Print No More

Back in the mid-80s, next to my Commodore 64 computer sat a VIC-1525 printer. It was white like the VIC-20, not beige like most Commodore peripherals, but it was compatible and I used the heck out of it. Over the years I must’ve printed out thousands of computer documents and miles of Print Shop banners. That VIC-1525 was noisy for a dot matrix printer, but it was a workhorse and it never failed me.

About three years ago I purchased a large lot of Commodore computer equipment, and I was excited to find a new VIC-1525 printer still in the box included in the bundle. That night while unpacking everything, I placed the still-in-the-box printer on a shelf in my garage. It sat there from that day until yesterday.

I’ve been trying for three years to find a good home for that printer. Even people who still own Commodore computers aren’t, for the most part, still printing on them. I even contacted a retro 8-bit musician who makes music with old printers. Even he wasn’t interested.

Yesterday (Saturday) I attended the Oklahoma Video Game Expo (OVGE) in Tulsa, OK. While packing up a few last minute items out of the garage, I noticed the printer sitting in the exact same spot it has been sitting for the past three years and decided on a whim to take it along. I thought if anyone would be interested in that printer, I would run into them there.

I had limited table space and with all the other things I brought, I didn’t originally have room for the printer. Throughout the morning I sold several items, which freed up some space on my table. After lunch, I pulled the boxed printer out from under my table and placed a price next to it that read, “PRINTER — FREE”.

No one took it. Not even for free.

Jeff noted the irony of the unit’s value when he pointed out that the box still had the original price tag from Target on the side — $249.99 — and even jokingly suggested that we should take it back and try to get a refund.

I vowed that even if no one bought the printer, it would not come back to Yukon with me. True to my word, the printer found a new home. (A word of advice: be careful about asking someone trying to offload a printer about helping you pack after a video game show. You never know what you’ll find in the back of your truck when you get home …)

I wish there were a computer museum close to me that was interested in some of the things I own. I hate throwing away something that I think people a hundred years from now might be interested in seeing, but I’ve run out of time, space and energy to save them all.

EDIT: Co-Attendee Brandon posted this picture of the back side of my display. You can see the VIC-1525 printer in the white box sitting behind me. Goodbye, new-old friend.

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