Sunday, December 28, 2008

Signs of Aging, Redux

For Christmas this year, I received this. This gift is the adult equivalent of Legos for kids. Yes, some assembly and setup is required, but as long as all of the pieces are in place, no sweat. In the case of my grown-up gift, on the outside of the box is a graphic that shows me everything included inside the box.

No question about the content of the box.

As you can see from the picture above, it lists the following:
  • Pixma MP610
  • 5 Canon genuine ink tanks
  • Print head
  • Setup CD-rom and printed documents
  • Power cord
  • Sample photo paper
  • Paper for print head alignment
Now, when it comes to Legos, I'm very methodical. All the blocks get separated into piles by color and size. Setting up a new printer is no different. I open the box, remove all the parts and pieces, inventory everything, open up the tabloid-spread setup document and get to work. Note the setup document is quite thorough. No Ikea-like hieroglyphics here, boys and girls. Not only are there pictures, but there are words, too. So far, so good.

No Ikea-like hieroglyphics. This is a major plus!

Then I flip the page to the other side, where I must choose between instructions for PC setup or Mac setup.

Mac, please. Thankyouverymuch.

I begin to read the instructions, which begin with these words and include a set of graphics: "Connect one end of the USB cable to the computer, the other to the machine."

Where is the friggin' USB cable?!

USB cable. USB cable. I know I saw that here.

Where did I put that?

I look all over my desk, on my book shelves, behind my laptop. I even go through the box again. I know I've seen that damn thing. Where is it?!

I look at the little legend on the box that shows me everything Canon has included with my all-in-one printer.

There is no little graphic of a USB cable. WTF?!

No USB cable? How can this be?! I mean, that's like a manufacturer not including batteries in the package for a toy. Sure, there was a time when the package warned parents that "Batteries are not included" and they had to make sure to buy batteries, otherwise Christmas would be ruined. Now toy makers are smart and include the batteries so they don't get the pants sued off of them when Johnny can't run his animatronic Transformer or Suzy can't make her Betsy Wetsy wet. And all for want of batteries.

My point is, if you're gonna tell people to connect one end of a USB cable into their new printer and the other end into their computer so they can use their new toy that they're all excited about, then inlcude the friggin' cable with the printer! How hard can it be? I think I'd be happy to pay an extra $30 for that cable and the ability to try out my new toy immediately and avoid a trip to my local-but-not-easily-accessible purveyor of office supplies.

But noooooooooooo. No, no, no.

I had to wait until December 26th. I then had to schlep myself to Staples and get an A-to-B USB cable. Needless to say, the folks at Staples lived up to their reputation of making things easy, but Canon? Canon did not.

I wrote them a letter. This is what it said:

Dear Canon:

You suck!


J.M. Tewkesbury

Crap like this is what makes me cranky and is further evidence that I'm getting old.


Maya said...

Hmmm, yes. It sounds very similar to the new toy I sent my mother this Christmas. Apparently it needs some other attachment for her sized player which you can get free from the company, but you need to ask for. So, no playing with the toy right away for her either! Bad bad bad idea for keeping customers happy in my book...

I don't think it has anything to do with getting old. This would piss me off if I was young too!

Cele said...

I have NEVER understood why printers do not come with cables. What gives?

I can't wait to find out how you like your printer.

Phoenix Touch said...


And.... omg! My captcha word: swear

No lie! It's swear! I think that is really appropriate in this situaton.

Tee hee heeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Herb of DC said...

I've given up on putting together any type of systems. It is much easier to find an 8 year old to do it in 15 minutes or less for the price of a Big Mac.

Having said that, Canon still sucks.

BTW my Word Verification here is "disestic" which I think is how you feel when you find your newly purchased printer is missing a cable.

Scenic Wheaton said...

I think I have an extra USB cable you can have. I have a box of weird cables in my closet.

j.m. tewkesbury said...

Maya: Infuriating, isn't it? Hope your mom got her player working without too much extra effort.

Cele: What gives? No clue, but that is the $64,000 question, that's fer sure. P.S. Now that I have the proper cable, I like my printer! It's fabulous!

Abgue: Well, I can't think of a better word for this situation! Once again, you channel irony and mirth!

Herb: Disestic pretty much describes it. And note to self: Find and hire an eight-year old next time. (Why do I never think of these things myself?!)

Scenic: I think I'm good now, but if I find a need for a random cable, you'll be my first call.

Virginia said...

I hear ya and I am really O.L.D. THe damn cable thing is ridiculous. What's that deal all about? There are so many other things that piss me off you don't have the time or fortitude to listen to it. I got one of those things for an IPOD with speakers for Christmas. Guess what. It won't work with an IPOD Shuffle. Give me a damn break! Whose head can I rip off? I'm off to the Apple store tomorrow. Let me guess.... I need a special CABLE!!!!

Katherine said...

Most frustrating thing in the world. Hate, hate, hate when that happens.

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

V: Don't you love that?! I gave a friend an adapter for her car so she could channel her iPod through her car stereo. Turns out, the adapter only works with a Nano or above. Ergo, her Shuffle is useless in the car. Grrrrrr...

Katherine: Frustrating and hate barely begin to scratch the surface. What was worse was when I called Canon the next morning to query why an A-B USB cable isn't part of the package. Not only did I get a non-answer, the CSR told me a personal anecdote about working for an office supply store and having to remind customers that they might want to grab this crucial cable as they were purchasing a printer. Her anecdote was so not helpful.

HELLO!?!!! Why the hell aren't these cables just included?! Sheesh.

Anonymous said...

That DOES suck, and I think I know why cables aren't included. They cost a lot. Canon wants you to think you got a good deal on the printer, but slap on $30 extra dollars, it doesn't look like such a good deal. So they don't mention the cable.

Last night my husband and I saw a commercial for an HP printer for the exciting, low price of $99.99. My husband laughed and said he bought the same printer for $69. The catch was that the he had to purchase the cable extra for another $30.

I'm wondering if the $99 printer included the cable or not.

Probably not.

- Phoebe

P.S. I'm so impressed with your Lego skills. That diagram made me despair.

D.C. Confidential said...

Phoebe: You're right. When I went to Staples the next morning, bright and early, it cost me $37.99 to get the cable I need. (I could have spent $27.99 for a 6' cable, but I went with the 10'.) Still, I'd rather have the cable in the box than not.


Liz said...


D.C. Confidential said...

Liz: Yeah, I'm laughing now. But I wasn't on Christmas night.