One of the unfortunate parts of trying to run my own business is that I have very little money with which to do so. Since it’s not Christmas yet, all I have in the way of cash flow is some savings that I put aside and my (gulp) credit cards. I’m trying to mitigate some of my business costs with DIY solutions, but as I said before, my time is limited, and I’m only one person. So if I have to spend money, I have to be stingy about it.
Of course, Murphy’s law being what it is, just as I decide I’m going to save money by printing music and business cards myself, my printer breaks. I spent several hours swearing at the stupid thing, but the printer would not be moved to do my bidding. After trolling the tech forums for a solution, I found out that the only thing that seemed to work about 80% of the time was to replace the printhead, a part that would cost almost $70. Ugh.
Since that’s about as much as a whole new printer, I decided to take a trip to Staples and see what kind of multi-function machines were out there (my old printer was a Canon MP780 scanner/copier/fax/printer, so I preferred to replace all the functions if possible). Armed with my trusty Treo by my side to check prices on the internet while I shopped, I wandered the aisles, poking at Brother, Canon, HP, and Epson models.
I finally settled on two choices: a Canon MP620, coming in just under $150, and an HP Officejet J5780, which was on sale for $75. The Canon got better reviews, but the HP wasn’t bad, and the fact that I could get it for half the price of the Canon made me choose the HP. Unfortunately, it looked like other people had the same idea as I did, because there were no boxes underneath the display model. When I asked at the front desk, they said the only model they had left was the display model. I could either go to Marlton (14 miles away and a good 30 minute drive) and pick one up, or I could buy the floor model in front of me.
My inner miser spoke up and said I could save money on gas if I just took the floor model. After getting assurances that I could return it if something went wrong, I plunked down my $75 (plus $14.99 for a 2-yr warrantee) and walked away with the printer and a bag full of parts and directions (they couldn’t find the box).
When I got home and started putting the printer together, I realized that there was one important component missing: the paper tray. I called the store and asked if they happened to have a paper tray wandering around anywhere, and after being passed off to three or four people, I was informed that they did not have the tray. My two options were to return the printer for a full refund or go through the warrantee company to get the part replaced.
Hmm. Now this is becoming more trouble than it’s worth! I saved money on the printer, true, but if I have to drive back, return the printer, get another printer (and/or maybe drive to Marlton for their HP, if they still have one), I’ll have spent about $75 worth of time (and gas), which would make it equivalent to the purchase of the Canon. Or if I wait for the warrantee company, I could get the part shipped to me for free, but it’ll most likely take several weeks for the claim to go through. Argh!
I decided to go with the warrantee. Since I purchased it, I might as well make my $14.99 work for me. I jury-rigged the computer so paper can go into the printer with undue fuss. It’s not pretty, but it’s functional.