“Nobody Wants a Printer, but Everybody Wants to Print” – An Article in the Wall Street Journal

In an entertaining article in the Wall Street Journal, Rachel Feintzeig reports on an increasingly paperless world where printing is old-fashioned but still necessary.

When you need a printer, you usually need it pretty badly.

The Wall Street Journal article “No One Wants a Printer, but Everyone Wants to Print” by Rachel Feintzeig takes an amusing and entertaining look at people’s relationships with printers in an increasingly paperless world. Although many people today no longer need physical copies, there are moments when printing is essential. Whether it’s return labels, homework assignments, or work documents, there are moments when you can’t survive without printing. As many no longer have a printer at home or the toner has dried up due to infrequent use, you suddenly find yourself faced with the challenge of finding a working printer somewhere that you can use for your purposes. The printer available to tenants in the lobby of an apartment building can then become an attraction with great appeal and a unique selling point for the landlord. Even if you have a printer, it doesn’t mean that printing will actually work. Some people have been struggling with their printing problems for years and are looking for alternatives.

Feintzeig reports on business opportunities around people’s printing needs. For example, she tells of Tyler Eshleman, who during his freshman year at Grand Valley State University in Michigan, encountered two roommates who had purchased a color printer and rented it out to their fellow students for a fee. Although they weren’t helping anyone with their homework, they were successful with their business model. 

Even in the office, there are challenges with printing. Feintzeig reports on Terri Barris from Ontario, Canada, who once sent confidential tax documents to the wrong printer. After a year of increasing printer problems, she “inherited” a colleague’s printer, this not only enabled her to print her own documents, but also made her a hero to her colleagues. For her, there is nothing better than printing documents for her colleagues and being given sweets by them in return. 

The article concludes by saying that the printer may be old-fashioned, but it is still a necessary evil. For those who can’t or won’t live without it, there are still ways to successfully integrate it into your life.

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