Printers Protecting Users From Themselves

2 minute read

I Like My Printer

I bought an Epson WF-3520 a while ago and it has worked great in Linux (Ubuntu and now Arch). I’ll never go back to an HP printer citing JetDirect and Linux comptability as a deciding factor. I credit Epson with putting out usable (closed source) Linux software.

Oh yeah, and the scanner and auto document feeder work great if you were wondering.

What’s Wrong

Last night I needed to print a shipping label so that I could drop off my package at USPS first thing in the morning. Instead, I couldn’t. Not because I was out of ink, but because the printer thinks it’s out of ink. A few weeks ago it told me that the black printer ink was low. So I did what everyone does when this confronts them: moan about my HP Ink cartridge scars and put off ordering a replacement cartridge. Ironically, I ordered the replacement Epson 126 black cartridge from Amazon the day before, but it was out of stock and would be delayed a few days. That’s fine, I didn’t need that ink just yet. WRONG.

Little did I know, that I did need that ink right now. The printer completely refuses to print anything citing low ink as the problem. Surely, this must just be a warning I thought and did a number of tasks like reseating the ink cartridge, power cycling the printer, attempting some maintenance tasks. All were in vain. The printer isn’t going to print.

Next step? Cancel my Amazon order and pay a few bucks more to get it locally from Staples. Staples had some “save 20% on this item if you order right now” promotion on the product page. I bit, at their price after promotion ($16.71) vs Amazon (15.99) the convenience was worth it and not worth my time considering anything else. I’ll step foot in a Staples (or Best Buy) for the first time in years.


Why didn’t Epson allow me to bypass the nagging and use the cartridge that surely would have printed half a page for my shipping label? Even if the quality was slightly degraded I would have been more then happy. I understand they can’t guarantee performance on low ink, but no performance is much worse.

Besides, if I printed a page of text and the ink was starting to go, then I’d at least know it’s not bluffing and underutilizing or wasting the balance of ink.