Last Saturday I was typing up some papers that had to be printed out when the inkjet printer that came free with my computer purchase informed me that my black ink was about to run out. I shouldn’t have been surprised; as these el cheapo printers get more compact and “space-efficient,” so do the ink cartridges.
Typically, by the time I get to the store I’m already cross and ready to rumble because it feels like it would probably be cheaper to get mugged in some dark alley than pay for a 2 inch by 1 inch plastic box (presumably) full of ink. Forget the Gold Standard. I like to use the iPod Standard. According to the iPod Standard, 3 fleeting ink cartridges equals one iPod Shuffle and — friends — that just ain’t right.
Maybe chosing Best Buy wasn’t the Best Idea, not only because of previous experience and prices that are ironically not always the “best buy”, but because I happened to be sick as well. What a delicious combo.
I quickly found my cartridge and made my way to the registers, allowing myself to be ceremoniously herded into the winding, roped-off path to the front of the line. Moo. As usual, the associate at the register perkily noted that because I have a zip code, I qualify for a free trial membership to one of four equally dull magazines! “No thanks.” I say, having systematically rejected the exact same offer every time I have made a purchase a Best Buy in the past 3 months. Next time I’m just going to announce that I don’t want any magazines before I give him my zip code and see how that goes.
So my cartridge gets scanned, and my receipt prints. And prints. And prints. Woah, more printing. Trees are crying. And… done. The cashier hands me my wad of purchase identification and bids me a good day.
As I walk to the door, I’m not sure why I’m surprised that I could use this receipt as a kite tail or a headband. I’ve bought tons of junk at Best Buy; surely I’ve been the recipient of such loquacious register tape before. Yes, I remembered. My computer’s receipts were long, but they also held important rebate information. As I scanned my latest receipt, it appeared to be roughly 80% garbage. Upon further dilligent inspection at home, I found that my tiny inkjet catridge purchase had generated a receipt that was no less than 20 inches long. Why, I ask you. Why?
In the glorious tradition of Designer Folk Who Redesign Stuff That Is Poorly Designed, I am providing Best Buy with the kind of receipt that won’t make trees cry. Enjoy the free input, you corporate juggernaut. You’re welcome.