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A Persnickety Printer: Part 1 of Gift Message Goings-On

I may have one hat that's more 'famous' than the rest, but like most small business owners, I wear many, many different hats.  I run my own marketing 'department', customer service 'department', accounts payable and accounts receivable 'departments', purchasing 'department', and technical services 'department', just to name a few.

If there is one hat I like least, it has to be technical services.  Although I don't miss much about the corporate world, I do miss the days when someone else resolved my internet issues, handled trouble-shooting on my computer, fixed my printer, and solved the many, many technical problems that can arise in the course of a business week.  Of course, I have an outside expert who comes to my rescue in times of extreme distress, but I can't call him every time something goes wrong!  Take for example, the most recent technology glitch in our business: a mysterious printer problem.

Right before Easter, we ordered a new lot of 5,000 blank gift message cards.  We feed these cards through our printer for each custom gift message that accompanies our clients' bon bon orders.

Unfortunately, there seemed to be a nearly imperceptible difference between the old batch of cards that we had just used, and the new batch of cards we had just received.  The difference wasn't noticeable to anyone but our printer, which promptly jammed and chewed up our new card stock every time I tried to print a personalized card. I tried to fix it every way I could think of—online troubleshooting, resetting the printer settings, bending and fanning the cards, feeding one card at a time, feeding multiple cards at a time. Nothing worked. After countless tries, dozens of ruined cards, and one unfruitful call to the printer’s manufacturer, I finally resorted to hand-printing all the gift messages until I could find a better solution.

I couldn't afford to throw away 5,000 gift message cards; and I didn't really want to buy a new printer when my old one was working just fine (except when it came to those blasted gift cards!).  What else was there to do?  I ended up buying a used printer on Craigslist for $20 dollars.  (I'm a resourceful entrepreneur, if I do say so myself).  I would try using it for those persnickety message cards.  I called my tech consultant in to help me network a second printer to my office computers.  When he arrived, I demonstrated my printing dilemma with a test run of a gift card through my old printer.

I inserted the card into the feed, hit Print on my computer, and waited for the printer to make that now-familiar screeching sound that preceded the mangling of my new card stock. We watched as the printer’s lights turned on and the rollers sprung into action.  Yes, you guessed it-- the test sheet glided through, producing a perfect gift message card.  The printer and the gift cards have been getting along just fine ever since, and I have no idea why!

No use in trying to explain miracles;  I'm just focusing on the gratitude I feel now that my printer and my gift cards have made peace.  Meanwhile, I have a story to share about one gift message I created during our printer snafu.... Here it is!

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