The brother that messed up my Tuesday.

Last year, I purchased a replacement printer for my home computer. It was a Dell printer that had scanning and photocopying capabilities, you know, like someone in an office might use.

Last Monday morning, while printing something out, my Dell printer beeped that the toner cartridge was empty.

So I did what everyone else does when they hear that beep. I pull the cartridge out, shake it a few times, and put it back in.

No dice. The same message appeared.

Nuts. I need a new toner cartridge.

When the pandemic started, in order to stay away from big-box stores and avoid catching COVID-19, I joined up with W.B. Mason. W.B. Mason is an office supply store that delivers everything from pens and paper to office cleaning supplies to office snacks. They’re quick – usually delivering within 24 hours – and they are dependable.

I went on the W.B. Mason site, looking for a replacement toner cartridge. I needed a Dell E310 or its equivalent, and I was okay if the unit was a refurbished or refilled toner cartridge. See, that’s how the print companies get you – they sell you a dirt-cheap printer, and then gouge you on the inks and toner.

Sure enough, there was a refilled toner cartridge in the E310 category. Fantastic. Let’s do this.

On Tuesday night, when I returned home, the cartridge was waiting outside my door. I checked the box. Dell E310 cartridge from Innovera. Sweet.

I opened the box.

The toner cartridge seemed a bit small. Maybe it’s an aftermarket unit that still fits in the proper chassis, I thought.

The cartridge was sealed in a black plastic bag. I cut the bag open. The unit said Brother on it.

Now, mind you, my printer is a Dell. But the toner box said this unit was compatible.

Okay, I’m trusting you on this.

Pulled out the old toner cartridge.

Put the new Brother toner cartridge in.

Put it all the way in.

All the way in.

Yeah, this doesn’t fit. It’s about as compatible as Celine Dion in a Judas Priest cover band.

Son of a … someone sent me the wrong unit.

I checked the box. It was properly labeled for what I needed. Which meant that this was not W.B. Mason’s fault. The company that makes the refurbished toner cartridges put the wrong one in the wrong box, sealed it up, and sent it off to the W.B. Mason facility.

That does it. I’m calling W.B. Mason.

“Hello, thank you for calling W.B. Mason, how can I help you?”

“I’d like to speak to Mr. Mason, please.”

Yeah, that joke doesn’t work when I try to call Curtis Lumber and ask for Curtis, but hey.

I explained the situation, and that I did not blame W.B. Mason in any way for the snafu. The customer service rep apologized profusely, and I said to him that there was no need to apologize, W.B. Mason gave me what was labeled on the box, I wouldn’t expect them to open every single box and check everything before shipping. Could you imagine? “Yeah, you need to check all those K-Cups because I swear one of them contained decaf, and I specifically asked for extra caffeine.”

The final result – W.B. Mason will deliver a new toner cartridge – compatible with a Dell E310 – immediately. It should be at my porch later today. And they’ll claim the old one. Smooth.

All I’m saying is that some chisel-head in a factory somewhere can’t freakin’ read. The toner cartridge clearly says BROTHER on it, it’s freakin’ embossed into the plastic cartridge shell. But the label on the package says Dell. That’s like buying a PlayStation 5 and opening up the box to find an Atari 2600. You can tell the freakin’ difference. You got eyes, they work, right?

Well, at least W.B. Mason will make this right. So I have no beefs with them.

But now I have to think … are there other times out there where people order one thing and receive something entirely different, because someone can’t follow directions or is as lazy as the day is long?

I can see it now.

“Hi, Chuck, so I know you ordered some rolls of Kodak Ektar 120 film, and that’s what the box says, but we put in some 1950’s Polaroid packfilm in there just because we thought you’d appreciate it.”

“Hi, Chuck, I know you’ve been drooling over that Nikon Df in silver, but we’re going to put a Canon in the Nikon box and ship it to you, happy shooting!”

“Hi, Chuck, I know you ordered this three-meat pizza for delivery, but one of our chefs decided to send you a pair of old sweat socks and some anchovies instead. Bon appetit!

Story of my life, I guess… 🙂