Printer & Ink Cartridge: The True Costs

I purchased a new Dell printer more than a year ago.  I was excited because I got the All-In-One Printer (printer, copier, scanner & fax) at a great price, $99 before tax.

Well, of course, I’ve paid twice that much since then paying for ink cartridge.  That’s how these companies make their money (I don’t begrudge them for that; as a consumer, you must be aware however).

And why do I, as a consumer, and you as a consumer, use so much ink so quickly?  Besides the usual stuff (letters, photos, articles online, etc), there’s a trend with big corporations and even government agencies – shifting the cost of print to the consumer or citizen.

As an example I recently received the following Notice 1400 from the Internal Revenue Service

Tax Package Information for Individuals

With the continued growth in electronic filing and to help reduce costs, the IRS will no longer mail paper tax packages that typically arrive in January of each year.  If you still wish to use a paper form, the IRS has several options available to help you obtain paper copies of individual forms and instructions, including:

* Accessing our forms and instructions online at IRS.gov.  You can quickly download the latest products from our site.

During the same week I received my quarterly statement from PepsiCo.  Included with the statement was the Shareholder Newsletter.  That newsletter stated in pertinent part

In line with PepsiCo’s sustainability commitments, we will no longer mail a copy of the bi-annual shareholder newsletter.  Shareholder news will be located at http://www.pepsico, in the “Investors” section under “Shareholder Information” beginning next year.

I applaud PepsiCo’s sustainability commitments.  If I am one of those really interested shareholders and wish to retain a copy of the “news” I read on the website, I’ll print that shareholder newsletter.

I think we all want the government to reduce its expenses, so the IRS discontinuing sending paper tax packages to individuals is a great idea.  And, printing the forms and instruction booklet from the website is not the only option for obtaining the tax packages.

I raise this issue because the “cost” of paper and postage, though no longer on the books of PepsiCo and the IRS, doesn’t disappear into thin air.  There is still a “cost.” It has been shifted from the company or government to the shareholder or citizen.  A reason why consumers are using more ink.  (I know I am.  Visited Staples today to buy black ink cartridge.)

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