Our printer broke down earlier this year, and we dug out our warranty and replaced it… again.  And I was surprised by my anger, for it seemed that these machines were not built to last.

And I specifically asked for a printer that would use the same ink, as I carefully removed all the ink cartridges out of the old one, wanting at least to save the very expensive ink I had bought.

So this week, wanting to replace ink in our hungry printer, I placed one of those old cartridges in… and it wouldn’t work.  In and out, I tried a number of times, but the printer would not cooperate.

So off to the store… where they told me… the old cartridges had a bigger capacity, and wouldn’t work.  Same brand, same ink, wrong printer.

And as I fumed (in a friendly sort of way of course), the lad told me that he had actually asked the company why they didn’t keep things the same… but was told that they change things… so the customer will have to buy new.

So as I watched the computer guy feed his recycle bin with my very good ink, which wouldn’t work on my now machine, I was completely annoyed.  And in good taste, he was annoyed with me and we agreed it was a complete waste.  Although I then handed over money for ink cartridges that would work.

This is not isolated situation. We replaced our stove this year as well… less than two years old, just slipped by warranty, because the computer panel was too expensive to replace.  It was cheaper to buy a new stove.

And we throw things away, big things, and buy new because we are caught in a system that we can’t control.  Or can we?

My husband sometimes teases me that I have become an environmentalist, and truly, I try.  I know we can do better.  But I have to start with myself.  We are a nation that throws away a lot of food.  Do I use my left-overs well?  Do I recycle?  Do I try to fix what is broken?

I’ve learned to make my own laundry soup and hand-soap, and other things, but there is always this weighing of time and energy versus convenience.  And often, like many things in our culture, convenience wins out.

I will admit I often forget my cloth bags at the grocery store when I am in a hurry, and are thankful for the plastic ones they provide.  And my house-painter hubby is happy to use those plastic bags for wet paint brushes… but I know the truth of the matter is that we use far too much plastic, and we don’t always dispose of it properly.

And so I am challenged to do better.  And perhaps a rant about ink is not a bad thing, I might even write a letter to the company.

And in the big scheme of things, in a broken world, I choose how to live.  To choose to be kind, to take care of this beautiful earth we’ve been given to live in, to give thanks to God for life itself.

And as someone said, these are truly first-world problems.  But as a citizen of the whole world, I want to live in a way that is responsible and caring.  Even when it comes to ink.

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