It's early July 2020, and the whole world is at an uneasy standstill due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Schools around the world have shut down completely, and most businesses are either operating remotely or have completely shut down as well.
I recently had 5yo Elvis join me at a quaint little hotel in Accra, Ghana where I've been hiding out since last Christmas. To keep him busy, I've got him enrolled in the International Academy of Science's Power Home School program.
Power Home School's pre-school program, so far, has been everything I had hoped for in a homeschool curriculum and courseware... and then some.
But being an online curriculum, learning has always meant staring at the screen. Add this screentime to Elvis' usual Khan Academy and YouTube Kids sessions, and I became really worried about the amount of time he spent with his tablet.
Something had to change, and very quickly.
So I cooked up a plan: I decided to get a little printer to print out some activities we could do together, and use that to distract the little monkey from the screen.
I wanted a printer that could also scan and copy, via a USB connection and over the WiFi network. It had to be dead-cheap -- and I'm referring to both the printer itself and the cost of the ink cartridge(s).
And bonus brownie points if the damn thing would let me disable whatever "cloud" features it comes with.
Being the crazy nerd that I am with time on my hands, I donned my Google tunic and set out to find such an el-cheapo, multi-function, wireless printer.
The HP DeskJet 2620 All-in-One Printer seemed to check all the boxes. And as a bonus, I could even print, scan and copy over the WiFi network from the companion HP Smart> mobile app.
Sure, I saw some negative reviews -- lots of them actually -- but most of these whiners either complained about complicated setup or folks were simply expecting too much from a $50 piece of plastic. These complaints were not deal-breakers for me.
Even before COVID-19 and the nationwide lockdown, I had gotten accustomed to buying my junk online here in Accra -- whether it's food from a nearby restaurant or some rare machine part from the world's factory, China. I certainly wasn't going to walk into a computer shop during a pandemic to buy a printer!
Luckily, I saw this printer listed on multiple Ghanaian online stores and classifieds sites. Superprice.com had the cheapest price of GHS 299 (about $51) and delivery to my hotel was just GHS 10 ($1.7).
I had one of the hotel staff get on Superprice.com and order the printer for me very late Thursday night. Amid a global pandemic, and due to my past experiences, I was expecting delivery at least a week away, or even a complete drop of the order (this being a cash-on-delivery order).>
But to my big, pleasant surprise, a Superprice.com representative called early morning the very next day to confirm the order and my availability, as the order was to be dispatched that very morning. And a little after noon, I had the printer on my hotel room desk!
My first-time Superprice.com order was not all rosy though. Two issues tainted my otherwise perfect first experience.
The first was with the delivery. It turns out Superprice.com is on the Spintex Road, and only 15km away from my hotel. I believe Google Maps' 28mins driving distance estimate takes into consideration the often heavy traffic on this particular road.
But Accra's dispatch riders meander through the heaviest of traffic -- often jumping red traffic lights. So the real riding time should be substantially less than Google's driving estimate, perhaps less than half.
And here is where the experience began to turn sour: this rider insisted his "last stop" is Adenta Barrier (see Police Station on the map below). To receive the order, I was to meet him at this "collection point". He wasn't going to deliver to my hotel that is less than a mile away.
Sure, he could deliver to the hotel, but only if I doubled the delivery fee -- for the "extra" distance that is less than a mile. Yikes!
At this point, I would have just told him to eat the printer (remember, this was a cash-on-delivery order, so I hadn't paid for it yet). Luckily for the world, there are people still alive today who are far nicer than I can ever be, and the same hotel staff who placed the order for me offered to go out and receive it.
My second unpleasant experience with Superprise.com was with the item delivered. While this printer has a USB port and the quick-start guide clearly calls for the use of a USB cable, no such cable was included in my box.
I checked out a couple of YouTube videos unboxing this very printer model, and every single one of them had a USB cable included in the box.
So what happened to my USB cable? That, I may never know. But I do know that while the printer itself was wrapped in a transparent tape in a manner that could only have been done at the factory, the box that it came in had clearly been opened before and re-taped.
And how was I to set up this printer without its USB cable? This, and how my little monkey saw what I had done on this printer and tried to ape me, will be the subject of a future post.
Until then, stay safe and stay the course✌.
This page was last modified on Sun, 12 Jul 2020 13:38:24 GMT.