Monday, September 21, 2009

From Class Notes, An AMS publication/The $550 Paper Jam

The $550 Paper Jam

I was on a very tight deadline.  I had to get on a plane in less than 48 hours and had 5 System Works, curriculum binders to print and collate.  My printer had a bad habit of jamming if I didn’t load the paper in a certain way but it was so time-consuming to do that.  I was multi-tasking like a tornado getting ready for this trip.  I was working so hard that I was in a cold sweat.  I had just loaded the printer with $50 in ink cartridges and a fresh stack of paper and pushed print,  when I heard the undeniable sound of disaster.  My printer was grinding paper up like a garbage disposal.  “I don’t have time for this!” I screamed at the moaning, screeching  hunk of junk. I hate gadgets.  If it has a cord, chances are I have issues with it.  (Anyone who has seen Office Space can guess what my favorite scene is!)  I worked for more than two hours trying to extricate the wad of paper that the printer had basically shredded but even with tweezers I could not get it all out.

So on to plan B.  Ray rushed to Comp USA and bought a new printer.  We wanted the exact same printer so we could use all these ink cartridges on the shelf and not have to load new software.  However since it had been purchased more than 10 minutes (well a year ago) that printer was obsolete. We had to buy the next latest and greatest but the same brand thinking that would help us in some way.  I cheered up a bit when Ray called to tell me he was rushing home with the new printer.  I figured if I did not go to bed at all before my trip, I could still finish.  I was bitter about the loss of time trying to do surgery on that cranky printer, but there was still hope. 

Ray got home with the new printer.  We installed the software and the printer wouldn’t work.  We could not figure out why.  We spent more than two hours trying to make it work. I believe that if I had money for a live in maid I would opt for a live in computer geek instead!  Ray and I together don’t possess one brain when it comes to computers.

My dutiful, but not easily defeated, husband packed the printer and rushed it back to the store.  There he learned that the problem was that our system did not have enough memory for the new printer.  They could add memory and I could pick the computer up in the morning. But time was short.  

My instructions were to unplug the computer and meet Ray with it at the street and he just might have time to get it back to the store before they closed at 9 pm.  Just a few minutes before nine Ray sped our ailing computer to the computer hospital, otherwise known as Comp USA, as if his life depended on it.  

His instructions were to offer double the normal fee if they could have it ready by 10 am the next morning.

He did. They did.  I paid.  I rushed the computer back home, installed the software, plugged in the printer and literally finished the last System Works twenty minutes before I had to leave for the airport.  After I had boarded my flight I  did the math.  That paper jam had cost more than $550 for the new printer and new cartridges and  installing  more memory.

So there is my story about the most expensive paper jam in history.  It is not all that interesting, really....but it was oh, so frustrating.  And all because I did not take the time to load the paper the time-consuming, but nevertheless, correct way.

If you are skipping steps, not following directions, and not taking the time to do this job right, your time is coming.  You may not experience a $550 paper jam,  but the course will not go as smoothly as it would if you took your time and did it right in the first place.  L cph

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