Sunday, January 13, 2008

Ink me up, Spotty

As a digital photographer I have forsaken the messy world of chemicals and its attendant COSSH (Control Of Substances Hazardous to Health), and the expensive world of having to buy a film every time I've pressed the button 36 times. I used to be a purist, insisting that digital hadn't caught up with film. However, I'm sorry to disappoint you remaining shrinking band of purists out there, but the world has changed and digital, in my view has not only caught up with film, it has completely overtaken it. It's just a question of how much of your hard earned cash you want to spend to get the quality. I am quite prepared to spend a decent amount of money on a digital camera because I take an awful lot of photographs. Add all that film and film processing costs together and the FACT that I get better results than I did with film, it’s a real no-brainer to see why I have left the purist/traditionalist set.

Anyway, this is not really why I have decided to write anything this evening - it's just related. Because I am a digital photographer I occasionally print out my photographs as I do occasionally like to frame, or stick in a "do it yourself " calendar from "Paper Chase" a hard copy of the occasional masterpiece which either I or my wife produce with such indolent ease from time to time. Now, what I am rapidly trying to hone into here is the extortionate rip-off prices us hard pressed digital photographers are being charged for our inks. I needed some more ink for my Canon printer. I strode into good ole' Staples and bought for about £19 a pack of three - inks that is. The black I bought separately. Now, being a perfectionist snob and not wanting to cut corners or settle for second-best, I insist on using genuine Canon inks or nothing. I did try and do printing on the cheap, using third party ink cartridges, but the results were shit. Actually, the results were worse than shit. I preferred my own (not anyone else's) shit to the results I was getting with these third party inks. The main problem was the blacks just weren't really black, and the colours had no real vibrancy to them. However, I was walking to some town called Damascus one day, and I was suddenly blinded by a great light. I fell on my knees and I heard a voice inside my head saying "Steve, Steve, why are you such a cheapskate git? Get your arse this moment down to Staples and buy genuine Canon inks lest I smite you even unto the tenth generation thereof, with shitty prints."

"Yes Lord" (at this point I assumed the CEO of Canon had invaded my psyche) I said, "for it is hard to kick against the pricks" (or the shitty prints). And with that I wondered for forty days and forty nights looking for a shop of righteousness called Staples which would sell me a genuine Canon Ink cartridge at a reasonable price.

Now I mentioned earlier that one reason you might want to print out photographs is to put into a calendar. I did this very thing just before Christmas and produced a very nice personalised calendar which I gave, along with other things, as a present to my Mum. Having used up a lot of ink (all the prints were 10"x8") I needed some more ink. My local Staples had sold out. I went into town and visited some of our friendly local shops for local people and could hardly believe the outrageous prices I was being asked. In each case, I told the shop assistant I wasn't buying it and I felt they were ripping me off. Today, I decided to go into Staples and PC World in Peterborough. They had sales on. However, even if they hadn't had sales on the cost of the inks would still have been substantially cheaper than if I had bought from my friendly local High Street stores. Anyway, I ended up spending around £24 on ink cartridges which would have cost me the best part of £60 at my local rip-off stores. Now, I know the local independent stores or even small-chain stores are the first to complain about "out of town" shopping centres taking away their businesses. Well, I'm sorry, but shopping is not a charitable activity, and as far as I am concerned its about getting the best you can for the least you can pay for it and if the "local" shops don't like it, well tough, because that's business.

No comments: