Why it takes me hours to set up a printer.

On paper, it takes five minutes to install a new printer. But it takes me hours and hours and hours!


Taking the printer out of the box and plugging it in takes less than one minute.

Then I spend the next few hours trying to figure it out. First, I try to be systematic and read the instruction manual. After a while, I realise that although the pictures and diagrams look easy enough, upon closer reading, I find it impossible to understand it because it seems to be written by people whose first language does not seem to be English.

So then I go online to the company website and there’s a this friendly “live” customer chap who seems very helpful because you have can this conversation with him live and he appears to be able to solve your problem right then and there, online, until he realises that either I’m too dumb or the problem is not a “standard” problem. So then, he would suggest that I call up customer service. He gives me a shortcut though and tells me the number to press to get to the department I need straight away without listening to the menu for which department I want.

After explaining my problem on the phone to the technical support chap, he tells me that I have gotten through to the wrong department (??) and tells me to hang on while he transfers me to the correct department. Okay, at least he didn’t hang up on me. So I explain my problem again, and then am asked to walk to-and-fro from printer to router to printer to have him finally say, “Give me your number and I’ll call you back when I have an answer.” Immediately after I hang up, I feel super frustrated because I forgot to ask him when he would be calling me back. Sigh. But deep in my heart, I know what the answer would have been anyway, it would most likely have been “within 24 hours, m’am.”

So then, I decided that it would be less stressful for me to move on to the next step and register the printer online for warranty. I mean, how difficult can that be? Well, it is, if you are not sure whether the Invoice Number is the same as the Order Number, or the ALC (what’s that?) Number. I write to the sales chap who sold me the computer and he replies, “Try Order Number.” Now, exactly what does “Try Order Number mean?” Does it mean that six months down the road when something is wrong with the printer, the company will reject the warranty because I “tried” and had input the wrong invoice number when I registered the product?

And what do you know, I have a second problem registering the product online. The sales guy had given me a 3-year warranty instead of a 1-year warranty but the online entry shows a default “1-year” in the duration field, which I cannot change. So I have to send another email to ask the sales chap to confirm that he will speak to his warranty department to make sure that after I click on submit, they will change it to “3-years”. This means I have to track this for a few days until I get confirmation that this has been done.

Argh…Okay, so to calm myself down, I decide to download the $20 NTUC voucher which I was given by the sales chap for buying directly from the company instead of going to department stores or shops. So I click on the document to PRINT my first document when what I see instead is a form I have to fill up and go all the way to Suntec City to queue up for, to redeem the voucher. Oh come on! The value of the voucher does not match with the time and distance I have to travel and spend time to queue and redeem!


And the thing is, all the phone calls were by customer service staff who were very polite and friendly. I feel like venting, but it’s not “their fault”.

You see, it’s the little things that add up. And there are so many little things. So many.

To all IT gadget companies out there, if you can provide a service whereby you deliver the product (a printer in this case) and set up the printer for the user (on as many devices as she has, i.e. on all the laptops and phones and iPads etc etc in the house, and connect the wifi to the printer, and register the product with the correct number of years warranty and before you leave my place, pass me an envelope with a $20 NTUC voucher, I WILL pledge my undying loyalty and buy all my future IT products from you. In fact, I think you will gain a great market share from IT klutzes like me if you can provide that service, and I am sure there are plenty like me around. You will see your sales figures go up astronomically if you can sort this out because at the moment, I don’t think any company has managed to sort this out yet.

But for now, because such service is not available, all I have for now is a new printer that prints documents with a physical USB cable with just my laptop. I guess that should be good enough for now.