Last March, as I grabbed essential items from my desk and left the office, I had two thoughts: “I’m going to miss £1 Pret filter coffee” and “What the hell will I do if I need to print something?” As lockdown descended, I was making final changes to the draft of my first book (which meant painstakingly going through line edits by hand). I was also navigating a legal situation which meant I had to regularly print out important documents and sign them with an actual, physical pen. I had never owned my own printer. If I wasn’t using the one in my parents’ house, I was waiting in line in a university library for my turn. And there was always one at work I could use.
At the beginning of the pandemic (in a moment of desperation), I borrowed a neighbour’s printer. It was fine, but it was loud, and I kept tripping over the unsightly wires connecting it to my laptop in my new office (the living room). Three weeks in, I accepted that a return to the office was not happening anytime soon and typed “wireless printer” into Google. Ten minutes later, I found myself on the Argos website scrolling through four-star reviews of the Canon PIXMA MG3650S. At £34.99 it was by far the cheapest printer I had found, and it doubled as a scanner (some I spotted were over £250, which I can only assume means they also prepare your WFH lunch). It was also tiny: 15cm high, 45cm wide, and 30cm across. I ordered it to click and collect a day later.
[Editor’s note: Printers have been in and out of stock at Argos for months – however, we noticed that Argos has an eBay store which has Vicky’s printer in stock.]
There was no smudging nor were there technical difficulties, just a smooth near-silent production of pages. My tiny, shiny black plastic printer connected seamlessly to my phone and my laptop. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever found anything so easy to set up (and I am the kind of person who has had their Apple TV plugged in for three weeks but cannot bring themselves to undertake the mammoth task of actually installing it). Like a slow-motion dragonfly, it buzzes and hums gently before periodically emitting a reassuring click, letting me know that it is working away (But not once has it disturbed me or interrupted a Zoom call by eating print-outs). In fact, its subtle sounds almost simulate being in an actual office, which I find weirdly comforting.
When my solicitor asks me for something, no longer do I fill with dread and avoid her emails. I simply locate it (usually on my phone) and print out the document from my Google cloud. Best of all, the printer weighs just five kilograms, meaning I can easily move it around and hide it when not in use. It slots neatly under my sideboard and basically disappears.
So enraptured was I by this printer that I posted about it on Instagram. Ten people instantly responded, asking for the name of the model so that they too could purchase it. The past 12 months of life under COVID have introduced me to many previously hidden parts of myself but printer evangelism has to be the least expected. I have even begun to offer a (socially distanced) printing service for friends and family just so that I can rhapsodize about how great my little printer is and, of course, how little it cost me.
An alternate (in-stock) MG3 model.
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