I lost the stick…

We have a printer here at the office, as I’m sure many of you do too. We have lots of dust here, none of you have as much as we do I’m sure of that. We produce enormous amounts of dust from our production areas that always weasels its way up here. We have to clean said printer nearly weekly to rid it of dust to keep it printing happily. If we don’t clean, it starting printing lighter and lighter til it stops printing altogether.

I didn\'t quite go this far...I opened that bad boy up today and while I was spraying around with the canned air. The little stick came off the can, fell inside the printer to a space that cannot be reached by normal humans. You know, that little plastic stick thing that you use to get the air into places that you didn’t realize even dust could get in to? Yeah it was down in there, way down in there. Once we sent a small expedition of Malaysian Water Bugs armed with very small micro-fiber towels to clean that area, but nothing since then. This stick is stuck. There is no way to get it out. I start by trying to disassemble the printer more, but quickly realize that without the schematic diagrams for the Mir space station, there was no way to get enough pieces off to get to the stick.

Alas, we have a stick stuck in our printer. I fired it up and didn’t hear it grinding on anything. The week is young though and so far has been full of disasters and disappointments.

The HP experience

As I said a while back I wanted to share my HP experience with you all. Essentially we had an HP Color LaserJet printer that was printing any color that involved yellow or magenta very very light and it is only about 4 months old. So light in fact that certain colors were nearly white. I initiated a call to HP on 1-2-08 to see if tech support could help me or if I would need to have a tech onsite. Here’s how it all went down.

1-2-08 – Call to Joe in Color Laser support. Joe was very helpful, at least he seemed to be. He was polite and took me through several scenarios about what could be wrong and what could be done to fix it. We ran diagnostics including reset, cold reset, covering contacts on cartridge to verify toner was OK, also reversed location of cartridges to verify electrical problem. Joe said it was a bad DC converter. This call took over 4 hours to complete including hold time and 45 minutes for Joe to enter the job into one of several computers he said he was on, finally got a ticket number and ended the call expecting to hear from a tech the next day. I should note here that we used about 100 pages of test sheets to verify the problem, three pages were completely covered in magenta toner (solid).

1-3-08 – Call to verify that a tech was supposed to contact me. Girl, not sure of name, told me that there we no notes on the job and that no tech was coming. Got mad, told her to get someone here now, she went to find out more and then assured me that there would be someone to arrive on 1-4-08, first thing in the morning.

1-4-08 – Called back to tech support after not hearing from any technician yet, it was late in the day and I had expected at least a call early in the morning. Tech was not issued for the job at all again! The support person asked me to do more diagnostics, I refused due to the length of the initial call and the stand of that tech with regard to what was wrong. This support person told me it could be toner cartridges and that no tech would be sent until I went through the diagnostics again. I became extremely irate and demanded a tech be sent immediately. After assuring me several times that no one was coming I recalled the names of several higher-ups at HP that I knew of, this piqued the interest of the tech and he went to find a supervisor to help escalate the call. I feel if I would not have known these names, I wouldn’t have gotten any help.

I spoke with supervisor Nick who assured me that he would find out what was going on and get back to me by COB Friday evening, 4 hours from then. I made sure that he knew I would be watching the clock and would not accept a late call.

At 1627, 3 minutes before Nick was due to call, I began a call to tech support to reach Nick before COB. After finally reaching him at 1637 he assured me that he was about to return my call, admittedly late. He said the issue had been sent to a tech but that he didn’t’have a name or contact information yet, and that he would call me that evening on my cell phone to relay that information.

At approximately 1900 Nick called with technician Mike O’s (name edited) information, unfortunately he gave me Mr. O’s home phone number as I would find out on Monday morning (1-7-08).

1-7-08 – Call as I still had not heard from a tech. I had found out previously that Nick S. (name edited, not the same Nick) was in charge of the TS group for this area and accidentally gotten his number by calling a wrong number which was confirmed by a call to T. W. (name edited) who was the former supervisor. Nick assured me that someone would be there, M. G. (name edited)

M.G. called to confirm at 11:15.

Arrived 14:30 to replace DC controller board and test. Not resolved although M.G. tried to say it was. I printed various important color docs and showed him it was not fixed. M.G. left at 16:30.

1-8-08 – Expected M.G. to return to office today, later due to previous commitments but today. Called to say he would be in in the afternoon, fine with me. At 16:15 I called M.G. to let him know he was too late, I was not going to wait on him and he should expect to be here at 8:30-9:00 the next day. Did not ask, told him to arrive then.

1-9-08 – Arrived at 10:30, not the agreed upon 8:30-9:00. Replaced the laser lens, recommended cleaning dust more regularly, including removing the side covers and back panels to clean inside. Left at approximately 12:00.

1-10-08 – M.G. called to confirm everything was fine and left his contact information in case of other problems. Finally someone seemed to care, a simple call on his way to another job just be sure that all was well.


This is not a good customer service/support experience. Not only was I told things that did not happen, I was told that I could count on people being there or calling at certain times and that didn’t happen. Over a week of my time was devoted to getting a simple printer issue resolved. HP, shame on you, you let me down as a customer.

The last time I dealt with HP, I was so fanatical about their support I wrote a 3 page letter to the head of the Technical Support Group and made sure that the tech was recognized for his hard work and diligence.

Now, HP has become a brand that I will likely never buy or recommend again. A Color LaserJet was a large purchase in our office, the first we ever had, a money saver, a leap forward. My next color laser printer will not be HP, due to this exact incident. Xerox, Canon, Brother, or Ricoh will be getting my business.

I understand that these are technical complicated things that take time to figure out, sometimes trail and error are the only way of solving problems. I’m fine with taking a day or two for parts. I’m not fine with 2 days of missed calls, hours on the phone, lies about when someone is coming and all of the hassle about who is responsible for taking care of me.

HP, you owe me an apology, you owe me for my lost time and frustration. In short, you have a lot to make up for, your customer service is at the bottom of the industry as far as I’m concerned. If you’d like to talk about this further, my contact information is in the sidebar, though I’m sure no one will respond to this, you didn’t respond to me over the last week or so.

I don’t do this enough

Last time I really posted I was in the midst of my 11 day vacation, I planned to post everyday, my vacation ended 5 days ago.

In those days I just about got everything I wanted to get done. I even stayed up for 32 hours straight at one point. I couldn’t sleep one night so I got up, showered and headed out to get painting supplies at 430am. Meijer is dead then and the Lowes people aren’t very happy to mix paint at 630 in the morning. But I was home by 9am and began painting. I painted one wall in each room a darker color, in this case green, blue, and gray, then I painted the rest of the place a white-ish-gray-blue. I found out last night that in the right light, my walls look blue, blue and purple with light blue on the other walls. Never make paint selections at 630 in the morning. Sunlight makes all the difference.

After staying up for 32 hours I finally went to bed, got a good night’s sleep and was back on track. Most of my vacation I did exactly what I wanted to do, nothing. It was great to just sit around and relax mostly.

Since being back at work I’ve wished for a longer vacation. I went in to hell it seemed, a large machine was broken and our printer was on the fritz. I will cover this in detail on another post, but lets just say that Komo Machine/Siemens and HP are on my list this year.

I’ve also found that since I’ve been back, I’m more important at work than I thought. Much more managerial that I thought I was basically. I knew I had a role, but that role is growing at an accelerating rate. Always good to see. Things changing in this case are not so bad.

It’s the new year and life is starting again. The lull of the holiday craziness is over and changes are being made, both by us and for us. Some of us are continuing from where we were and others are starting anew.

I’ve rambled enough for tonight. As I said, when I’m done with HP and Komo/Siemens I’ll write about them. Their staff has much left to do to impress me.