Hands up if you've ever lost both of your hands inside a printer trying to unjam it. No one? Nothing?
Oh, I'm sorry. Was that too soon? Fine. Hands down, everyone.
The point I'm trying to make is that printers are bullshit. There is no way a just world should allow such a critical piece of technology to fuck up basically constantly. Streaks, blotches and paper jams are an everyday occurrence with printers, filling our offices with their symphony of beeps, grinding noises and incoherent error messages. And don't get me started on the ink, OH IT'S TOO LATE, YOU GOT ME STARTED ON THE INK, WATCH THE FUCK OUT.
HALF-FULL INK CARTRIDGES REPORTED AS EMPTY.
COLOR PRINTERS THAT DON'T PRINT BLACK AND WHITE BECAUSE YOU'RE OUT OF YELLOW INK.
YELLOW, FOR FUCK'S SAKE. YELLOW! WHO THE FUCK WAS USING ALL THE YELLOW?
WHAT DO YOU MEAN I CAN'T JUST BUY YELLOW INK?!?!?!
Printer ink is why most Staples employees work behind bulletproof glass now.
Why They Still Suck
Printing is actually one of the hardest, messiest chores we regularly ask of our technology. Given the challenges of simply working with mass quantities of paper and ink and all the moving parts involved, printing things on paper has always been a fairly complicated, labor-intensive process. The mere fact that we have mostly reliable printing devices in each of our homes now is kind of remarkable. Our grandparents would think we're big babies for putting up such a fuss.
They'd also consider us babies for our immaculately shorn genitals.
There are other factors, of course, notably the fact that the printers that we use in our homes are cheeeeeeap, often given away for free with the purchase of computers, software and ink cartridges. We shouldn't be too surprised to learn that a cheaply built machine with many moving parts is not likely to be a paragon of reliability.
And even when we do spend on quality, bulletproof performance isn't guaranteed. The high-end printers and multifunction devices we see in office settings are rarely just bought anymore; they come with massive, years-long service plans to accommodate the fact that something with that many moving parts is going to break down. Factor in all the dust, variety in paper quality and idiots running staples through the document feeder, and most printer technicians will point out that it's a wonder printers are as reliable as they are.
They're wrong, though. Printers are bullshit.
Chris Bucholz is a Cracked columnist and your friend. Join him on Facebook or Twitter and make him reconsider that.
For more from Bucholz, check out The Most Powerful Man in the World: The Voice in Your GPS and The 6 Most Overhyped Technologies .