Allow me to explain what kind of garbage department I work for. (Yes, I know that first sentence would get me kicked out of English class.) But I digress.
When I was a wet-behind-the-ears detective, the squad floor had four printers. Two Epson black and white printers, one color printer, and a black and white teletype printer. The teletype printer just pushes out court notices, warrant updates, and messages from police headquarters.
About three years in, one of the black and white printers went kaput. The city promised they would replace the printer, but fifteen years later we are still waiting. “I don’t think she’s ever coming back.”
The color printer was a godsend. We could finally show photo arrays in color, as the black and white photos were usually grainy. Eventually, we saw a trend with the color printer. The ink would run out in less than a week.
The color printer effectively became a Rube Goldberg machine. The ink ran out, and it took the city a few weeks to replace the color ink. We would insert said ink, and the two week backup of detectives trying to print in color – even though they knew it wasn’t working – printed the backlogs.
This particular color printer was nearly impossible to stop while it was shuffling out papers we didn’t need anymore, and by the end of the day, we were out of color ink.
The circle of life continued unabated…
We currently have two printers working (more or less). One is the black and white printer, the other is the teletype. We have one – ONE – ink cartridge for the teletype and the printer. So, when someone wants to check court notices, I have to put the cartridge into the teletype. If someone wants to print a report, I have to take out the ink and place it into the black and white printer.
WE HAVE BEEN DOING THIS SINCE LAST WEEK!
The day we realized we were effectively out of ink, we called the supply unit and they told us to bring down the cartridge and they would give us a refill. We did so, and were told, “Nah bruh, we don’t have any ink left.”
Now I think this is absolute bullshit, because I damn well know the big bosses aren’t running out of ink in their offices. I think they figured they would hoard ink for the important people, and leaving us with scraps.
I checked the ink last night around 7pm and our lone ink cartridge read 5%. The entire building will be out of printer ink probably sometime today. It’s going to be great when the bosses ask where our hard copies are, because the answer will be, “It’s still in the printer.”
Here is a photo of the printer problem. The empty printer is on the left, then the empty color printer in the middle, and the teletype is on the right.