Thursday, December 4, 2008

I should have just asked Jon Yates of the Chicago Tribune . . .

My printer stopped working. Well, actually it was not my printer, it was the communication between my printer and my PC. The printer was doing just fine until I needed to replace the yellow color cartridge. I have done that dozens of times. This time when I tried to print again, I got a message telling me to replace the yellow cartridge.

After 30 frustrating minutes of:

  • rebooting my computer,

  • unplugging and replugging my power supply cord from both the printer and the wall,

  • printing a test page,

  • aligning the printheads,

  • cleaning the printheads,

  • and printing a diagnostic page,

I thought perhaps I should uninstall and reinstall the printer so I got my software CD and began. I was immediately frightened by a scary message that basically said, “Are you sure you want to remove these drivers because it may remove drivers that your computer needs to operate?” I quickly clicked on “Cancel”.

I attempted to get Online Live Chat help.
After waiting 20 minutes, I emailed my problem instead and received an autoreply that I would get an email to help with my problem in 24 hours.

Twenty-four hours is a very long time when there are Christmas cards to print and envelopes to address so I went to another source:
Fixya. Once there, I found that 15 other users since February 20, 2008 had the same problem. No answers had been provided. Nevertheless, I posted my problem and continued to search for answers.

First, I did a new printer search. I found one on sale for $74.99 (after the mail-in rebate) at Office Depot. Though tempted, I remembered our decision to try to spend less this season. My own printer has not yet even celebrated its one year adoption day with me. I decided to wait for my email—which I checked every five or ten minutes for a whole day.

When the email came, it was as helpful as a deaf and blind seeing eye dog.

I had already done the suggested fixes—reboot, unplug, and clean the contacts.

Persevering out of nescessity, I tried the Online Live Chat help again and this time within a few minutes,I got a most encouraging response. Sabrina answered my SOS, "Hello, how can I help you?"

I believe that I succinctly described my problem including the name of my printer and serial number.

Since Sabrina did not immediately respond, I wrote another note explaining the steps that I had already tried.

Sabrina graciously replied, “Thank you for that additional information.”

Since Sabrina did not immediately respond, I told her that I had the printer software CD for Vista and asked Sabrina to help me uninstall and reinstall my printer. I told her that I was afraid to try that on my own.

Sabrina graciously replied, “Thank you for that additional information.”

After some time elapsed, I inquired, “Sabrina, are you still there?”

Sabrina responded, “Yes, we will have an answer shortly but first I need to ask you a few questions.”

I responded, “Great! I am ready.”

Sabrina then asked, “What type of printer do you have?
I responded.

Sabrina: “What is the serial number?”
I responded and waited.

Sabrina then continued with many further redundant questions—one at a time. “Where did you purchase the printer? When? etc.

I gave that information and then reminded Sabrina that I had given this information at the beginning of the conversation.

Sabrina graciously replied, “Thank you for that additional information.”

This type of conversation continued for more than one hour!
Sabrina needed to know if I had tried to reboot, unplug, clean, etc. one question at a time.

Occasionally, I would say “Please, check our conversation. I have already responded to this information.”

Sabrina graciously replied, “Thank you for that additional information.”

Eventually, she insisted that I unplug and replug the printer—from the wall and the printer.

I took a brief break and put laundry in the washing machine. I was quite certain nothing different would happen since the last time I unplugged. When I returned, I replyed, "Done. Nothing changed."

Sabrina asked, “Did you replace the yellow cartridge, today?”
I replied, “Yes.” It actually had been the day before by that time but I did not think that I was being dishonest.

We proceeded--at least I think you can call it that. I needed to give information about when and where the cartridge was purchased and the date on the cartridge. I gave all of that information plus anticipated a few more questions and threw in those answers.

Sabrina graciously replied, “Thank you for that additional information.”

Sabrina asked me to run another test page. Which I did and texted the information back to her.

Sabrina replied—she really did, “That is great news. There is nothing wrong with your printer.”

Briefly I hallucinated. In living color, I had visions of me as Susan's dog, Amber, chasing its tail. Then I saw me as Grif's hamster running in its wheel. I was exhausted and glad that no one was around to hear me cry.

I begged and would have gotten prostrate if it would have helped, “Will you pleeeeeeze help me try to uninstall and reinstall my printer.”

Sabrina then asked, “Do you have a printer software CD for Vista?”

My reply was more gracious than it would have been in person but she must have not needed body language to understand my desperation, “Yes! Please note that I already told you that twice during our lengthy conversation and pleeeze do not ask for any serial numbers on the CD or where I purchased the printer and if the CD came with the printer!”

Sabrina graciously replied, “Thank you for that additional information.”

Sabrina did help me and this could be important to someone else. She told me to “Insert the CD, right click the CD in My Computer. Then choose Open/util/ccc/Uninstal L3.bat." Frequently I needed to give permission for the uninstall to continue. The whole process took but a brief 15 minutes.

I said , "Thank you and Good-bye, Sabrina.”

Then I disconnected quickly before she could respond, "Thank you for that additional information."

I rebooted my computer. Thankfully I soon heard the start up chime.

I took the CD out and inserted it again and ran the install. I waited with baited breath as I sent the command to print a trial page. And it worked! The printer literally purred in coorperation.

After finally getting "my problem" solved, I felt responsible to go to Fixit and tell other users the solution. Within minutes, I received an email saying, “An answer has been posted for your problem.” It was the answer that I had posted. I promptly removed my name from further email notices. “I need no additional information. Thank you.”


Donna said...

I can't believe you had such a frustrating experience trying to get your printer to work. I probably would have given up and bought a new printer--even though I AM on a fixed income now!

Hope you have a peaceful blessed day today!

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