Sep 27, 2016

Sore Loser: Hewlett Packard (HP)

An Open Letter to Hewlett Packard (HP) 

I have been buying HP printers for years. I have also been buying after-market ink cartridges for years. They work great, they are one-fourth the ridiculous cost of HP products, and the companies (the ones I’ve used) stand by their product.

A couple of weeks ago, my HP OfficeJet Pro 8610 with completely FULL ink cartridges (bought from HP competitors) suddenly quit working. My printer insisted that my cartridges had failed. Every single one of them. At the same time. 

This seemed pretty fishy to me, but I contacted the company from which I bought them a few months ago. They informed me that HP had discreetly updated certain printers (I never authorized this update) and the only purpose of this “update” was to render my after-market ink cartridges useless. Thanks for looking out for your customers, HP.

The ink company is sending me brand new cartridges that will work with this unnecessary update. They are choosing to show they WANT my business.

But now, we’ve been without a printer for almost two weeks. We have to run to the library with documents on a flash drive so my kids can print things for school. Yesterday, my high schooler accidentally put the wrong history document on the flash drive and didn’t realize he printed the incorrect one at the library until late last night. The assignment is due today. 

Too bad he couldn’t print the correct one after realizing his mistake, like normal families. Apparently, it’s more important that HP make their customers think their ink cartridges are a bad product so we’ll all bow down to a corporate giant and shell out $50 for ONE BLACK INK CARTRIDGE. 

One out of four necessary to the machine. That’s some profit margin, HP.

If you want my business for ink cartridges as well as the printer, then compete for it. Give me a reason to buy yours instead of after-market. But do NOT covertly tell my printer, that I paid my money for, to not use the carts I paid to put in there. That is not the way to earn business. That is manipulation and deception, and I can only hope that it will bite you in the rear. I also hope this letter will serve as an instrument to help it along.

I hope to see a public apology to the customers of HP for being sore losers in the ink cartridge industry. I will say that if this happens again, this is the very last HP printer I will ever own. And I’ll make sure every person I know is aware of the disturbing tactics of this company.

***UPDATE: HP has retracted its pervasive update and allowed my printer to work again with my cartridges. At least for now. They even (sort of) apologized for not communicating well (ya think?) The wording they used about how they were "protecting" me from "cloned" cartridges was absurd as an excuse for what they did, but the VERY positive side is they heard from enough customers (like me) who said "NO" to a corporate giant trying to squelch competition. Bravo, HP customers! 

Sep 25, 2016

An Open Letter

To the nice black man with the sweet little family in the grocery store parking lot today:

I just want you to know that I softly wept on the way home.

When I walked out to my car, you were helping your family get out of yours. You had parked just to the left of me, and as I approached my trunk with my groceries, I was smiling when I saw you.

I saw what you did next.

You had already started to turn to help your young son, but then you stopped, changed direction, and intentionally set your attention squarely on me. You met my smile with your own and then a kind, "Hey! How you doin'?"

This really is a fairly common exchange between decent people. But for some reason, the obnoxious touts of racism that are thrust on decent people via the media these days have really been very suffocating.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that racism is still alive and well in the hearts of some people in this country - and that's true on both sides.  But the level to which the problem is elevated for political and propaganda purposes is about as nauseating as it gets. Half the time people are afraid to even use the COLORS black or white (as in fabric or paint) for fear of offending someone.

Now, Sir, I would not say that I have ever actually believed what I'm about to say. I've known many people, black and white, who absolutely do not fit this. But I will admit that there are times when I wonder...times when I've listened too much to the perpetual droning on about how much hate is on both sides. There have been times when I've wondered if every black person that sees me despises me because of my skin color. I've wondered, "What do they think of me? Do they think I hate them because of their skin?" Do you think those thoughts, too?

You know, when you're told "they hate you" enough, you start to wonder.

And then I see someone like you. Someone who went out of his way to greet another person just as an equal, as a fellow human being. Because we are exactly that.

And then I realize that the propaganda machine has succeeded only in making stories that are so sparse and infrequent into these major headlines to get us to click on that link. And if we're not careful, we believe the problem is bigger than it really is.

Again, not saying there aren't changes that should be made. But I think most of the problems are with the political and propaganda engines more than within the hearts of most people.

Thank you, Sir, for reminding me of that.

My encounter with you and your family today was like a cool drink of water to me.

Cleansing. Healing. Refreshing.