I believe that conspiracy theories are popular, or certainly have a cult following rather greater (if possibly stranger) than GofaDM, and so I thought I’d try and launch one.
As we all know, printer ink (as opposed to printer’s ink) is, gram-for-gram, one of the most valuable (or, at least, expensive) items on Earth. Woe betide any developing country which discovers massive deposits of printer ink beneath its soil as it will find an American-led coalition delivering democracy through their bomb bay doors before it can say the local equivalent of ‘Jack Robinson’. I do find myself wondering whether intense aerial bombardment has ever delivered a fully-functioning, representative democracy to its beneficiary? I believe the military will talk about bombing a country ‘back to the stone-age’ but have never heard any equivalent about it bringing the fruits of the Enlightenment. Perhaps democracy isn’t a human invention at all, could it have arrived on a comet during the Late Heavy Bombardment of Earth some 4 billion years back? Did the Attic Greeks merely stumble across some which had been exposed by coastal erosion? Still, this is not the conspiracy theory I’m trying to start: though it could make for an interesting addition to the whole panspermia idea.
In my daily life, I often find myself booking tickets on-line: either ‘to ride’ or to enjoy some sort of cultural event. Often these can be collected from the venue (or station), but sometimes one is required to ‘print at home’ – and so use up precious milligrams of ink. In theory, a ticket could be pretty basic: a few details and a bar code, or similar, should be enough. However, many issuers attempt to fill an entire A4 sheet (or several) with ink and use as many colours as possible: usually printing out adverts for miscellaneous tat and unwanted services. The worst offenders used to be the soi-disant budget airlines, but they have recently had their crown usurped by another.
Last week brought the first occasion I’ve ever had to use an organisation called Ticketmaster. Using their website, one is immediately transported back to the 1990s: such is its retro feel in terms of slow response times, busy screens of small print and critical navigation hidden from view. Given that supply of tickets would seem to be their primary (perhaps only business) and there are a number of potential competitors, their internet ineptness seems oddly shocking with more than a seventh of the 21st century behind us. Their survival might be partially explained by the rather high booking fees they charge and the fact that they even charge for the option to print your tickets yourself (a first, in my reasonably wide experience). Not only do they make you pay up-front to print your own tickets, but they then place an extraordinary quantity of useless ink on the printed ticket. I am forced to assume that they (along with the budget airlines) are receiving kickbacks from Big Ink. In return for wasting so much of our valuable ink, these companies are paid a fee by an evil consortium of ink cartridge suppliers and so bolster their business models. It is time that we, the public, start the fight back! I feel that with a little image-editing software I should be able to blank out all the spurious printing, while retaining those elements which are key to the ticket’s functioning – or will I then find myself falling into the commercial clutches of Adobe?