Read the Fine Print

by Dec 30, 2011Work and Life

Sometimes being my own IT person kinda sucks.

A big-box office retailer that shall remain nameless has a big sign: $50 dollars off on select [weasel word!] printers costing $199 or more when you recycle your old printer. On the bottom of the sign are logos for Brother, HP, Canon, Epson, and Lexmark.

I ask the tech guy for a recommendation, and he suggests I go with a $199 HP LaserJet. It prints only in black & white, but he says part of the reason color printers break so often is that when you don’t use the color much, the ink dries out and damages the print head.

We go to ring it up, and the discount SKU doesn’t work. He calls the manager over, and he tries several different codes. He walks out and looks at the sign, confirms that I should get $50 off, and tries again.

You know what’s coming.

In fine print, the discount flyer the sales clerks use at the register say that Brother, Canon, Epson, and Lexmark printers are $50 off for a $199 printer. HP printers: $299! Not even $249, which would at least let you get the presumably better HP printer for the price of the lesser, cheaper brands.

The original clerk, who is also the install guy, takes me back to look at the $199 printers but says people have much more trouble with the software, use, install, etc. on the other brands because HP’s software is much better. (He seemed honest, and they’d have to have serious con man training to have developed a fake discount-upsell routine so elaborate.)

So, I spent more than I intended to. I hope this damned printer will last!

Barbara Ruth Saunders is a writer, editor, and writing coach.