I am a willing Apple consumer. Like the rest of the world, I purchased iPhones with AT&T service because they were cool and sexy. There is nothing special about these phones that another manufacturer hasn't done better, but we were swayed by the fantasy, not reality. Here's a link to a funny video making fun of idiots like I was when I did the following.
So we purchased Apple Care for $67 at the time. This extends the manufacturer's warranty (funny isn't Apple the manufacturer?) and guarantees us a repurchase price of $200 should we damage the phone irreparably. This was last October and we only paid $100 for the phones to begin with. Not sure how I justified that additional cost. My math skills must have gone out the window when I chose to go with Apple and AT&T instead of the HTC or any other cool phone.
Flash forward one month. My then one year old daughter used my wife's phone as a chew toy and fried the screen. Because we were still in the honeymoon period they repaired the screen for free. They also soldered a wire incorrectly that caused her face to surf the touch screen while she was on the phone. About a week of accidental muting or hang ups, we took it back in and they fixed the little problem.
Now flash forward to last Monday. My wife's phone wouldn't work. We charged it overnight. Still didn't work the next morning. We have a home phone through the vile cable company, so she was fine for a couple days while we figured out what we should do. I called Apple on Thursday and they had me try a few tricks to bring it back to life. They were all for naught. So they scheduled me an appointment on Friday with the Genius Bar.
Here's a little aside about the so called Genius Bar. While it's a catchy term, frankly the idea of calling yourselves geniuses as opposed to Geeks or what the reality is...corporate pawns with minimal training that could ultimately be outsourced to a computer...is a little pompous. But this is Apple, so go figure.
I arrived about 10 minutes early for the appointment. I waded through the sea of customers, shiny technology and sales people. It's similar to a 90's first person shooter game. You can go up to someone and try to unload your shot gun on them, but unless they are a bad guy or an intended target, they aren't going to die. Sales people fully ignore you unless you walk straight toward the toys. If you look determined to head to the Genius Bar, they make zero eye contact, nor do they budge. The geniuses however seem to pick up on your vibe. They asked me if they could help and confirmed I had an appointment and told me to wander around until a Genius found me. I thought it was odd that they didn't say call my name, but oh well.
So 20 minutes later a genius who I'd seen do nothing but play with his phone for the last 15 minutes found me...right as I took a phone call and just hovered. Just like waiters and their uncanny ability to ask how you are while chewing. Fucker. I asked if he was there for me and he said yes. I got off the phone and he introduced himself. I explained the situation and he pointed out the obvious damage from being dropped, took the phone and disappeared for 10 more minutes. Once he came back he said it had water damage and couldn't be revived. AW Damn! With a toddler who is obsessed with our phones, that is no surprise at all.
He then explained that they could do a swap for $200...actually he said one ninety-nine, cause that makes it all better. I said swap? Like for a new phone? Yes, he replied. I said, well sure, my wife would love one of the newer models. He said, no. It would be for the same model. Oh, I replied. So I only paid $100 for this one, but to replace it is $200. Yes, he said, that's why you purchased the Apple Care, so you could secure a price. I paused and said, huh, I'm starting to think I purchased it because I'm an idiot. He looked confused...faker...he knew the scam he was peddling. I told him I'd have to talk it over with my wife. He all but bolted when I didn't yell at him.
Saturday, we were in the mall shopping for a dress my daughter can wear to a wedding a few weeks. We stopped by the Apple store because we'd decided to extend our prison sentence with AT&T instead of paying he hefty penalty for breaking our contract and getting a different phone. Same scene as the day before. They told me I could come back in an hour with an appointment. I was confused but they explained I wasn't getting around it, so fine. I've got mouths to feed, let's just schedule it for tomorrow. I asked if 11:00 worked, he said 10:50 and 12:10 were available. 10:50 then.
This morning. 10:45 rolls around and we are parked outside of Nordstroms and have unloaded the chitlens. The doors are locked. What the what? Great, the mall isn't even open yet. Why do I have an appointment before the mall opens? The littlest one needed to eat anyway, so I told my wife to just move the car around to the other side of the mall and feed him while we got it taken care of. Off I strode with my daughter. We arrived at the apple store at 11:00, sweaty, but present.
This is where it gets ugly and I loose rational thinking. This little twat outside of closed glass doors tells me that my appointment has been canceled. I look inside and there are two customers and a couple dozen blue shirts...Geniuses and salesmen alike. She asked if I wanted to make a new appointment for at 12:10. I said, no, let's just do this now. She looked shocked that I didn't just say, OK, like a jack ass. She readjusted herself like a bouncer who sees trouble and said, You don't understand, your appointment has been canceled, you can't do it now. I asked if she was joking, I said, I didn't know they scheduled me before the mall opened and that I just walked halfway around the mall to get in here. She said, so do you want to make another appointment. I flung my hands in the air and stalked off with the stroller.
The next little bit sucked. I couldn't figure out where my wife had moved the car. And with no phone, we were pretty incommunicado. We went up and down aisles and I stewed and brooded for a long while. I finally decided to call for another appointment, because other wise we'd just be doing this all over again. The little girl who answered the phone after 8 rings asked to put me on hold as soon as she picked up. I said no. She stammered and asked, no? I said, I was standing outside and needed to make a third appointment to have the privilege of spending money with your company. She said, you're outside? I said, outside the mall. I showed up 10 minutes late for an appointment and the girl at the front told me to go away. There was a bit of back and forth and ultimately, I apologized for being harsh, it wasn't her fault, I was just frustrated with the whole circumstance. She was empathetic and eventually we got to the nitty gritty. She was stuck on the "are you buying a new phone? or are you needing an appointment with the Genius Bar?" I said I didn't care how they phrased it, I need to give someone money to get a replacement iPhone for my wife. So 12:20 it is.
What the fuck are we going to do in a closed mall for an hour? A few minutes later, the wife and lil' 'un showed up. I explained the situation and we strolled (literally, each of us with a stroller) around the mall. We stopped to get a drink at the food court where I began to show my ass. This behavior is childish and my wife doesn't tolerate it. She told me to stop stewing and just try to calm down. It eventually worked. Once the mall actually opened, things were easier.
We went back for the appointment at 12:15 and the place was packed. It seriously felt like a hip club, a good quarter of the mall patrons were in the store. All the calming down went away when it took them 10 minutes AFTER MY APPOINTMENT to find me. So, it's OK for them, but not OK for me? Hypocritical fuckers! My daughter was done with the stroller at this point...nearly 2 hours if your counting. At one point while I was awaiting my Genius's return, my child started pulling chargers off the rack. I just let her. She was no longer squealing at the top of her lungs. This is when the ass, who scheduled me without mentioning the mall was closed during my appointment, comes over to ask me to stop her. I said, no. I was planning on picking them up but you have made me wait an hour and a half now for this. He walked away from the crazy guy with fire in his eyes like any wise self-preservationist would.
The Genius arrived with paperwork and a phone along with a coffin containing my wife's old phone. I had to sign and whatnot. I then asked about my wife's photos and contacts. He said the phone is dead, we can't get any of that. I asked if I could take the phone to try and get someone to pull it. Then he said, they keep the phone...that's why it's called a swap. (ASS) He then added, surely you sync your phone regularly? I snatched her new one and walked out.
So, guess when my wife flipped? Yep, read the last paragraph and you'll figure it out real quick! I didn't of course tell her this until we were back home out of Blue-Shirt-choke-a-mother-fucker-out distance.
So, the fried phone aside, every bit of the frustration could have been quelled if the door whore had just taken the high road this morning. Everything up to that point had been my fault and/or decision. Apple has created this hype around themselves by making this an exclusive club. They could have easily taken one of the other 20 Blue shirts in the store at the time to help me. Instead, she hid behind these invisible self-induced restraints. For that Apple, I give you a giant Middle Finger Salute!