Thursday, January 05, 2006

Apple store adventures - part 4

(This is really Apple store adventures - part 5, but I didn't report part 4 when it happened, so this is part 4. Not the actual part 4, but this one is part 5 which will be called part 4.)

I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't let Lee Lee the Musical Bee turn into a parent column, now that I've added "parent" to the list of roles I fill. So I'll keep the references to consistency of baby poop to a minimum.

On top of learning to deal with life as a sleep-deprived zombie, last week my desktop computer monitor went on the fritz, my cell phone died, and I found a new infestation of ants in my home. All on the same day. Perfect.

On Wednesday, we noticed a blue line on the left third of our monitor. Phoned AppleCare and went through the standard "turn it off, unplug peripherals, turn it on, zap PRAM" rigamarole with the Apple customer service rep on the phone. (Are they called Geniuses too?) Finally after exhausting the myriad of possibilities that always includes starting up from the OS install disk (which I already did), she finally tells me to bring it into the Apple Store. Brilliant! That's what I could have done an hour earlier if they gave their customers the benefit of the doubt and believed that I really need my monitor repaired, even though I sit on the wrong side of the Genius bar.

I decided to go down to the Stonestown Mall Apple Store instead of the downtown Apple Store simply because there's no place to park downtown and I didn't want to carry a huge 30" display box down Stockton street. I made my "appointment" for the Genius Bar online, and drove down to Stonestown. God forbid I should be able to make a real appointment with my AppleCare purchase, Steve Jobs wants me to buy Apple PRO now for another fistful of dollars.

After driving around the Stonestown Mall 3 times to look for the big white Apple logo, I decide that the only way I'm gonna find the store is to go inside. I park, grab the huge box and find the nearest mall directory. Then I realize I couldn't have parked further away from the Apple Store than I did.

I don't know if you've ever carried a 30" display box, but it's a great way to throw out your back. There's a little plastic handle on the top that makes you think that you're gonna carry it that way. After about 29 steps, I realized that just heaving the thing up into my arms and carrying it like a bundle of lumber was the way to go. I picked up the pace as my arms began to burn. "What an interesting way to dump this monitor" I thought, "on the way to getting the damn thing looked at". I picked up the pace more. The looks I got were interesting: Mall-goers glared at my armful with a mix of wanting it and then realizing that it would be fucked to have to carry that monitor anywhere including back to the Apple Store for repair.

I ran into people. People ran into me. I finally made it into the Apple Store and some geek smiled widely and beamed "nice monitor!" as I trudged in. I set the huge box down next to the Genius Bar. I was next in line on the screen, followed by a person named "Lee B". The people behind the Genius Bar wear black shirts that say "Genius" in white type in the middle of the chest. I want a similar shirt that says "Idiot" for my next trip in, which at my current rate will be in another 4 months.

People with iPods waited at the counter. I realized I left my car door unlocked. The nearest Genius was doing something on his PowerBook and I was convinced he was only checking his e-mail and surfing the web. They called my name. I cut through the regular crap of explaining and gave the guy my case number. He went over to his PowerBook and probably looked through the latest iMixes to appear in iTunes, then got to the tedium of entering my case number. He took my monitor out of the box and set it up on the counter. He gave me a sheet of paper with my repair order and sent me on my way with the empty display box. Much lighter.

I'd get into the whole ordeal of getting my cell phone fixed, but you don't want to know. You do not want to know. But know this: that repair insurance stuff where you pay 5 bucks a month so you can break your phone and get a new one is a scam. It doesn't take a Genius to figure that out.

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