Energy Star (Green) Appliances

At work there are two “energy star” appliances in my work space.  There is a big printer and also a copier.  The idea is most of the time they are in a standby mode so they save energy by not turning on and heating up until needed.

So when something is sent to the printer, the printee walks over to it and watches for the printed pages to emerge.  The display on the printer indicates the printer is warming up.  Also it says tray 3 is out of paper.  Actually it must be printing from drawer two because eventually it does print and the paper could not be coming from drawer 3.  But it takes a long time to turn on and start working.

Sometimes, if it has been inactive for a very long time it goes completely off line and people will stand there for a few minutes until they realize they have to also press a button to wake it up.  Most times the printee  will give up and decide to come back later.  They walk away, soon after, the printer comes on and prints out the document.

Then, printee 2, a coworker prints something else, without noticing the extra document they pick up both documents and walk away. Printee 1 comes back looking for the document they printed.  Finding nothing they head back to their desk to try again.

The copier is the same except a little worse.  You walk up to it and press a button to wake it up.  No response. So press another, and another, finally it stirs.  Something is happening.  Put the original in, press print, nothing happens.

Copier display cheerfully says, “please wait, warming up”.

Put the original in again, press print, still nothing seems to be happening.

Then the display says “scanning can begin while the copier is warming up”

Run the original through again.  Still no copies coming out.  Then with no warning it turns on and prints 3 copies.  Only wanted one,  so two go in the trash.

The thing about these appliances is not just that they waste time and paper, but they make people crazy.  There is nothing more frustrating than waiting for them to come on and being unsure of what the status is, pushing the wrong button and turning them off, or printing too many pages.

I remember the movie office spaces, the printer that they took out to a field and destroyed with baseball bats.  I could see that happening.  When I watched in the movie it was funny, but not very true to life.  With my recent experience though with the new energy star appliances it seems more likely and understandable.

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