A week and a half ago, I noticed that the latch on my MacBook Pro had stopped reliably holding the lid shut. Which isn’t a huge deal—I mostly use it at home, and turn it off between uses—but at some point it would annoy me. My new organized self recognized that the most likely reason for me to not get it repaired immediately was plain old procrastination, so I looked at my calendar, decided now was as good a time as any to be without it for a week, loaded up a few dozen podcasts that I was curious about to tide me through my iTunes-less period, and prepared to have it repaired.
I wasn’t sure if the Apple store could fix it on the premises, but I figured I’d give it a try, so I made an appointment there. As always, they weren’t ready to help me when my appointment time arrived, but at least this time they were ready to help me only 20 minutes or so after the time instead of most of an hour later. (Though even 20 minutes late on a random Thursday morning suggests that their scheduling algorithm could be improved.) They said it had to be shipped away to be fixed; I figured I might as well let them take care of the shipping instead of calling to ask for a box, so I put it in their hands. (This was on a Thursday.)
I’d been under the impression that they used fast shipping, but when I checked Apple’s web site on the weekend, they said they still hadn’t received it. On Monday, same story. On Tuesday, a (quite pleasantly) different story: not only had they received it but they’d already fixed it and were preparing to have it shipped back. On Wednesday, it was being shipped back, there was a tracking number, the shipper claimed it was out for delivery, and late that morning it had been delivered.
So I figured I’d get a phone call from the store soon. By 3pm, though, no phone call; I called them, they confirmed they’d gotten it, but they wanted to run some tests on it to make sure it worked, and couldn’t tell me how long it would take. I questioned this; the person on the other end noted the annoyance in my voice, went away for a minute, and came back and told me that I could just pick it up without them testing it if I wanted. Which I planned to do; an hour later, I got a phone call saying that they’d finished testing it.
I showed up at the store at 5:20 or so; somebody came over to help me, typed on a computer, and told me to wait a minute. No problem, that’s why I downloaded all those podcasts. (In an amusing bit of synchronicity, I was listening to a portion of a Retronauts episode where they were talking about the recent XBLA port of Marathon 2. Sounds like they’ve fixed the nausea issues, maybe I should give it a try.) Five or ten minutes later, somebody else checked on me, but wasn’t concerned that I was still waiting. Another five minutes, and I talked to the original person, and he was more concerned. Eventually, twenty minutes or so after I’d entered the store, somebody emerged with my laptop. And, as it turned out, with one of its DIMMs removed and placed in a separate bag. Another three minutes or so and I was out, barely in time to pick up Miranda.
- Ironically, some of the things that annoyed me were a result of systems helpfully providing information. If Apple hadn’t given me a mechanism for tracking where my laptop was, I wouldn’t have known that it apparently took four and a half days to get to the repair depot, or was sitting in their store for five hours before they let me know.
- Some of the employees did go out of their way to try to be helpful. Some didn’t, but none were actively annoying.
- The system they work within, however, is actively annoying. I’m tired of Genius Bar delays. (I’m tired of the name Genius Bar.) I don’t want them taking extra time in the store doing checks: if the repair depot can’t repair things properly, they should fix the problem at the repair depot instead of trying to inspect in quality after the fact.
- And I really don’t want them removing my memory when I ask them to fix a hardware problem that is clearly unrelated. Fortunately, I installed the memory myself, so I had the correct screwdriver to put it back in; otherwise, I would have been a lot more annoyed at the situation. (Especially given that they’d already come close to making me miss a daycare pickup time, so I didn’t have time to wait around for them to undo their work.)
- Next time, I’ll just avoid the store and send it in myself: that part of the process seems to be nice and speedy. (Unless the store really did send it in fast and Apple’s computers erroneously claimed that it was in transit when it had been received and was waiting for repairs.) Actually, next time I’ll ask around first and see if there’s a local Mac shop that can repair it under warranty on the premises, so I don’t have to wait for a few days.
I’m not too annoyed at the whole situation; it’s not going to significantly decrease the chance that I’ll buy another computer from Apple (if for no other reason that I don’t trust other manufacturers to do any better), and there were some actively good aspects of the situation. But they definitely missed some simple ways to make a good impression on me, or at least to fail to annoy me.
There are no revisions for this post.