For once, not a beekeeping issue. On the whole beekeepers are a sensible lot; I think it is being in tune with one of nature’s communities.
I dislike duplicity. I dislike those who price their product based on what the market can bear rather than what it is worth – though there may be exceptions to this. Making offers available to new customers and letting the old ones to whom they should have some gratitude pay more will make me turn away from a supplier. Forcing revolving agreements on people – even the elderly – so that if someone forgets they end up paying at least one more quarter /year means effectively they are conning some people each year. Building societies who create new accounts and don’t tell their existing customers if a new product would give them more annoy me though I think there has been legislation for that. The banks are hated because they went down that route. They started with ‘arrangement fees’. That is like a shop charging ‘shelf browsing fees’.
The latest one I have detected is a scandal about Brother printers/cartridges. I bought my father a new brother laser printer – HL2130 – he basically prints a daily crossword and little else. As a teacher I had valued Brother printers above most others for durability and reliability. This printer worked well for at least a year and then he said it didn’t work. A relative pointed out that a warning light indicated it needed a new cartridge, so I ordered one. When I visited, whilst we were waiting for toner delivery, I called and shook the cartridge so the carbon dust was puffed up – this usually gives a few more printouts – sometimes a lot. This time it didn’t and I was suspicious. The cartridge was 1000 page cartridge and by my calculations it had failed suspiciously close to 1000 pages. Why suspicious? Filling a cartridge cannot be that precise and the typical pages printed will vary. Dad used to print a crossword puzzle and a sudoku per day plus some extra copies if I was there as well. There is a lot of white space on these pages and I would have expected his cartridge to last longer than average. Statistically, you’d expect a company claiming 1000 pages to arrange things so that there was very little chance of less than 1000 pages and then there would be a natural variation which you’d expect to be somewhere near a normal curve. After a little delving I found first a Russian youtube video and then few entries explaining how to reset the toner needs replacing warning light – the most likely reason a programming sequence can reset this is if the software contains an algorithm that causes the error light to come on in the first place – ie if it comes on NOT relating to how you use the cartridge or how much carbon is left inside but it is predetermined, probably to come on after 1000 pages are printed.
So, I followed the set of instructions. I felt like Harry Potter creating a Hogwarts spell as I followed a sequence of opening cartridge flap, powering off and then on whilst holding down a button, waiting for all 4 warning lights to come on, releasing one button then pressing it twice, waiting for another sequence in the warning lights and pressing 5 times. And guess what, the printer started working again though as yet we had not changed the cartridge. We now have that spare cartridge which we will fit when it is NEEDED. Dad had been denied a daily pleasure for more than a week NEEDLESSLY. In his 90’s, he is a person of great integrity who like many others risked all during WW2. Luckily he came through though so many did not. He did not deserve being treated this way though neither does anyone.
I’d like to say to Brother that they had built up a good reputation in me over some years even decades. As a result if ever I was buying a printer, their brand name was number one in my head. It wouldn’t be my only criteria but over the years it has meant I have purchased and recommended them. I now feel all my faith in them has evaporated because the only reason I know of using this method to indicate cartridge failure is to have their customers replace the toner before they need to – to fleece us, diddle us, con us. They are now bottom of my list – I will only buy in future if no alternative brand is available.
I would say there is even more reason to be suspicious. Why have a large capacity toner that claims 2600 pages so precisely? Is it the same cartridge with a different software trigger? Why are there such variations in the cost of toners and ink cartridges? Why is it often cheaper to buy a new printer with cartridge included than just the cartridge? If nothing else it encourages more going to landfill and I hope we all know just was a global loss that is.
I suggest suppliers and service industries do the following:
Reward loyalty in customers.
Cost things based on what we are buying not some arbitrary or intangible aspect.
Foster HONESTY in their sales to customers and stop insulting us by treating us with so much disrespect.
Show more consideration for the environment – often they are conning the planet as well as their customers.
Over to you Brother – I challenge you for an explanation of this apparent scandal / con trick. And I hope this helps someone out there.