 1215. It is currently in a state of perpetual paper jam. Never mind that there is nary a shred of paper in it, jammed or otherwise. Every tip I can find online fails to solve my problem, even a "solution" passed along from HP tech support: "push the cartridge carriage to the left, disconnect the printer, pick it up and shake it back and forth upside down." If a good shake can't fix it, then there is just one thing left to do: leave the damned thing in the alley and let someone else try to fix it. I'm finished.

This experience has soured me on HP in general. When I was shopping for a new laptop, I was literally within a mouse click of buying an HP a dozen times. Then I'd look at the 1215 gathering dust and reconsider. I had no problem dropping an extra few hundred dollars to get an IBM instead.

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