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June 29, 2005 12:03 AM

Broken: Printer paper warning

Paperlow3Matthew Wagner writes:

There's a little deli on campus here at Bentley, and it's usually pretty crowded. You place your order on a touchscreen station, which prints you a receipt, which you then take to claim your food and pay.

What's broken here is that the receipt printer will detect when it's running low on paper. After every receipt it prints, it prints out another receipt, stating that the "Local printer paper is getting low!" Once it's low on paper, it begins doing this after every receipt, thus ensuring it runs out of paper twice as quickly.


Well, it assumes that one of those would eventually end up in the hands of someone who can change the paper...

Posted by: Sergey at June 29, 2005 12:39 AM

If the paper's low and the printer loves printing warnings for those circumstances, it could at least save a little more of paper by avoiding the exactly 9 useless asterisks and dashes lines and, while we are at it, reducing the top and bottom margins.

Posted by: Guido at June 29, 2005 02:46 AM

You would think it would flash a light or have some other way to indicate that the paper was out. I would say this is very poorly designed.

Posted by: Phil at June 29, 2005 02:48 AM

For the printer's manufacturer, a light is more expensive to add than this printed message...

Posted by: Andreas at June 29, 2005 03:30 AM

Usually on receipts the paper changes color toward the end of the roll to indicate the roll needing to be changed. Somewhere a designer thought he'd be more tech savy by having the system print out "hey I'm running low refill me". What he wind up being is stupid.

Wait a second maybe the designer is not so stupid. After all, if the printer company sells the paper for the printer they sell more paper this way. Also the system at the deli that operates this printer probably has a way shut this feature off. But since it appears their is no other indication that paper supply is low(no color change in paper) It may not be wise to do so. Reason being with an indication the employees no that someone should get on it soon. With no indication when it runs completely out an employee has to stop immediately and tend to the printer.

Also another reason why this design is broke is because the extra paper that the notice is printed on can be easily ignored. Whereas, if the paper changed color the slip that contains the customers order would be easily noticed by the employee working the counter.

Posted by: Kent at June 29, 2005 03:43 AM

OOPS Reason being with an indication the employees no that someone should get on it soon. no should be know. I'm so broken

Posted by: Kent at June 29, 2005 03:45 AM

If printing a message is the only way to grab attention of the people who need to attend to it then it may as well print a one line message at the end of the food receipt (instead of all the *'s). That way the cashier can see it and call the attendant.

Posted by: DB at June 29, 2005 06:07 AM

I'm not so sure the blame necessarily lies with the manufacturer of the printer. The set-up isn automated ordering system that prints receipts for people. The printer may be one designed to by employees to give receipts.

Posted by: Carlos Gomez at June 29, 2005 08:11 AM

Wouldn't surprise me if the company that sells the printer also sells the paper, and the ink too (that explains all the asterisks). From the printer company's perspective: not broken (more profit). From the customer (i.e., the deli's) perspective: broken (costs them more money in the long run). From the deli customer's perspective: really broken (it's not my job to tell the deli to replace their paper -- I just want my sandwich!).

Posted by: E.T. at June 29, 2005 09:28 AM

its thermal paper. no ink.

Posted by: mwaves at June 29, 2005 02:17 PM

The ordering system is all automated so I supose the "paper is getting low" system is too.

Posted by: phil at June 29, 2005 03:42 PM

Two random things:

There have been A LOT of THB entries recently.

My Norton Internet Security isn't blocking the ads on the left in TIB, and it usually does

Posted by: no one at June 29, 2005 04:43 PM

What gets me is that the warning recipt is on a separate slip which could be lost or thrown away. It would be easier to make sure the employees get the message by appending some extra lines to the bottom (or top) of the slip that the customer has to turn in for the food.

But that depends on the printer mfgr, you know, actually wanting to save paper.

Posted by: Rana at June 29, 2005 04:51 PM

Um...why would it print out a copy for each customer? Is it the customers' responsibility to notify management that their paper level is low? A good staff would replace the paper immediately. Super broken.

Posted by: falafel at June 29, 2005 05:39 PM


Is this greed or just plain stupidity, is what i want to know. Perhaps this is carefully thought out so that they sell more paper & ink, or maybe it's just a terrible design.

Posted by: Bob at July 1, 2005 09:52 AM

Sorry, i was trying to make my post look like the receipt. Obviously, i failed and screwed up the page. Sorry.

Posted by: Bob at July 2, 2005 11:43 AM

Is your first name Rudyard?

Posted by: Bob at July 9, 2005 11:31 PM

Whatever happened to the pink or green tinted line at the end of the register paper that always worked so well for me during my hellish high-school years of cash register jockeying? I always knew when to change the roll.

Posted by: Daniel at July 10, 2005 01:52 AM

ummm, i can alow for the paper to print, but get rid of all the ************* things, thats just a little weird

Posted by: ummmmmmmmmm at January 4, 2006 02:50 AM

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