An Inky Issue

Such Inky Goodness

Such Inky Goodness

So what is it with the packaging of printer ink cartridges?  I just bought a couple of replacement HP21 black ink carts, got them home, and then spent a good 5 minutes fighting the bastard things to get them open.  It is bad enough that HP wrap the buggers in several layers of cardboard, which have a tendency to catch that little flap of skin at the base of your thumbnail when you try to open them using the ‘easy-to-open’ serated endings…but then they, or the retail stores, encase the whole shebang in heavy duty plastic sheathing, a la Han in carbonite.  This isn’t mere shrink wrapping, it is full on plasticised WAR!

First off, there is no way in to this thing.  No easy-tear strip, no clever little widget stub things that interlock and keep the beast closed.  Nope.  This casing is heat-sealed all the way round, I presume using some super-secret military grade laser!  You can’t tear it.  You can’t break it.  You can barely dent it.  I am thinking that this is the same plastic that those toy babies that are the only survivors of plane crashes are made out of.  It is surely the stuff the future robot warriors that will annihilate us as a species will be made from (in a gratuitous act of genocidal irony!)

So, how to get to the lovely inky goodness within?

Kids, make sure you have a responsible adult to help you with this – although, thinking about it, it will probably be quicker with an irresponsible adult to help!  I tried the kitchen scissors, which weren’t up to the job.  I tried the kitchen carving knife, which worked but came dangerously close to cutting my hand off in the process!  Luckily, as a suicide-waiting-to-happen (or maybe just an audio editor), I have a stash of single edged razor blades.  And so, with trusty blade in hand, I eventually uncorked my fluffy gooey HP ink.

So what’s the deal with all this plastic wrapping?  As a fairly well educated man, I can guess that it serves as a deterant to the idle shoplifter.  By hiring the Ugnaughts of Cloud City to encase each and every HP ink cart in carbonite, the retailers think shoplifters will take one look and go, “I aint hiring no Galactic bounty hunter just to open that!” and give the idea of stealing some ink the bum’s rush.

BUT!  If I was a determined ink cart thief-type, surely I wouldn’t worry about the wrapping.  I’d gather my ill-gotten hoard, take it to some lock-up and make like Arthur Daley with the old razorblade or crate knife?

HOWEVER, I wonder if I am off the scent here a little.  Maybe it isn’t to do with theft, but something more worrying?  Maybe it is the ink inside.  Maybe it needs to be protected ffrom the evil air that surrounds us and fills our lungs and taunts our goldfish?  As we all know, HP ink is now the single most expensive commodity IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE!  That is why it is doled out in such minute portions, and why they charge so much for so little!  It is also THE MOST UNSTABLE ELEMENT IN EXISTENCE, as proven by the fact that, no matter how recently you bought it, and how little you’ve used to date, there is never enough left to print what you are trying to print.

Therefore, it is my belief that the impossible-to-open plastic wrapping, is in fact there to keep the ink trapped and away from the evil air, so that as consumers we take home our little cartridge of inky joy, and only once opened does the process of ink-evaporation begin…thereby helping HP to avoid lawsuits and dimensional destabilisation.

That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it…at least until a better one comes along 🙂

N.B. – Hello HP lawyers…this blog is SATIRE and IRONIC.  I don’t really think HP sells magic evaporating ink, or has a hidden agenda regarding it’s packaging.  So please don’t sue me.  This blog is meant as humour.  That being said, please feel free to make your outer packaging a little less impossible to get through, and maybe a little more environmentally friendly.  Oh, and if you could make the ink last longer than a a couple of dozen pages (that’s sarcasm!) it would be ace.  Thanks 🙂


About hokusbloke
30-something radio producer/director/writer, owner & MD of Ladbroke Productions (the UK's oldest independent radio production company). Lover of far fetched fiction, scifi and fantasy, my cats and all thinks tech. I am also the Chair of the Radio Independents Group, a former Trustee of the Radio Academy, and a Fellow of the RSA. I co-wrote, produced and directed Robert Rankin's "The Brightonomicon" audio series, produce Dr Who audiobooks for the BBC, and directed several sci-fi radio plays for BBC Radio 4 in 2009. I am a strong advocate for more SF audio and radio...keep watching this space for upcoming news!

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