About Me, Mac OS X, Technology

Evidence I’m Not a Mac Person . . .

I just completed a feedback form regarding my AppleCare warranty experience. Question 12a gave me a chance to bitch. Question 12b made me smile at my ridiculous expectations:

12a Is there anything else you would like to tell Apple about your recent in-store repair experience at the Apple Retail Store? (NOTE: 2000 character limit)

Replacing the optical drive on a Mac Mini is a simple procedure that takes fifteen minutes, requiring a screwdriver and a putty knife. That I should have to drive to a God damned mall and explain to a “genius” that he doesn’t actually need my password to log in to OS X, wait for twenty minutes as the “genius” engages in manual data entry, then wait “seven to ten business days” for the part to be replaced is FUCKING SAD.

(Note: Hold down command+s during boot, run to the appropriate init level and type “passwd” to reset the password. Even someone who isn’t a “genius” can pull that off!)

12b The comment above is a




For the record, the optical drive on my Mini started acting up last year. In March, I took it in to the Apple Store. I wanted to get the issue resolved quickly, so I figured I would call the store to ask them if the part was available and what was the best time for them to make an appointment. That call got routed to a call center, where someone with a South Asian accent filled in the same form that I could have filled in online to wait in line at the store for service. Once I got to see the genius, he explained that there was no way to tell how long equipment might be “on the rack” and there was nothing he could do but advise me that it would take 3-5 business days . . . over the months I eventually built a PC out of spare parts to use while my workstation was away, and recently got the drive replaced. Nowadays it is 5-7 business days.

I love that it takes longer for the “Genius” to enter my data into the system after I had previously visited, than it must take the Morlock at the repair center to diagnose, test, and repair the bloody thing. If this were inferior PC technology I could carry it down to any number of local neighborhood stores and wait as the guy replaced the part for a modest charge. The charge for my repair was presented to me as $300, but covered by warranty. I think that is what three-year next-day on-site service for a laptop costs from Dell.

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Categories: About Me, Mac OS X, Technology

  • Lou

    You rant, yet clicked the radio button that it’s only a “suggestion.” Huh? I’m not sure why you chose to characterize the person who answered the phone as having a “south Asian accent.” And how come you compare this entire experience with how you perceive the PC world. Hey, either you accept how the Mac world operates, have some reasonable expectations of repair, or you switch to a PC.

  • Well I’m there with ya, Dannydude. A cow-orker was showing off his Dell D600 laptop and how easy it is to swap hard drives in and out as there’s a drive tray accessible from the outside of the case. I hung my head in shame knowing the last time I had to replace the drive in my Powerbook it took about a week, several different kinds of screwdrivers, an online tutorial with pictures and about half my sanity. I love Apple products, fine hardware they are. But so damn near impossible to fix on your own!

  • Matt,

    I like the Dell Latitudes. The D600 series is very fine, imho.


    I would offer that in the PC world, you become accustomed to getting things fixed quickly and easily, and “send the computer away for a week” becomes an unreasonable expectation. I suppose if Macs are not intended for daily use, then the week to repair is entirely “reasonable”.

    Given how “hip” Apple brands itself, the impression that a call to the local store routes to India seems awfully lame to me. A colleague has assured me that Apple’s call centers are all North America. I have ordered plenty of Mac laptops that get flown from China . . . I sort of wish they could bulk freight machines, then do the customization and packing here in North America too . . .


  • jc

    oh, sure. it’s a 15 minute operation with a putty knife and a screwdriver. Not to mention the need for inventory management and accounting of parts and time, which is probably another 10 minutes with you at the bar, and another 10-20 in the back during and after the repair. Call it 45 minutes total for your repair.

    Now multiply that by the 20 people that Genius will check in today. During an 8 hour shift, the Genius is easily checking in 15 hours of work! That means that there’s at least 7 hours more work to be done after he’s done than when he started.

    Not to mention that they can’t possibly have every single part that every single Mac currently being produced, much less all Macs manufactured in the last 5 or so years, just laying around… and now you get to factor in part ordering time, shipping and recieving duties, and further inventory management…

    Not really talking about 15 minutes with a putty knife and a screwdriver anymore, are we?

  • jc,

    Video drives are commodity components that are inexpensive, and they should have commodity replacement parts on hand for popular models that have been sold in the past year.

    It is funny, but when you make an appointment with Dell, they can dispatch a guy with the appropriate parts overnight. Or, I could drag a PC down to any number of local mom-and-pops in the neighborhood and have a drive swapped out right away. Even slim drives are pretty commonplace.

    But even if “inventory management” were such a difficult thing for a “genius” to grasp . . . if only they had access to some clever method of keeping inventory . . . say, a system of computers and software . . . they’re sophisticated enough to route my inquiry to the local store to a remote call-center, they ought to be sophisticated enough to order the part and have it available for my appointment. Alas, I asked the “Genius” point-blank if they could order the part, and then we could schedule a time for me to come in, and he said it was not possible. Either part with your computer for a week, or deal with the broken part.