My Saturday art class has now started back for spring, fully booked and with a waiting list for the first time ever. This is excellent obviously. The subject of the second weeks class is ‘Water in the landscape’ and I intend to provide photos of said landscapes so we can spend a couple of weeks looking at painting, you guessed it – water in the landscape; streams, puddles, rivers etc.
Determined not to be caught out last minute I started printing photos from my computer. It had been warning me for weeks that the ink was running out. However as you can only buy these particular cartridges online, and they cost more than tyres for my car, whilst being quite clearly made in China for about 3 quid, I have been putting the purchase off. I have tried previously to trick the printer with other brands but it refuses to recognise their presence and sulks for days. Today however my landscape photos emerged from the printer a lurid shade of lime green, as the red pigment had run out. As someone who frequently implores their students to mix ‘natural greens’ the irony of this did not escape me (green cows anyone?)
So on to the internet to part with large amounts of money in return for small pots of printer ink; fine until the payment part. One of those boxes opened, asking for extra bank verification (date of birth, number on back of card, that sort of thing,) filled in the required information. ‘Your details do not match our records for this card’ the box told me angrily, in red text just to make it quite clear that I was obviously a time-wasting cretin. Well since that is my date of birth, and that is the number on the card, I was not sure where to go from here (other than to the cupboard for a big glass of wine.)
Remembering my New Year diet, and the calorie levels in wine I persevered. Closed the box and pressed ‘confirm order’. Ha, success, until I got the email. ‘Thank you for your order, we will send it as soon as your bank authorise payment.’ I could see where this was going (or not going) so decided to email the cartridge manufacturer straight away. A helpful email form was supplied for customer services. The email would only send if I inserted my customer number. A helpful sub-box opened to tell me where to find my customer number: ‘your customer number will be emailed to you after your bank has authorised payment’. Genius: customer services that are designed to be un-reachable by customers.
Cue the rest of the afternoon spent in telephone queuing systems and conversation with my bank. It is odd that when I pay money into my bank they put no barriers in my way. However when I wish to pay an extortionate amount for a couple of printer cartridges, with a card I have had for a year, from an account that is in credit, they put every effort into stopping me.
In the end it seems to have been sorted out, meantime the pile of paperwork on my desk, and emails in my inbox has seemingly doubled. Plus it is obvious to me that I need to buy a different printer. Browsing the internet I notice they are for sale for less than the price of the ink cartridges I just bought.