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The Culprit

Our printer has never been stellar. I should’ve known we were in for a rough road when we’d had it for 3 weeks and I had to call customer service about it’s ability to turn on and off. The rep assured me that the contacts just needed to be “flexed” so he suggested that I 1) unplug the printer, 2) take a pencil, stick it in the power adapter spot and pry the prongs out a little more. You may think, as I did, that this highly technical solution would have me on my way to printing paradise but after only a week the original problem returned. In more recent months its taken to feeding large quantities of paper all at once, resulting in a loud clicking sound and arrested printing. I should’ve taken it back that first month but I find myself, 3 years later, continuing to: coax it, clear jams, re-feed paper, and constantly plug and unplug it because I’m cheap and I don’t want to buy a new printer.

On Monday I decided to print a very crucial document, which my printer must’ve recognized because it decided to feed approximately 24 pieces of paper through for the job. I let it click louder and louder until finally I canceled the job, pulled the paper out (later on as I informed RJ of this problem he advised me to clear 24-page paper jams by removing only a few pieces at a time, instead of all 24 at once. Next time I know) I tried again. This time however, no paper fed through at all. The printer, bless it’s broken little heart, was under the impression that there was indeed paper so it continued to print away until it finally alerted me that there was a “jam.” I re-adjusted the paper only to have it feed through in a crooked, halfhearted way. It was at this point, with some relief and happiness, that I surmised that the printer had printed it’s last sheet.

I made a reconnaissance trip to Walmart so that RJ and I could go back to make our big purchase this weekend but yesterday I realized I HAD to print something for a meeting so I decided to give the old Lexmark one more try. I reached in, stroked the feeders and encouraged them to feed just this one little paper through. After several attempts I determined that if there were only had 3 pages in the feeder tray, printing was successful. It was only as I tempted fate with a second printing that I spied something shiny down in the bottom of the printer:

Amazingly, once I removed this little spoiler, my printer fed paper with ease. So I guess I don’t need a new one after all. What I do need is a large quantity of patience, a sharp pencil (for the prongs), and a reminder not to leave stuff sitting on the printer, but it looks like this little Lexmark will live to print another day.

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