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How To Change An Ink Cartridge

Apr 1, 2008
The complicated process of changing an ink cartridge is something that has baffled scientists for many years. Despite developments of so-called 'easy change' ink cartridges, removal and replacement still leave even the most dextrous of us dumbfounded.

It also leaves us covered in ink. Not just a smudge of something that adds colour to your boring office attire and could look pass for a brooch if splashed in the right place but a great big, monstrous indelible ink stain that could pass more for a Rorschach ink block test.

Those who see the indicator come up on our printers to say the ink cartridge is getting low are the ones to 'rush' our printing in the hope that we can get it all done before the ink runs out entirely. This is a little like driving home quickly before we run out of fuel - entirely pointless.

The poor soul to get stuck with an inkless printer is the poor soul who will have to change it, providing he can find no alternative printer in the office to put the dreaded job into someone else's hands. We take careful note of exactly how the old ink cartridge comes out but these things are designed to frustrate and infuriate.

Once extraction of the old ink cartridge has been accomplished, we are then distracted by a tactical shaking of the cartridge when we realise there is still some in it! We know there will be because manufacturers design things so that we have to replace them before we run out - it's how they make so much money.

While we are crying the unfairness of this and reeling from the price of a new cartridge, ink cartridge imps enter play, emerging from the depths of the printer to re-arrange all components. If you unexpectedly halt the operation of ink cartridge replacement, you will hear them laughing at you. It doesn't matter that it is only five minutes since you removed the last ink cartridge, this one is not going back the same way.

We get cocky, thinking we know better, that we can remember how the last one came out and with a smug look we approach the printer like we know what we're doing. Ensuring everything is at right angles, we slot the ink cartridge into place and lo and behold, all internal workings of the printer have been reconfigured into an indistinguishable mass.

We adjust, slide, tap and wiggle but we are outwitted by one of the simplest looking lumps of black plastic known to mankind. We take it out, stretch our necks, breathe deeply and raise and lower the elbows - none of which makes an iota of difference.

Approaching again, we are sure we know what we are doing. We wait until no-one is around and then we try brute force. We even talk to it through gritted teeth but still to no avail. This ink cartridge will not fit, it doesn't matter how many times we threaten it with a kick in, it ain't going in.

This is when a man strolls by, takes in the dilemma unfolding in front of him, slots the ink cartridge into place and walks off tut tutting as if we're complete imbeciles. This just goes to prove that it is still a man's world and the imps in the printer are all male. Best leave it to them.
About the Author
Office equipment expert Catherine Harvey looks at ink cartridge removal and some of the problems it induces.
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