Our old printer (well, technically Stella's old printer; the Christmas present had her name on it and it had been on her wishlist), an HP Deskjet 3625, broke a couple of weeks ago. This may or may not have been because she accidentally spilled tea in it.
Not having a printer was annoying, so I thought about getting a new one. I thought I'd ask colleagues for their recommendations, or look in computer magazines I have to see how the printers fared in tests.
In the end, things went differently: I said I'd go to MediaMarkt and have a look at printers and see what they cost, that sort of thing. I had a look at a couple of Epson printers (C66 and C86), because they had separate cartridges for each colour, which seemed to me less wasteful since you don't have to throw away two partly-full compartments when one of them goes empty, but my third candidate was another Hewlett-Packard printer: the DeskJet 6540.
I had originally intended to replace my first ever printer, an HP DeskJet 500C, with a non-HP printer, partly because of the three-in-one colour cartridges and partly because it's hard to get third-party cartridges for HP printers, but the 3625 was a present so I didn't have any say in it :) But this one I took a liking to because a couple was looking for printers and talking to a salesman and they ended up deciding on that one. I had listened to part of the conversation between the couple and the salesman, and talked to the couple about why they had chosen that one while the salesman was off getting a box from the back.
One thing I liked about the HP printer was that it looked more robust than the Epson ones; apparently, this had also been something the salesperson had pointed out to them. The salesperson also said that HP printers were more economical than Epson printers on black-and-white print-outs, and only slightly more expensive on photo print-outs. Also, the printer was faster—and as a special offer, came with a duplex unit at no extra charge.
I had a look at the cartridges for the Epson models I had looked at and for the 6540, and the HP ones were slightly better in that respect, too (at least for the black-and-white one; I'm not sure how to compare the colour prices). Though I was a bit sad that even the "high-capacity" cartridge only has a bit more than half the capacity of the cartridges for my first printer (21 ml vs 40 ml). I guess that back then, they still had "reasonable" sizes.
So I had kind of decided on the HP printer but wanted to talk to Stella about it. I went home and told her what I had found out and asked her whether she wanted to have a look at them with me.
So we went back to MediaMarkt and had a look at the printers. We also stopped by a colour laser printer at the end of the row which had caught my eye due to its comparatively low price () and the fact that it "spoke" PostScript, which usually makes things cost more as well. The same salesman as had previously assisted the couple came up to us and asked us what we were looking for, and Stella said I have liked the colour laser printer, and he said that it was pretty good value, especially since a fair portion of its price was the toner, and that a full toner cartridge would last about 4000 pages, or about ten times what an inkjet cartridge would give you, so if you print a lot, it quickly pays for itself. However, he agreed that for a private household, it was probably overkill.
When Stella said that we had more seriously considered the Deskjet 6540, he said that that was a very good printer, too; he also repeated the bit about its being more economical for text than Epson or Canon printers. (OTOH, he had an HP T-shirt on, so he was probably biassed. But eh.)
So we decided to buy that one. And found out that not only did we get the duplex unit free, but at the cash register, it rang up forless than the price marked on the shelf: instead of ! And given that the two full high-capacity cartridges that were included in the box retail for , we essentially got the printer for , which seemed decent value for me. So yay! New printer.
 I agree with the man from the couple that when I go shopping, I'd rather make a decision and be done with searching, even if it means that I don't get the best possible deal, than spend ages comparing and calculating. This also applied when we were selecting a pram for Amy, for example, where I went with a moderately expensive model partly to avoid having to look at more and more and more models.