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Why the fuck is toner so expensive?

Yesterday I fulfilled an old and almost forgotten desire of mine: To own a color laser printer.

I remember the first time I used a printer. A real printer, none of that dot matrix bullshit. It was some sort of cheap inkjet, but the idea that the things you saw on your computer monitor could be printed out (into the real world), fascinated me. Soon after I got myself my very own cheap inkjet and started printing my world. From my head, to my computer, to paper. You might think of this is a little small in terms of transforming ideas into tangible objects (“hey Ron, why didn’t you pick up sculpting asshole?”) but I’ve always been a fan of two dimensional color imaging.

It was in elementary school, back when I didn’t give a shit about anything, that this chick in my class presented a paper for some class with some graphics in it. She let me take a look at it and when I saw the pictures they struck me as odd. They were not blurry or wet looking (the result of inkjet) but instead looked like they had simply appeared into the paper, with beautiful color and sharpness. I then demanded to know what sorcery was this and she said her father owned a color laser printer. I immediately imagined a dark room where a sheet of paper suspended in mid-air was shot at by various colored laser beams until the resulting image was etched into the paper with deadly precision and gorgeous hues (which is not that far away from reality if you think about it).

Anyway, that was a little over 16 years ago and I have never forgotten that magic moment. Since then I’ve owned my share of inkjets. Good, reasonable printers, but no laser magic. And what is life without magic? I’ll tell you what it is; It’s blurry and wet looking. Until now.

Thanks to my new found entrepreneurship I have made myself come into some extra money. And what is the smart thing to do with the profits of any enterprise? You invest it back into that enterprise, so it will grow. That’s why I decided to buy myself a color laser printer. I convinced myself that printing sweet ass color quotes and proposals to give to my clients would represent a HUGE value for them, since they would not have to deal with the horror that is inkjet printed graphics. The reality is, I loves me some color laser printer.

Which brings me to the point of this article. Sure I’ll definitely use my printer for work-related documents and photos, but being the graphic enthusiast that I am, I also want to print for the sake of using the magic colored laser box’s abilities to reproduce great looking images into paper. That shit is fascinating to me.

So I went down to the Xerox retail because I mean, they invented the damn thing in the first place, so who better than these guys to fit me with a proper color laser printer. So I got myself a nice looking Phaser 6010:
xerox_phaser_6010_813784_g2

I happily paid for it even though it did not include a USB cable. No printer does. Because this world is run by dicks. But that is an entirely different article. I asked what was the cost for the toner for this magnificent magic box, and they sad $65. I was like “that’s not so bad”, then they said “each”. Then I said “what do you mean each motherfucker?”, and they said the printer uses 4 different toner cartridges. And each is $65. That means that when the day comes to replace my toner, I might as well buy a new printer because it’s probably going to cost me the same.

Why the fuck is toner so god damn expensive? Of course the answer lies in business practices. They sell you relatively cheap printers and then they fuck you in the ass a couple of months later when you go and get the toner. The sad thing is you just accept it as a fact of life, “toner’s expensive bro what are you gonna do?”. Yes, but something must be done. I will not go quietly into the night while these assholes get rich off selling colored powder. With Odin as my witness I will not let this happen.

I sort of forgot all of that when I got home and printed my first test image. Gods it was glorious. Took me back to my elementary school days and everything. It almost made me forget that it probably cost me like $8 to print that. Almost, otherwise I would have never written this and you would have never read it and we would have never awoken to the fact that in a world where a single toner cartridge costs more than $20 is a sick one, and I don’t want to live on it. But I have nowhere else to go, so it is my sacred duty to change it for the better. Will you join me?

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