Cost of Office Machine Ownership

By: Doc Jams  09-12-2011
Keywords: Toner

Bloody clock. From a time-killer. Get it?

Here at Doc Jams Printer Repair, we are all about speed.  If a printer is down, we need to get there as fast as possible.  If a customer is out of toner, we are there on the double.  Well just for fun, we went to a big box store to see what a distant competitor’s idea of speed is.  We did this for a couple reasons: 1- we need to keep up on what the option of jumping in a car and hitting a store for printers and toner really costs in time and money, and 2- we are often gluttons for punishment, as we will further illustrate.

We went to this big box store with a plan for easy purchasing and exit.  We had the idea of grabbing a simple, small black and white laser printer for $200.  We knew the model number, and the location.  Often the prices on these lower end models are offered cheaper to the general public then they are offered by wholesalers to retailers like us.  Who knows why, I am guessing because retailers like us typically work with durable commercial grade machines, and these machines cost more to ship individually then their true value.  Who knows, and who cares.

Let me tell you how the store purchase went:

10:37am: Drive to big box store and wonder how all radio stations can be playing commercials at the same time.

11:04am: Walk through front doors of this behemoth of bricks and logos.

11:05am: Grab printer, head to checkout.

11:13am:  Ummmm, I’m still waiting to be checked out.  I see one light on a register station, there to indicate that the checkout guy is available to check people out.  He is having an in-depth discussion with some potential customer about the merits of her credit card and how the machine is not agreeing with her interpretation of valid credit.  I see another checkout line at a register with a person running the cash register, but he has no light.  People are not exactly flying through that line, so I patiently wait where I am.  I am almost to the point of offering to pay for the bulletin board the credit-challenged first customer is so desperately trying to barter for.

11:16am: Another register is opened at the service counter to quell this mess of customers.  This poor checkout guy was about to go on break, too.  The people towards the back of the line flock to this kid.  I make my way that direction.  The first customer at the first register is beyond assistance, and I am graying by the second.

11:19am: I finally make it to the register.  I am asked if I have some membership/rewards/perks card.  I just waited in line over 10 minutes and they think I will torture myself enough with that process on such a routine basis that I am willing to carry a card that not only lets people know I belong to this group of zombies, but also am willing to be reminded every time I sit on my card stuffed wallet that this should bring a reward?!?  I tell them I don’t have the card with me.  They say they can look it up by phone number.  I give them my number; I hear a sigh of pain behind me.  It is another customer, hating his life at that moment.  That guy has likely been waiting a few minutes less than I have, and he’ll have to go through the same steps.

11:20am: I am now asked if I considered an extended warranty.  The checkout guy paints a picture of missiles flying and printers blowing up at random and the shock and awe that I will be stuck with if I don’t get the extended warranty.  You can check out my rant on extended warranties later.  I assure him I will kindly decline the extended warranty and go about my day and not lose any sleep.

11:22am: I am asked questions that go down a checklist the checkout guy has in front of him.  Do I need toner?  No.  Do I need any printer cables?  No.  Do I need a different warranty extension?  No.  Do you enjoy being tortured?  No!  I don’t have the card, remember?

11:25am: I am asked for payment.  6 minutes after arriving I am finally asked for payment.  I had one item.  I even put the printer on the counter with the barcode facing the checkout guy.

11:27am: I gather my newly purchased printer, my 4 foot long receipt, and my willpower to move out of the store and head back to the office without congratulating the store on such a fine display of customer service.  Seriously, I’ve made it out of clothing stores with my wife faster than this.  I remember that even though the checkout guy was able to find my membership/rewards/perks card, I have felt no membership, no reward was given, and I feel no more perky.  Arguably, I am much less perky.

12:04pm: I make it to the office with a printer in tow.  Now I need to get it to the customer.  I also get to set it up.  I have smart customers.

To put this is perspective; this is how it works for our smart customers:

1)      They tell us, “Doc Jams Printer Repair, we need a printer.”

2)      We say, “OK.” And go over the details of what they need, want and are willing to pay for.

3)      We get them a printer, and setup the machine where and how they want it setup.

Total time investment on their end can be less than 1 minute.  Total time for them to research and purchase a machine themselves is countless.  We’ll suffice it to say that ‘longer’ is a safe number.

In addition, guess who gets to resolve a problem if the machine is setup incorrectly, or the machines bells and whistles don’t work as the customer thought they would if we picked the machine out for them?  Guess who pays us for that burden if the customer did the research on their own?

Some days, I wish I was my own customer.

The information in this article was current at 06 Dec 2011

Keywords: Toner

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