What to Do When Your Printer Breaks

One of the most frustrating experiences with technology is when, for no explicable reason, things just stop working. Printers are no exception to this rule.

One day you’re printing a bunch of documents and the next, you’re dead in the water. The paper is jamming, the ink is smearing, or just nothing prints at all. Or you get the mysterious red flashing light that gives you little indication as to the true underlying problem.

If you feel alone with these issues you’re not. In fact, Matthew Inman has created what I think is one of the funniest depictions of printers on his site, The Oatmeal, with his piece called Why I Believe Printers Were Sent From Hell To Make Us Miserable. Warning: some of the language used on this linked page may be slightly not safe at work, so please read at your own risk!

How to Fix Any Printer Problem

Ok, so now the answer you’ve been waiting for – what do you do when your printer breaks. Do you really want my answer? Ok, here it comes.

Buy a new printer.

Yup, it’s that easy. The way I see it, it all boils down to this. You can spend hour and hours trying to figure out what is wrong with your printer. Or you can spend even more hours on the phone with technical support and pray you get someone capable of helping you. And you still risk having to buy some new part for your printer (like a drum unit) that costs more than the printer itself.

Yes, we’ve reached the point where printers are completely disposable. Use them until they die, then throw them away (er… I mean recycle them) and get a new one.

A Perfect Example

Let me show you how this works by example. The printer below is a Brother HL2270DW black and white laser printer sold (as of the time of this writing) on Amazon for $89.99.

Brother Printer HL2270DW Wireless Monochrome Printer

This printer is an excellent printer and will suit the needs of almost any home user (business users or users who print larger volumes of documents will want a better model). That being said, let’s just say that the printer breaks after only two years. How many of you would happily pay $45/year to have a laser printer? Or if it lasts 3 years, $30/year?

Get my point? Stop fretting over a broken printer and just replace it. Your time and money are worth more than the hassle of dealing with a broken printer.