Under most circumstances, especially with large purchases or techy/electronic ones, I do my homework. Endless web searches and reading articles comparing this item to that item and which is on sale or not. I'm also willing to wait for a deal to come to me, for months if necessary. Before I bought my current laptop, I spent around a half year waiting for a good deal to come around. That was because my previous laptop was still working fine at the time. I bought that one in a rush because the one before that had broken down and I was in something like a panic being computerless.
Anyway, around a week ago, I confirmed that my old printer had had it. I spent a hour or two trying to print out some coupons that were about to expire to no effect. I also replaced the ink cartridge but there was no printing to be had. I was irked enough to go online and snapped up the first printer deal I saw and ordered a HP Officejet 6500A Plus for $125.
In the grand scheme of things, I imagine buying this printer was like ordering a MRI for someone with a headache, a bit of an overkill. My previous printer was an Epson that I actually picked up on ebay. I searched around on deal sites for the cheapest ink cartridges in existence and then searched for a used printer that would use those carts. Even now that the Epson is busted, I think I still have 8-9 ink cartridges for it sitting in a drawer somewhere. Back when I bought it, ink was ridiculously expensive, often running $50 a pop, and I wanted to make sure I didn't get hosed. The Epson was clunk and temperamental, often requiring that I turn it off and on repeatedly until it would consent to spit out a printed page. Even when it was working fine, I didn't end up using it all that often since the only things I usually needed to print were google maps and the occasional coupon.
The HP Officejet in comparison is sleek and high tech. It's not only a printer but a fax machine and a scanner to boot. It's also web enabled so that for the first time ever, no more USB cables. It took me hours to actually set it up since I had problems with the network. It would connect just fine but I couldn't get the laptop to detect it despite all sorts of steps including running diagnostic software and changing firewall settings. I had just thrown in the towel and resigned myself to using a USB cable when I decided to give it one last try just now and poof, it showed up on the network as if it had been there all along. In addition to the network feature it has all sorts of fancy schmancy print modes including allowing you to print from memory cards, smart phones, ipods, etc. Suffice it to say, these are all features I will probably never use. On the plus side, the purchase price of $125 included a $50 giftcard to HP, which I figure I'll be using on spare ink cartridges. That should keep me in ink for the next year and change.