RAZORS AND BLADES….A couple of years ago I bought a Minolta Magicolor 2200 color laser printer. It’s a monster that draws so much power the lights dim when I turn it on (literally), but for a thousand bucks I can’t really complain too much.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I ran out of magenta toner, so I replaced it. Then, no surprise, the black, yellow, and cyan cartridges needed to be replaced. Then the fuser oil roller and the OPC drum kit. Holy cow! Over the course of three weeks I spent $686 on consumables. Still, expensive though it might have been, at least it was cheaper than buying a new printer.

Now even that cold comfort has been denied me. I was in my local CompUSA the other day and discovered that the Magicolor 2200 is now available for only $699 (after rebate), so for $13 more I could have simply purchased a whole new printer. In fact, since there wouldn’t have been any shipping charge for the printer (the only way to get all the consumables is directly from Minolta), a single complete replacement of the consumables actually cost more than buying a brand new printer.

I know these guys make most of their money from consumables, but this is ridiculous.

POSTSCRIPT: I was also amused ? or perhaps something stronger ? to note that “automatic color matching” was one of the selling points pasted onto the front of the printer that I saw in the store. I can’t really complain much about the printer considering its rock bottom price, but color matching is not its strong point. This is really noticable when printing black and white photos, which come out with a distinct blue tint half the time, a distinct red tint half the time, and no tint at all once in a blue moon. The choice seems to be random, and the fact that every once in a while it prints neutrally proves that it can do it if it’s so inclined. Sadly, calls to tech support have been of no avail. (Big surprise, that, eh?)

UPDATE: Oh hell, Amazon sells it for $599. Sheesh.