This drove me nuts, and I googled all over the place to try to find a solution. Finding none, I poured a glass of wine, and figured it out.
For those of you who are also wasting vinyl because the machine EATS it when you load it, I am now saving your life. Since you would want to jump out a window with frustration.
First, cut yourself a scrap of cardstock about 2 inches wide:
Nice! Now you have a little landing strip loaded into the machine, covering the chasm that EATS the ding dang vinyl when you try to load it. Grr! Looks like this:
Now for the ninja move. With the strip still loaded, turn the machine OFF:
Now turn that sucker back on again, and the strip will STILL be loaded, BUT your machine will ask you to load something. Go ahead and feel like a smarty pants.
Now load your vinyl. Put it on TOP of the landing strip, butted up against the wheels, and load:
(How cute is my bracelet in this pic? Thanks mom!)
Tah-Dah! Loaded vinyl, and no eating!
Now, grab the little landing strip and pull it out the back so it doesn't hork up your cutting:
Home free! Another little hint - use a paper cutter thingy-ma-bob to cut the vinyl AFTER you cut it; this way, the next end piece you load is PERFECTLY straight and your vinyl won't go sideways on ya.
Life saved. And now I can officially put the abbrev. M.D. after my name.