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rotten to the core: apple store customer service

My previous two experiences with the apple store customer service people could be interpreted in a number of ways. Both times I left the store with the result I wanted, and both times I wanted to inflict pain on the detached little latte sipping hipster bastards they fill those stores with. What I’m about to describe could easily be construed as a feat of social engineering, but I assure you it was not my intent to mind hack a series of retailers in their early twenties.

About four weeks ago, my iPhone fell prey to what they term “liquid damage”. In other words, it got water in it and ceased to function in any meaningful way. How this came about is less than amusing, so we’ll just skip to the part where I try to get it repaired. After driving all the way out to the mall and finding myself in an apple store for the first time, I walk to the counter at the back of the store only to be told that I must first make an appointment. So I find the first black haired, blue shirted appler with black glasses I can find (the store is filled with employees matching this exact description, it’s almost Orwellian) and ask to make an appointment. My information is taken and I’m told that I will be seen at 2:30. It’s about 1:30 at this point so I wander out of the store thinking I can come back. That was my critical mistake.

Around 2:15 I wander back into the store hoping that I might be seen a tad early. I hear the techs calling out people’s names and figure I should sit somewhere near the counter, so I sit and wait. And wait. And wait some more. Finally some time around 3:00 one of the guys behind the counter started calling out for some guy named Eric. He looked at me and asked if I was Eric. I told him no, gave him my name and told him I had a 2:30. He looked me up and told me my appointment had been cancelled, that they called my name out “like six times” and I never showed so they cancelled. To this I promptly replied with “are you fucking serious? I was told 2:30 so I left and came back at 2:30! Who the fuck does this?!” I was then asked to please calm down and wait for a tech. After a bunch of applesauce about how they normally don’t cover water damage, they replaced my phone for free, and apologized for the mixup.

When I finally left with my new iPhone, I wasn’t sure how I felt. I was very confused. I got what I came in for, but I was seriously pissed off. I should be happy or relieved, not homicidal. I just filed the entire incident under WTF and figured it probably wasn’t the norm, and next time I came in for service it would be all gravy. This idea was reinforced when I came back in to buy an iPad and experienced how quickly and easily you can walk in and walk back out with a glossy new bag of apple.

But I was wrong.

This morning I dropped my phone onto my apartment’s badly painted concrete floor in just the right way. The back glass shattered and somehow ruined the circuitry surrounding the tiny little SIM card, relegating my computer phone to a calculator clock ready to masticate your fingers with it’s tiny glass teeth. I had recently been asked what I was planning to do today. Apparently I’m going to the apple store.

This time I knew what to do. First, find the first Orwellian hipster I can and make an appointment. Second, don’t leave the store for any reason, and stay close to the ironically titled Genius Bar. I make an appointment with one of the blue shirts for 2:30 and mention that i hope they dont cancel my appointment again. He thought my story unfortunate ant mentioned that it must have been some kind of mixup. I then have a gander at all the electronic candy laying about the store, only to quickly grow bored with the overpriced yet gorgeous hardware. Seating myself near the counter to wait should prevent me from missing my name being called, right? So I wait. And wait.

Ten minutes after my appointment time I asked the nice lady if I was still on track or if something happened. That was when it all started to smell familiar. She took my info and started looking me up. At first she couldn’t find me by name, so I told her what my issue was. She found me eventually, and I asked if I had been cancelled again. She then told me I had, I then told her that this was bullshit and I was having none of this. She then offered to make me another appointment for 4:10, to which I retorted that this was their fault, it had happened before, and I should be the next damned person in line. She offered to get the manager; I said please get her. Now.

I never saw the manager, but I’m sure the murderous vibes I was emanating were penetrating the walls into her office. The next person I saw was the poor woman I had just chewed out, pointing me towards a service rep fully prepared to dish out more applesauce about how physical damage isn’t covered by apple care or the warranty. Before I can ask him what the fuck the warranty does cover, he snarks a quip about how the best insurance policy I can get for my iPhone is to place $200 in a shoe box and keep it in my closet. He then tells me that since this was the first time I’d come in with this kind of damage, they’d replace it for free. I’m really starting to feel like a male prostitute at this point, so I feign the niceties and try not to storm my say out of the store.

Listen up apple: canceling people’s appointments while they’re sitting in your glossy fucking store isn’t the way to retain your customers. Spoon feeding them bullshit about first time damage when they know they are being shoved out the door at whatever it costs to prevent them from killing your employees is also less than optimal. Just because you make some wicked ass hardware doesn’t license you to treat the general population as a subordinate sub-human species. Fuck you.

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