Warning: this is going to be a longer rant than usual.
Yesterday, I spent just under 4 hours trying to sort out my daughter’s broken iPhone and achieved precisely nothing. Yes, the Apple Store staff members were all very friendly, but I cannot but think it’s all a farce they’re playing out in order to keep the world’s biggest company (at least from a “stock value” perspective) in their top slot.
Whatever happened to simple customer service and just “doing the right thing?”
I’m old enough to remember when Apple was considered “the little person’s friend” who railed against the men in grey (or, at that time, Big Blue) suits who ran “big, bad corporate America”. These days, it seems to me, that all Apple really achieved was to get the dark suits traded in for west coast casual dress sense, and that’s about all.
It seems that long gone are the days of the concept that “in America the customer is King” that my father opined years ago. These days all anyone wants is to get you to dump your expensive technology and upgrade for yet more money. I can almost hear the metallic voices of the Cybermen barking this whenever I enter an Apple Store: “You will be upgraded!”
So, let me regale you with the story that sparked this rant. Notwithstanding the suspicious way in which my daughters iPhone 5c suddenly died weeks after the warranty expired, we naively drove 30+ miles to our nearest Apple Store to see if any of their geniuses could diagnose and fix it. At 6pm we were efficiently told it would be an hour to 90 minute wait and they would text us when a “technician” would be available. All well and good, thinks I. I won’t bore you with the details but we finally got to see someone at 9:10, just after the store’s official closing time. I am grateful for those staff that stayed on to see those who had been waiting for 3 hours, but I do wonder why they bother.
After explaining that whilst carrying it in the street the phone had dimmed, blanked out and then got so hot we thought it would ignite, the genius looked unconcerned. “Looks like we have a dead phone” was his learned diagnosis after taking out the sim card and peering into the slot with a light. “Can’t see any liquid,” so we assume the battery didn’t melt.
Then the rub. It’s a model they haven’t sold for a few months and as it is (just) over a year old they “can’t replace it.” Strangely though, they could provide me with the same (outdated?) model if I was willing to pay them $269, and generously they’d give me a 90-day warranty. Eh? …pause,,, “or you could consider an upgrade for $369.” Trap laid.
Hmm, not known for parting with money so easily, I head homeward with my disgruntled family, none the wiser for my consultation with the Apple “genius” who didn’t even offer to diagnose it further or repair it.
I guess, despite the high cost of consumer electronics, we now have to expect them to break in a short period and be discarded. My generation and those before us simply throw up our hands in bemusement at the world. Gone are the days when anything lasted, or could be repaired.
Anyhow, back at the ranch I consult the trusty interweb and see that if I undo 4 screws (2 outside and 2 inside) and use a suction cup I could examine, and possibly replace the battery in under 3 minutes for the princely sum of $10 plus shipping ($17 total). Apple couldn’t even be bothered to do this to check if the battery was the problem. Genius.
I have ordered the battery and hope to report my results back in a later post, but to me it was the final nail in the Apple myth.
They have truly become what they initially despised, and we all let them get away with it. Their Orwellian destiny has been fulfilled: we all love (Big Brother) Apple.
Steve Jobs would be proud…
(* PacApple Animation by Georgie)