Printers are the Scum of the Earth

(or, lateness! But still daily!)

Printers are the scum of the Earth, both in the sense that their initial purpose of producing physical copies of word-processed work is obsolete, due to the fact that everyone and their cat has an email address these days, and in that my own experiences with them has been, frankly, harrowing. Anyone else remember trying to print your 104-page ICT coursework piece the day before the deadline and failing miserably? Yeah, I wish I didn’t too. More broadly, intolerably frequent paper jams, non-existent wi-fi connectivity and stupidly expensive, but annoyingly necessary, ink refills show clearly that printers have no place in society, apart from being elaborate door-stops.

Also, I realise at this point that this is the most first-world-problemsy post I’ve put on here, but what did you expect from a piece on printers?

Okay, society first – I said that the purpose of a printer is to provide a physical copy (a ‘print-out’) of a piece of work produced on a computer, so it can be easily distributed to large numbers of people, who either cannot view the work on their own computer, or are spatially too far away from the producer of the work to see it on their screen. Regarding these points, printers are obsolete, as there are literally four people in the developed world with no access to an email account: that guy who works at the Church, that guy who lives in a tent on an island, that guy who nobody likes, and the bloke who runs Top Gear’s ‘Viewer Complaints’ department. The need to print out work to distribute to people is unnecessary if they can all see it online. Furthermore, within an office environment, it isn’t really necessary to print out a copy of a document, then shove it into a copier (another one of the Devil’s agents working under our noses here on Earth) to give it to everyone, you can just type in multiple email addresses to your hotmail account! Take my school, for instance: teachers communicate to us outside of lessons largely through a messaging service that runs through our users on our school’s computers – its basically email but with a terribly brilliant pun for a name – and that works fine; obviously print-outs are needed for permission letters and such, but in the year 2013, surely using a hunk of plastic in the corner of our rooms should be the exception, not the rule, in finishing off work.

Personally, I see printers as fundamentally stupid because they’re a clunky way to finish an otherwise polished process; as word processing has evolved to include such highly necessary features like being able to underline in separate colours to the letters they emphasise, printers have been coughing up the same old ‘replace toner’ message since about 1365. What this means is that as working becomes even easier, obtaining a physical copy of that work is comparatively harder – printers aren’t regressing, they’re just not developing at the same rate as computers (and with good reason – they suck, remember?). This led me to actively put off printing because it was such a hassle; I’d work on Saturday morning, then print it on Sunday afternoon because I didn’t want to go through the rigamarole of printing it out. And this isn’t just for me, but at school; when looking into the computer rooms, I see twelve-year-olds punching printers as far as the eye can see, and wailing to the nearest teacher that, once again, the printer wants us to ‘replace toner’.

Printers are also immoral – we’ve got to cut down acres of woodland just to feed these greedy monsters! It’s like having kids, except kids don’t eat paper and come with a pull-out drawer on their faces (usually anyway). With us burning fossil fuels faster than ever before, it’s not just preferable to keep the World’s forest around, but it’s becoming necessary for our survival as a species – seriously, soon we’ll all be drowning in singingly hot waters, and it’ll all be the fault of ICT coursework; I don’t know about you, but if I’m gonna die in an apocalypse, I want it to be awesome if nothing else. People also make this flawed system even worse; think about all those sadists who only print on one side of paper, the fools that don’t check their titles for typos and end up reprinting the same 6-page document three bloody times, and those damned souls who print black-and-white documents in colour, which confuses the printer, forcing it to drain some of its expensive coloured ink (by the way, I’ve fallen into all three of these categories at one point or other in my life – doing this stuff once is understandable enough, but don’t do it again now that you realise what you’re doing). Fundamentally, printing creates a culture of laziness, where we say ‘it’s just printing, it’ll take five minutes’, and the revelation that it will take closer to an hour makes us stressed and angry, leading to most of the mistakes we make when printing.

Overall, printers are evil – they are not just inconvenient, but their incredible ability to fall apart *just* when we need them both shows a sense of timing sadly lacking in all other parts of society, but also suggests that printers are consciously viscous. This inconvenience affects everyone I’ve ever seen to use a printer, and when you consider all the environmental problems of these sinful cuboids too, you’ve gotta admit that printers are the worst thing in our society today.

And the worst part? They look like fridges, which are sources of food and therefore happiness; the flaws of printers are compounded by this relation to the happiest thing in my house.

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