Saturday, September 01, 2007

New printer for fabric

Both of our Canon printers packed in recently so my mission for today was to buy a new all in one printer- and possibly a cheap one just for documents. My primary requirement was one that would print well on fabric and had an easy facility to enlarge on the copier. Having no idea where to start I googled sites about fabric printing and most people seemed to be saying Epsom or HP worked fine. Of course, because printers seem to be made for two months then discontinued, the precise models recommended were not really helpful.

So I then factored in the time consideration. PC world here have a facilty where you can choose and order on line to get web prices, then go and collect from the local store to avoid a delivery fee/ wait. As the store is 2.2 miles away this is a good option. Den's view was - get the best if you are going to be quilting with it ( gotta love this guy!) so I just started at the top end of the list, ruled out those with faxes becuase we have one and narrowed it down to the top range Epsom or HP.

As the spec details didn't cover exactly what I needed to know I rang Epsom. After listening to a lot of advertising I get to ask if the model in question enlarges.
"It does via the PC but I don't think it does on the stand alone facility."
"You don't think? Does it or does it not - can you find out?"
"It does via the PC"
You know when you just can't be bothered carrying on? So I try the second question?
Does this printer take fabric sheets?
"None of ours do."
"That can't be right. there are lots of web sites with people telling me that they actually recommend some of your printers."
"Oh well, yes it will be alright but as a company we don't say that."
"Fine. I think I'll buy a HP then."
Stunned silence.

I ring HP. I ring a local number but get someone with such a deep south US accent he is hard to understand. I already know that this printer enlarges. So, does it take fabric sheets OK and in particular are the new inks this printer uses OK because I had seen one review saying that a particular brand of HP ink only has 50% durability?
"What do you want to do with it?"
"Print on fabric sheets."
"For quilting...."
"Its very common in the US. there are several sites recommending HP - some of them do it as a business so I know some HP printers are fine but this is a new printer ink, so I want to check."
"You are running a business?"
"No. I want to know if this ink prints OK on fabric.
"Ummmm. There might be somthing on the website."
"On which page?"
"Look, if you don't know, could you just say so?"
"Can you ring the business support centre on Monday?"

In fact, if you go to the HP website and search for quilting rather than fabric ( which is what I tried first) there is a whole how to page with lots of links to projects and they even produce the fabric-paper!

So I bought the HP Photosmart C5180 and off I go to the store.

Now, for economy reasons we did wonder whether it would be a good idea to buy a cheapy black and white printer too for documents. So I was trying to puzzle out which brand did more pages per cartridge and compare the costs of cartirdges ( impossible task by the way) when a helpful lad called Gary arrived.
"Have you thought about a laser printer? I've got one and this one is only £40."
"How much is the toner?"
"How much??"
"Ah but you get longer out of it than an ink cartridge?"
"How, much longer?"
"Oh you won't need to change it until it runs out."

I decline to buy a second one. I am given the receipt for the goods I ordered on online which gives a bar code to be scanned in at the till and should include the half price cartridges I added in store and which Gary added to my internet order. The sales assistant scans the bar code. £161 and pence.
"Is that right?" he asks.
"I don't know, I didn't add everything up - does it include the batteries and CD's I put in the trolley?"

He peers at the computerised screen. It doesn't have a itemised list. He stabbes a finger at the touch screen and it says, "This will cancel this order. Do you wish to proceed?"
He proceeds.
"Oh dear," he says. I can't find it now." He is totally non-plussed
"What if you just scan in all the items in the trolley?"
"But you might have discount."
"I do, but we could put that in manually."
"Can you just wait to one side while I serve the rest of the queue."

I grab a passing girl and explain. She comes back with Gary.
"Don't you want it all anymore?"
"Yes. I very much want it, its just that your colleague can't work the till."
"But Janine said you were cancelling the order."

God help me but I am beginning to understand people who take semi-automatics in to shops!


Calender Page said...

Helen, I love your shopping sagas! Ikea, car, printer, you could write a book! My printer is an HP [different model] I love it's functions but it is slow and sometimes just refuses to do the job I want until I turn it off, come back 5 minutes later and it's decided to cooperate. It scans, copies, enlarges, does color & black and white, prints nice photos -- but it's VERY slow.

I hope you'll have good luck with your model and when I want to do fabric printing, I'll look for their sheets. The one time I've done fabric printing the fabric was so tightly woven I had difficulty quilting on the picuture -- another wrinkle to consider in this complex world. I understand some brands are not so tightly woven.

Helen said...

I'm awarding you "funniest post of the week". Just make sure you leave your gun at home next time you go shopping!

Jenni @ Fairybread said...

I am having this vary same saga with my bank at the moment. I wanted to change the interest free period on my card - touch of a button job maybe? Oh no. First bank teller couldn't even get up a bank statement on computer to confirm the type of card I had. Had to get help. Got it up and said "it is a Clear Options Plus" (why they can't be credit card 1 and credit card 2 I don't know). I said which one is that - "i don't know". Gets more help, can't do it, turns the computer screen toward me so that "I" can help her - I left. Next branch didn't know what to do but had the smarts to ring someone. Next thing I get a new card with new number with new annual fee (just paid it on old card), have to change all monthly deductions off card because of new number. Put foot down and said not paying new annual fee - haven't heard from them since! Typical. I will ring AGAIN today. Also sent off email politely pointing out serious black hole in staff training - no response.
Idea of borders all areound string blocks is a good one - will give it some thought, thanks.