With my ever advancing years there are few things that I find more satisfying in life these days than a darned good rant. Now in my book a rant is an invective filled tirade of a thing, replete with expletives and language from the gutter, it should go on for an extended period and inculcate in the ranter near hysterical outbursts.
At present these are the feelings I possess in abundance for a company called Apple.
This state of affairs took a while to reach its zenith, it began one morning – stirring from a fitful nights sleep I reach over to my laptop on the bed beside me, I open the screen to discover that it is cracked, I’ve rolled over it in the night, bugger, that’s gonna cost.
Reaching for my iPhone I search for estimated costs to replace a MacBook screen, one info site suggests £100-£300. OK let’s be positive, maybe it will be nearer the £100, especially if I go to a non Apple repairer. No, better safe than sorry, I will go to Apple, let’s do it properly.
I fiddle on my phone to enter serial numbers, email addresses, phone numbers and eventually manage to book an appointment with Apple in Covent Garden.
Apparently I need to see a Genius, at The Genius Bar. This seems like overkill, I could save a Genius their clearly valuable time & leave them free to do something more worthwhile. I know exactly what’s wrong with my machine, it needs a new bleedin’ screen.
And come to think of it why are Apple Geniuses at their own bar, surely alcohol and electronics don’t go together?
The first appointment I can get with a Genius is days away, unfortunately it is not possible to see a person of average or even slightly above average intelligence with my screwed computer, it has to be a genius, so I book a slot for three days hence.
I duly arrive at the appointed time at the Covent Garden Apple Sore. Two burly security men loiter at the front doors like SAS operatives working extra hours as heavies. One looks me up and down suspiciously. Despite having no malicious intentions I nevertheless feel guilty.
Once inside I try to find someone to speak to, its takes a while, all the staff seem deeply engrossed. Eventually I manage to collar a bloke, explain I’ve an appointment with a Genius, he says I should go up the spiral staircase. I waggle my stick, Do you have a lift I ask. Yes he says, but it’s broken, I will get someone to come down to you.
This man clearly is a genius, he splits my question into three bytes. Answer, Qualify, Solution that’s fucking genius cold logic.
He shows me to a bench. As he goes to move away I am reminded of my ageing bladder.
Oh by the way do you have a toilet I ask.
Yes he says, it’s downstairs, but you can’t use it, it’s for staff only. Cold Genius Logic.
The next thing I know another genius is standing over me, I don’t know if they teleported in or just sneaked up on me, Martin he says, how can I help you.
The Genius rapidly confirms that I need a new screen.
The repair process can take up to ten days I am told.
Nothing is mentioned about cost, so I ask.
Screen replacement will be £439.
I want to say you are shitting me, £439?
Instead I say really?
I hand over the computer, sign a screen agreeing to terms and conditions and opt in to receive updates on the repair status by text.
That day I receive a text message with a link to check on my computers repair status.
Over the next few days I beat myself up over my clumsiness, the fact that I am going to have to pay all that money & how difficult my life has become without my laptop.
After a few days I start checking the link for progress, it takes several days for my machine to leave the store, then another couple in transit, finally it tells me that it’s arrived and was booked in to the repair centre at 9.30am. By 3.30 in the afternoon it’s fixed and on its way back to Covent Garden.
Next day I checked the status app, my machine was still in transit, fair enough, but then same the day after that, and after that and that. After five days it still showed as in transit. Where exactly was it coming from? And how was it travelling, overland from China?
After a week I couldn’t take the stress any longer of being without my machine.
So I decided I would speak to a human being. I found the telephone number for the Covent Garden Store and rang them, the line rang for an age and was eventually answered by someone with an accent that suggested a far east call centre, anyway, I explained I was trying to get through to the store to check on my repair, let me check says the lady on the other end.
Good new for you Sir she says, your computer is waiting colletion at the store.
But I say I’ve been checking and the app says it is still in transit.
Well Sir, I don’t know about that but your MacBook has been in the store since the 13th of this month. If you don’t collect it today then Apple may ship it from the store to another Apple office.
What says I, what do you mean?
Sir, it is Apple policy not to leave uncollected repairs in store. If you do not collect the Mac today it may be shipped elsewhere.
But what do you mean uncollected your App has been telling me that its in transit it’s not my fault!
Well I am sorry Sir but that is Apple policy. You will have to call the store.
But that was what I was trying to do, I called the number given for the store and was put through to you.
My level of exasperation is rising and I am in danger of being rude to the poor woman at the other end of the line.
Can you put me through to the store so that I can arrange to collect it & make sure they don’t ship it somewhere else.
Yes Sir she says, please hold.
Cue a long wait and bad music
Hello Sir I’m having trouble getting through to the store, I will try again.
Cue a second long wait and more bad music.
Hello Sir, I am sorry the store is not answering.
You will have to call them yourself.
But you are saying if I don’t get there today my computer might not be there.
I am fuming and complain, I ask her to register that I’m not happy about the service, she tells me somebody will get back to me.
My plans for the day out the window I heard into Covent Garden to get the laptop. Of course it’s pissing down with rain. The security men at the door pose no threat to me whatsoever, one look is all it would take for me to swing at them with my stick, I am ready.
In the Foyer a greeter finds me, can I help you Sir, Yes I’ve come to collect a repair. OK Sir you need to go upstairs. I raise my stick, is the lift working?
Afraid not Sir.
No Shit Sherlock I mutter under my breath.
A Genius is summoned and they bring my laptop,
I explain the rigmarole of my repair, show the genius my app which still says my computer is in Transit. She shakes her head, yes we’ve been having trouble with that.
I also tell her that I was told that if I didn’t collect my computer today it might be shipped to another Apple location, that I’ve had to drop everything and head into town in a panic.
She says that the store holds repairs for 180 days and sends reminders, so she’s not sure why I would have been told anything different.
I tell her I’m not happy about the service and would like somebody to look into it and get back to me. She says they will.
I fish out my credit card and hand it over, the first two attempts don’t go through, I wonder if there is a problem with my card, she says they’ve been having problems processing card payments, its probably not my card. Third time lucky the card goes through.
£439 poorer and in need of a toilet I head out of the store.
I feel like a bit of an junkie, unable to live without Apple products, at the mercy of the pushers behind the product I crave & helpless to break my habit.
Nobody from Apple has acknowledged my dissatisfaction, or gotten back to me. As for the lift, well maybe one day they might get it fixed, it’s not like they are short of a quid or two, and who knows, they may splash out and put in a toilet for customers, but don’t hold your breath, to quote Shakespeare – The Taming of the Shrew ‘There’s small choice in rotten apples’.
But worst of all are the Shmucks like me, its thanks to people like me that there is an Apple at all, because people like me pay for it.
CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA JANUARY 27, 2022 Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2022 first quarter ended December 25, 2021. The Company posted an all-time revenue record of $123.9 billion.