Why I Have Renewed Respect for the Apple Retail System

Illustration for article titled Why I Have Renewed Respect for the Apple Retail System

Regular readers may remember that, exactly one month ago, the hard drive in my (2008) MacBook crashed, leaving me computerless and confused as to how best to proceed.

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My options were limited: I could either buy a new hard drive to install into my MacBook, or I could buy a new computer all together.

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WWDC was just days away, and I knew that new MacBooks and Airs were imminent. My ailing MacBook was on its last legs, anyway; a new hard drive would only prolong the its decline. It was time for a new computer.

I worked that night at Gizmodo HQ and resolved to return to the Apple Store the next day. At the Genius Bar I had been told that a 30-day return period (two weeks longer than their usual 14-day policy) could be granted, because—without directly affirming my suspicion of new computers coming soon—they agreed it made no sense to buy a computer when upgraded ones were only weeks away. It would be in my best interest to have a longer window in which to return the 11" MacBook Air that I resolved to float on my credit card for the time being.

WWDC came and went. As suspected, updated computers were announced and unveiled. I placed my order: a 13" MacBook Air, with a 2.0GHz Intel Dual-Core Core i7 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz) and 8GB RAM.

Well, this morning—exactly one month later—the new MacBook Air arrived via FedEx from Shanghai. Timing!

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The Mac Genius who'd granted me the 30-day policy was careful to clearly note this on my receipt—still, I worried that I might be given a hard time by an employee unfamiliar with this special-case policy.

Reader, I was wrong. It took maybe all of two minutes for the floor manager to give my return the OK. Returning anything to Duane Reade—shampoo, mascara, the wrong kind of bleach—has been more convoluted and time consuming than this.

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Essentially, Apple loaned me a brand new laptop—which I purchased and was ultimately reimbursed for as a form of collateral—until I was able to order the upgraded computer I actually wanted, the one we all knew it made more sense to buy.

When you're about to shell out a few grand for a piece of much-hyped machinery, it's nice to know that the company is more or less on your side.

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DISCUSSION

richiemartin
Richie Martin

You know what, I worked for Apple for about three years. It was a college job, but I did it full time and I worked MY ASS off. A lot of us liked working for Apple, and treated our customers like fucking kings. And most of us didn't drink the kool-aid. I can tell you that in my store, we bent over backwards for our customers as often as possible. But every once in a while, we'd run into one of you assholes who would come into our store with this "holier-than-thou" attitude that I could smell as soon as it walked into the store.

You could tell customers like this were just looking for a fucking reason to hate our store, to hate us, to hate our products, to hate the brand, to hate the "culture" (or the cult, whatever works) - an opportunity to just spew hate at any cost. He lets out an enormous sigh as soon as he's greeted at the front door. His first words are further affirmation of how little he wants to be there. "I hate coming in here..." No shit. Thanks pal, we love seeing your bitch-ass as well. The store is busy and literally everybody who can work is working, and working as quickly as possible. I'm sorry if you have to wait a few minutes. I swear to god, I'm working with as efficiently as I possibly can. A lot of you don't like that we're going to offer you attachments. If I make you say "no" more than once during your experience, I'm sorry. I offer these things 1) because I have to, but also 2) because you should know about what the fuck you're buying, so you don't come in two weeks later pissed off because we didn't explain anything to you. I'm sorry for being more excited than you are about a new computer. I'll try to be less positive next time. And you know what, we weren't even that pressured to sell that stuff.

You guys act like the consumers are always the reasonable, level-headed ones. Some of you have legitimate criticisms. Not every store is like my store was. I know this. Apple has hired, and will hire many a more fuck heads. My store had them. But you pigeon hole all of us who have worked and do work in these stores as a bunch of basement dwelling neck-beards who can't wait to pawn Applecare off on some unsuspecting Grandma. Guess what mother fucker, I hated selling AppleCare and MobileMe more than you hated buying them. You had to buy them once. I had to sell them every day, all day, so I'm sorry if I seem frustrated when the 15th person in a row has just giving me an UNBELIEVABLY rude response to my 15-second AppleCare pitch. Now I'm just going to spend 12 minutes showing you how great MobileMe is.

I don't work for Apple anymore, but I enjoyed my time there, mostly because I like the products and the people I worked with were great. The company was kind of shitty to us sometimes. I mean, water bottles and a blanket for Christmas, and I worked 26 hours on iPad launch day? So take this all with a grain of salt. But have some respect for those in the service industry. They might not be as smart or as personable or as inspired as you are, but a lot of those people are hard working, good-hearted and loyal as hell. I went WAAAAAAY out of my way for customers, just because that's how things should work. I love to work, I'm always happy to help out in any way possible. I would never show my disdain to a customer, no matter how much I disapproved of their manner. I'm sorry if we gave you bad service before. Don't take it out on some guy who's never seen you and has no idea what your gripe is. At least give them a chance to pretend they care.