As a child I recall the promise of a paperless society. What ever happened to that idea? It seems as if the technology to bring us the paperless society has in fact made it easier and more convenient to print more than ever.
Where the line between needs and wants use to be very clear, in today’s society that line has blurred. For most of us, the thought of a home PC without a printer for our convenience seems ridiculous.
Recently I was in a local office supply store on another errand. The store had changed somewhat since my last visit. This including moving all printer inks to one large section. I stopped to contemplate the options for a cost conscious shopper in need of a new printer.
On occasion we’ve all heard comments from people about the expense of printer ink. We joke about the conglomerates that suck us in with the cheap printer only to rip us off with overpriced printer ink. Is that really true? All it takes is a different perspective on pricing to learn that some of us are paying as much as $4000 per gallon in printer ink! With that kind of mark-up you would think they would give us the damn printer!
Once I learned of the true cost of ink, how could I not take measures to reduce our use of ink? We made some easy changes to the printers default settings. This has cut our ink expense by half for the black ink and over a third for the color ink. On the one hand if feels good to know that five minutes with the manual can save significant money, on the other hand it is frustrating to think how much I have already wasted in the past.
With so many printer choices I began my quest with an inquiry to the store associate working in the area. Interestingly, when asked, the clerk threw out several “economical” options. He then when straight into is employee role (his trainers would have been proud) of selling me on the features and benefits of 2 brands heavily promoted by the store.
After clarifying that I wasn’t buying a printer today, nor cared about features, did he hear that I was looking for inexpensive ink. The clerk scanned the shelves, mumbled a couple comments under his breath and eventually picked and presented a black ink cartridge that cost $14.99. Like too many consumers he looked for the lowest price listed, not necessarily the most cost-effective option.
To illustrate, the packaging on this ink indicated its printing capacity to be 200 pages. Working the math we learn this choice will cost $.075 per page. But is that a lot or a little? I began randomly pulling other inks off the shelf to calculate their relative cost per page. Surprisingly a number of them failed to list on the package how many pages each cartridge was capable of printing. I can’t help but wonder how expensive it really gets!
The task to find the best choice was challenging due to the number of choice. Among the hundreds of choices there were only a few brands. Each had dozens of options for the various printers they have sold over the years. My goal was to find the most economical choice, after calculating several inks which all fell in the .06-.12 the clerk mentioned one more brand, almost as a afterthought.
Hidden between all the bright and colorful boxes, down low on the shelf were a couple of oddballs, Kodak ink. Kodak, it would appear, have taken a different approach. Instead of dozens of different cartridges, they have basically one standard size for all printers. The standard Kodak black ink cost $9.99. Based on its published capacity of 425 sheets this would work out to $.023 per page.
How often can you save 70% on a consumable? This is a huge difference.
Readers: Do you own a Kodak printer and do you like it and what do you think about it? What other steps do you take to reduce your printing costs?
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