BAD Apples 19 September 2005
The Ipod is broken.
I have failed to proceed on the Apple Care web pages due to Apple’s determination not to recognise my log-on details. Apple have my E-mail address for sure, because I get plenty of promotional E-mail from them, but when I try to “recover” my password, they claim not to have heard of me, or my E-mail address.
The web site does inform UK customers to contact the nearest Apple dealer. I tried two stores in London and was told that they could not help. “Try Regent Street”, they both said.
The Regent Street, London, Apple Store is the Apple Store of all Apple Stores complete with an auditorium at the top of an expansive glass staircase, where large crowds of dedicated Apple users may be found learning the idealised craft of Apple I-tunes usage.
I had mastered the craft without this tutelage, but now I had a rotten Apple, and I was there to get it replaced.
Within this mega Apple emporium was a considerable crowd of enthusiastic and determined would-be consumers kerchanggging the Apple cash registers with reckless abandon, but me and my problem were directed to a far corner of the emporium called the “I-Genius Bar”. This is where you go to get your broken Apples fixed or replaced, or rather, it is where you join the line of customers wishing and hoping, hopelessly, to get their apple products repaired or replaced.
After some time in this line of about 20 customers, we were each in turn told politely and efficientlly that there would be no more customers seen that day because it was 4 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon. I was also told to come again, but on a weekday next time, and to book an appointment on line, or order a repair on line.
Since I could not get passed the log-on process, on-line either to arrange a repair by mail or arrange an appointment to join a que at the “I-Genius Bar”, I tried the 0870 number that I was offered. Eventually I spoke to a gentleman who politely referred to me as “Leslie” before every question.
“Leslie, what is your serial number?”
I recited every number enunciating every vowel and consonant of every digit and letter of my long long serial number, slowly and deliberately. The gentleman repeated back to me the numbers and letters with the same deliberate pace and clarity. But every other digit that he uttered, differed from mine.
I am sure this gentleman was a genius of sorts, but English was not his first language.
“Leslie”, he said, “would you care to purchase the extended Apple Care Plan?”
“No”, I said.
This he understood.
“Leslie, your free telephone support has expired”
“If I can’t log on and I can’t phone up and I can’t get three separate authorised Apple Stores to deal with the problem, then what am I to do?”
“Leslie, I will make an exception and arrange a collection of your Ipod This will take approximately three minutes to arrange but I must ask you to hold the line please”
I held on for the further 3 minutes on the 0870 line.
“Leslie, thank you for your patience. Leslie I am sorry for the delay but our dispatch ordering machine is not working, Leslie, would you please call again tomorrow or, Leslie, you may try again to order the box on line.”
Two days later I did call again on that 0870 number, since I had no choice. I was amazed and frankly disappointed to get, if not the same genius, then someone that sounded very much like the same genius.
This gentleman recited to me an unrecognisable postal zip code, which I corrected firmly. I was then confidently told that I would receive instructions in the mail within a couple of days and the Ipod would be returned to me within a week.
4 Days later I had received nothing and I was getting frustrated. Mrs Monk and I decided to make another journey to London, and to do so on a “weekday”, when we were told it would be “less busy”.
As we drove through Hadleigh, a boy walked across the road in front of our car. I had to make an emergency stop. Mrs Monk screamed. The boy was carelessly listening to his Ipod. He might have died but at least his Ipod was working.
At the Apple Emporium in Regent Street, I joined the same line of customers clutching bad apples. The ten people before me in the line slowly disappeared until there was just one lady in front of me. I watched and listened as I heard someone tell this lady before me that there would be no further appointments at the “I-Genius Bar” that day.
I knew at that point that I must try to moderate the grumpy old man within me. I took a deep breath.
A man approached me and I told him, all of what I have written thus far, before he could tell me anything that I did not want to hear. He took my Ipod behind the “I-Genius Bar” and tested it for some time, then came back to me with his diagnosis. Yes, it was indeed broken, and it would indeed be replaced under warranty. I would be getting a brand new Ipod. They know what they are talking about these I-Geniuses but frankly that much I knew already.
But there was a “but”.
“But”, he said, “first, you must make an appointment at the I-Genius Bar”
“I would like to see your manager”, I said.
“I am the manager” he said
Genious, Now that is real genius.
He told me to change my Log-in name and password and then order a box in the mail, or make an appointment at the “I-Genius Bar”, and then I would get a brand new I-pod.
“But I said, you have already looked at it and I am here right now.....”
“No” said the genius.
I vowed never to enter the Apple Emporium ever again.
Three days later and the Apple box mailing box has still not arrived.
I do as the Manager of the Geniuses suggested. I register the Ipod again using Mrs Monk’s name. I also nominate a brand new password.
Eureka! I am able to log-on to Apple support pages for the very first time and order a new box. I fill in all the boxes and click on the final button.
An error message appears. Apparrantly a repair package has already been ordered for this Ipod, and I am only allowed one box, it said, and offered no further advise.
Genius, Pure Genius.