Lileks has been there, and perhaps so have you:
Bought a new printer tonight, because I needed ink. I’ve been down this road before, and yes, I know, the printers you buy have just sixteen atoms of ink, and you have to buy expensive cartridges right away. But: the old printer — by which I mean something purchased a year ago — became senile and confused, and did not recognize the Genuine Epson Cartridge I put in to replace an old one. (It goes without saying that the machine refused to print a simple letter because it was out of MAGENTA. The only time anyone who’s not in printing ever thinks of magenta is when the magenta is out, and you can’t print a greyscale document. Then you wonder exactly how you used all the magenta in the first place.) I could either assume that the ink was old — meaning, a code in the cartridge said “he bought this a year ago. Dude obviously doesn’t use enough ink. Screw him” and reported that it was defective, or the chip was defective, or the machine’s ability to detect a new cartridge was defective.
As Meat Loaf (inevitably quoting Jim Steinman) would wail: “IT’S DEFECTIVE!”
I had a lot of fun this spring with this cute little color laser at the office. I expected, given that this is largely a work machine, that the black would give out first; I had not expected that the yellow would be right behind. (Cyan and magenta? Meh.) I did discover, though, that ignoring roughly forty percent of the precautions on the Cartridge Replacement Guide, a four-language sheet large enough to wrap all but a handful of Christmas presents, replete with drawings inspired by the caves at Lascaux, was the wisest, or anyway least painful, course of action.
I saw a line of Kodak printers, which I’ve been eyeing for some time. Why? Cheap ink. That’s why. That’s all.
That’s enough. I have one of those. Combo pack, black and color cartridges — $30. Consumption rate seems rather high, but everyone’s consumption rate seems rather high these days, and I tend to run ink supplies down to the Coughing Up Dust level.