Erica Lucke Dean

"Making the world a better place, one book at a time."

the printer ink blues

All I needed was blue ink. My printer told me so. The display was very specific. I needed blue ink. Not pink. Not yellow. Not black. Just blue.

How hard can it be to find a blue ink cartridge?

In a town where the closest Walmart is a whole county away, finding a place that sells ink is like searching for a sliver in the bottom of your own foot. It’s not impossible, but it’s certainly not easy or fun.

So we hopped in the car and headed out to Walmart. It’s a twenty five minute drive each way, so we decided to take advantage of the trip and pick up a few things for Thanksgiving dinner while we were out. An hour or two (and $150 later) we were back in the car, trudging through the holiday travel traffic to our home in the mountains. When I opened the packaging on my new blue ink, I discovered I’d bought the wrong one. Why do they have to number them so closely together? My printer will take a number 68 in black, but in the colors it has to be a 69. You’d think I’d remember 69, but I didn’t. I bought 68. So after a mini temper tantrum (don’t judge me, it was the day before Thanksgiving and an almost hour long round trip the first time) I climbed back into the car to head to Walmart to return the ink.

Now let’s just say, the last place I wanted to be on the evening before Thanksgiving was the customer service aisle at Walmart, and yet, that’s exactly where I found myself. Luckily, the wait wasn’t bad, and I was quickly able to grab the correct ink and head home again.

Before I knew it (you know…an hour or so after my first attempt to print) I snapped the ink into the printer and smiled at the familiar whirr of the paper loading into the machine. After the first few pages, my printer came up with another warning light. I was almost out of the pink ink now. With a self-satisfied grin on my face, I pulled out the spare pink cartridge I already had and loaded it into the chamber before returning to my print job. A few more pages came out before another warning light flashed. Yellow? Now I’m running out of yellow? I was printing black and white, I didn’t even understand the need for colored ink for a black and white print job.

Speaking of black…I didn’t get further than a few more pages when the warning light went off for black ink. I was running out of black ink too.

I’d already been to Walmart twice in one day. Twice in less than a few hours, in fact. I wasn’t prepared to make another trip. I held my breath, crossed my fingers and toes, and watched as my pages spit out of the printer, hoping my document would finish before I ran out of ink. I couldn’t be so unlucky, right? It was a day before Thanksgiving. I wanted to put up a Facebook status saying I was thankful for having enough black ink.

No such status will be created. With one page left to go, my printer stopped cold, the message “out of black ink” flashing at me like a cocky smirk. I hate my printer. Hate it. And I hate Walmart. And I hate that I was standing in the printer aisle at said Walmart, staring at the black ink cartridges, certain I could escape buying one this time.

I’m sure there’s a lesson somewhere in there. I don’t really want to think about it, but I’m sure my loyal readers will dig it out for me, and let me know. And I’m also sure I’ll find myself at Walmart on Friday…the absolute worst day of the year to step foot into a Walmart. I may need to self-medicate first. I’ll need an IV of chocolate and a liter of Diet Coke to go with my leftover turkey and stuffing. This had better be the best damn document I’ve ever printed. And you know…with my luck…I’ll run out of blue again before I’m through.

I wouldn’t be surprised at all.

Until the next time…Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

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