Genius Bar Horror Stories

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My Computer's Kinda Buggy

Uh, I'll just leave this one entirely to Sara:

A few months back I went to an Apple Store in NYC. I waited my turn, as I waited 45 minutes, I saw cockroaches crawl across the countertop. When I was called, I made sure not to touch the counter or put my bag on it in fear of these creepy crawlers. The guy next to me was oblivious and I saw a cockroach crawl up his jacket and before I could say anything, it was in his hair.

I asked the guys behind the bar what gives with the cockroaches. They explained that the cockroaches came from the gentleman before me. In fact, when checking the battery, there were dead cockroaches in his computer case and smashed in his battery pack. Sure, I didn't have to pay anything to replace my disk drive because it was under warranty, but bugs always win as a horror story.

Can't argue with that logic. Photo via Boby Dimitrov/Flickr


The Gadget or the Girl?

Not so much a horror story as a tale of woe, Robert was dating a girl who worked at the Apple Store, when she dumped him for somebody else. He consoled himself with his Apple TV, and then it died. Uh oh. Should he journey to the Apple Store and risk awkward humiliation? For The Highlander, yes. So he went.

Lucky for me she didn't seem to be there which was good because the store was packed I would be stuck there for awhile. I waited in que for my turn and was greeted by a very nerves gentleman. He was beat red and his hands were shaking to the point that he was having trouble typing. While he was taking my info I casually read his name badge and in a Sherlock Homes moment realized his problem. He was the guy my ex had left me for.

I could express my feelings and suffer the consequences of yelling at a guy who was responsible for fixing my beloved electronics or I could attempt to calm the situation. Deciding that I sadly liked the Apple TV, more then the girl I ignored my irrational side and calmly explained to the guy that it was no big deal and things weren't working out anyway. I even wished him the best of luck which may have been one of the hardest things I've ever had to say.


Awwwww. You're not the first guy to pick a gadget over a girl—it was Dreamcast, in my case—but I'm sure your story will touch somebody.


I'm Sorry, There's a Hard Drive Stuck in Your Shuffle

James' iPod shuffle mysteriously stopped taking a charge, so he took it to the Genius Bar.

When my name came up, I showed the shuffle, devoid of scratches or any wear and tear beyond some minor dirt. It was just not it's immaculate white self, but slightly duller than the in-store units. The Genius took one look at it and said "warranty doesn't cover dropping it on the floor, sorry."


But James didn't drop it on the floor! Besides, would it matter, since the shuffle is so very tiny, with no moving parts?

The Genius proceeded to explain how, when a hard drive is dropped on the floor, the spinning disk can get disrupted or even broken because there's lots of moving parts. I looked at him for a few seconds and said "It's a shuffle, it's flash based, there are no moving parts in the harddrive". The Genius laughed at me and said "I think we know our own products" and tried to call the next person.


The manager reiterated that the tiny hard drive in the shuffle can be messed up if you drop it. After a bit of back-and-forth, the manager agreed to get a new shuffle. But wait, there's more—the replacement shuffle didn't have a cap. When James asked, the manager didn't want to give him one. Relenting, he tossed it across the bar.

I am now a proud Zune owner, and we are Apple-free in my household, in large part thanks to experiences like this one.


System Crash

Michael, like many of us, is his parents' personal Geek Squad, so when their iMac's hard drive died, he took it to the Apple Store.

"You're about 30 minutes early guys," the Apple employee said with a dopey grin. "Why don't I take this iMac off your hands and you guys chill around the mall for a while until your appointment time." I handed off the iMac. He walked towards the genius bar and my dad and I turned to the wall to look at iPhone cases. Not more than 20 seconds later do we hear an "oh shit" and a *CLANG**CRACK*. Slowly, we turned to see a now pitifully frowning Apple store employee on his knees trying to pick up our iMac from the ground. As he was apologizing all over the place, I examined the computer. Apparently it had landed on the stand first, then the computer hit.


"We'll take care of it," the Genius assured Michael and his dad.

When they got back, the Genius on their case starts off, "Well it seems that there is more than just a hard drive failure here.You also have a failed mother board and you may have some screen damage as well. That's going to cost you quite a bit."


"It was dropped", my dad told the guy.

"Oh, well, sir. You do have Apple care but it doesn't cover any accidental damage like dropping your computer."


A manager appeared, and promised a replacement in 3-4 days, since their iMac had custom parts. It arrived 17 days later.


Getting Screwed

Jake got his MacBook Pro off of Craigslist, with a full AppleCare warranty intact, so when he noticed some dark spots on the screen, he took it to the Genius Bar. They cheerfully said they'd replace the top half of the notebook, and a week later he picked it up, good as new. Except...

I got it home and notice that they had left out a screw on the bottom. No biggie. I'll just go back to the Apple Store and get one.


When he arrived the Apple concierge said that they couldn't just give him the screw, he needed to set up an appointment—but being the nice girl that she was, she confirmed the Genius Bar had the screw he needed.

After an hour and a half, he gets to the bar, only to see the genius who'd fixed his MacBook. He told Jake the screw was broken—prompting the question, "Well, why'd you stick it back in the notebook?"—and they don't have any in stock.

You see, I've been here before. It's called the "I'm sorry, sir." area of the Apple Store where stupid mistakes seem to happen but the only thing done to remedy the situation is to repeat that phrase over and over like a brainwashed robot. It happened when my girlfriend and I bought iPhones and again when I wanted to get a hard drive replaced on a MacBook under AppleCare. Any attempt at reason (just take the screw out of another MacBook Pro that is ruined in the back) or memory (why did the concierge tell me they had a screw?) are just failed attempt in the "I'm sorry, sir." area.


The genius orders the screw, telling Jake it'll take a week. After 3 weeks, and a bajillion phone calls later, the screw magically appears in stock.

The new genius meets me on time and quickly replaces the screw while I see the original douche bag genius come in from a smoke break.

So, yes, it took over 3 weeks for them to replace a screw that they blamed me for breaking.


A whole new monitor? No problem. A screw? A month of hell. Incredible.

Photo via Sam Catchesides/Flickr

Hold Up, Rambo (A Bonus, Added Entry)


Travis wrote in with his story after seeing the original post: After graduating from basic training, Travis decided he wanted a MacBook Pro, and when he checked out at the local Apple Store, the Apple retail guy asked if he was a student, to get a discount. Travis said he wasn't a student, but asked about a military discount.

As I pulled out my I.D., the individual that was helping me sarcastically stated, "I didn't know you were a 'Baby Killer'!" and proceeded on with the transaction. I was so excited about getting my laptop that i completely shrugged off the comment.

About a week later, I began thinking about the comment, and knowing that he made anti-military slander usually passed towards the Vietnam Era service members, I felt very disrespected. I didn't so much as care for me, but the girl I was dating at the time, her dad happened to serve in Vietnam, so it made me that much more mad. I called the store manager and told him my situation and his only way of fixing the situation was to give me a free iPod Touch and insist that this isn't company views.


That's just insane.