Saturday, July 5, 2008

Genius Bar: a.k.a. Mac'tard Central

I succumbed to the infamous burnt power supply issue with my MacBook Pro. After two years of solid use and abuse, it finally gave up the ghost.

I'm still covered under AppleCare pro support, and as this is a known issue -- I figure getting a new adaptor is a no-brainer. A quick call to the AppleCare support line, and the nice gentleman on the other end agrees. We make an appointment for the next day at the local apple store. In the mean time, I head to Fry's to pick up a new supply, as this is my work machine. My battery is also crappy and lasts less than an hour, and I've got plenty more work to do than that.

The next day, I head to my "Genius Bar" appointment around lunch time. Right on time, my name is called. This is the last thing the genius does well.

First, he has no idea why I'm there. Second, he has no idea I'm currently under AppleCare pro coverage. The phone support representative said both of things would be "in the system" and I'd be taken care of right away. There are three possibilities here. Either the genius didn't check the system to see why I was there, or the phone support person did not put the info in the system, OR... there is no system at all.

Second, I have to convince the mac'tard -- oops, genius -- that I'm really covered by apple care. I brought my laptop just in case, but I also had my original apple care coverage certificate. The mac'tard says "duhhh, errrr... I'm not sure it has the info I need to look up your information. Can I just get the serial number from your computer?" Look, mac'tard -- right THERE (I show him) -- that IS the serial number. "duhhh, errrrr --- let me enter it in and see if it works." Needless to say, it was the correct serial number. The astonished "genius" then declares me valid and legal.

Now, as if I was not having enough fun already...

I finally get the requisite "so, what seems to be the problem." Eyes, rolling, I said "'scuse me, while I whip this out" (boy, I wish I really did say that). I show him my obviously charred power adaptor. The genius is perplexed. He turns it over, and around, and flexes the cable, smells it, etc. I'm surprised he didn't stick his tongue on the burnt part to taste it.

After several minutes of deep contemplation, the answer comes: "I believe your adaptor shorted out." WOW. I bow and kneel in the awesome presence of the obviously superior mac-intellect of the certified Genius standing before me. Clearly, I am not worthy and should run from the store screaming giddy joy like a little school girl.

Due to my obviously lesser mac-intellect, I now get the obligatory/deragotory solution that these geniuses must be trained to dole out. "Sir, we will replace your adaptor THIS time... but let me show you how to wrap your cord so it doesn't happen again. See, you need to loop the thin cord before wrapping it around the posts..." I stop him mid-sentence (and yes, this part is true). I pull out my brand-new adaptor (purchased the night before) from my laptop bag. It has the very stress-reducing loop of which he was so graciously attempting to inform me. I actually say "I'm not retarded. I've done it this way for TWO YEARS." [blank stare -- both directions] "uhhhh, ok. let me get that part for you."

Finally convinced of his mac'tardedness, the genius fetches a new power brick from the back. Sign here, date that. And, I'm done.

So, I get that the genius bar probably spends 99% of the time dealing with regular idiots. I mean, we are talking about the apple store here. But I'm quite certain, when I show you a burnt, charred power adaptor -- you should just fetch me a new one.

At the end of the day, I now have two power supplies -- which actually makes life a tad easier for this nomadic worker. My primary work-spot at home now has a permanent adaptor. Setting up and leaving that spot is slightly less of a burden.

Apple support sent me a follow-up email, asking me to rank the "experience." I'm definitely going to reply with the appropriate negative feedback, but boy am I tempted to just link to this post...


sirmipsalot said...

So true - the "geniuses" are the weak link in the Apple technical support chain. I've always found the Applecare folks to be professional, helpful, and receptive to my troubleshooting diagnoses that I've already done. "Geniuses", on the other hand, assume that I'm the dumbest knuckle-dragging moron who could scrounge up the cash to buy an Apple computer, even when I've got a verifiable tech-support ticket from Applecare (as you did). The cloud of smug hanging over those asshats is impenetrable. Sorry you had to have had a negative "Genius" experience, but it seems par for the course.

Anonymous said...

I just got back from the genius bar. This has been a five day ordeal for me. The minimalist design that apple has revolutionized also applies to when it breaks. Because it either works completely or it doesn't at all. So one morning i'm looking at the computer and a blue screen is shining back at me. "great" I say, and i put my ear to it to hear the harddrive clicking. Im the f*cking Mac whisperer now. So I carry it into the apple store. The concierge ask me if I have an appointment. I don't, and I say "this is my internet" as I set down the Mac. While i'm talking to him he calmly walks away, as if he isn't listening at all, to attend to another customer. He casually comes back and schedules me for an appointment that is three hours later. So I leave the mac there and I come back fifteen minutes before the appointment. The store is empty and I still see my name on the screen so I keep busy by looking around. But all of a sudden it's past my appointment time and I still haven't been seen yet. The genius who looked like a hobbit asks a man near him his name, the man says robert, and the hobbit asks him to sit down. This would be normal but it just so happens that roberts name was after my name... so i wait around some more... and then hobbit says to his bald friend "when is this andrew guy coming" (andrew is my name) and the bald guy says "I sure hope he comes to pick it up". So i make eyes with both of them and I point to myself and then i continue to peruse all the useless crap in the store wondering why I ever bought a computer from here in the first place. So ten minutes later the bald genius sees me and apologizes for the time i'll never get back. He tells me it's by harddrive and I make sure to express that it has not been backed up recently. So he ends up "fixing" it which will allow me to back it up myself and then I would bring it in the next day for a repair. The mac freezes up on me while I try to back it up at home (murphy's law). The blue screen taunting me. I carry it in the next morning and ask if they do back ups. The lady who was seeing me said she would go ask. She goes into the back room where apple employees drink their afternoon tea and talk about how shitty they treat their customers. She makes a joke or two with them about me and comes back fifteen minutes later with a few numbers she has pulled out of her pert round a$$. She has given me a price for the backups they offer and assures me that if they do end up replacing the harddrive that they will back it up for 60 dollars. I leave that place smiling thinking my problems are over. So yesterday I get a call, this is three days later from when I first went in, and a man is telling me they have replaced my harddrive and have fixed my mac. All I have to do is come in and pick it up. So I ask about the "backup" and he asks what I am talking about. They did not do a backup so I ask him to go ahead and to do that like the lady said they would do. So he says they will spend the rest of the day doing that and that I can expect to pick it up tomorrow. Well tomorrow is now today and I have lost complete faith in this fruit company that tries to make computers. I talk to a different man today who tells me that they have already shipped back my old harddrive, "what about the backup" I say, "what backup?" he says. So I talk to him and realize nobody is going to backup my computer and that nobody really cares. But I care that my old harddrive is in pieces now. All that was my computer is now gone and I have been raped by an army of apple employees. I finally convince the genius to go back in the room, to find my old harddrive and to find his manager. They both tell me they can't do a backup and that I can't leave the store with both my old harddrive and the computer they fixed that I need for schoolwork, work, banking, internet, e-mail. And that that's against policy. I offer to buy the new harddrive. nope. All they do is look back at me while I tell them what is wrong with the store, while I tell them their apologies do me no good, while I tell them that neither one of them has done their job right and have not been helpful to any customers, and have not in any way treated me like a customer. The manager said he could try to do the backup but that I need to let them talk. So I said "thank you.." I said " thank you.. for making me spend five days on my knees begging you to do what two seperate people have assured me they would do, and thank you for making me stay on my knees and to start bobbing on your limp dick to do it"... and then I left. So in 24-hours I will find out if they actually did what they said they would do.