Oh Apple and their “geniuses”

I’ve been struggling with random errors and issues with my laptop since I got it back in January. Reformatting it didn’t solve the problem. And it felt like every time I wanted to show someone the problem, everything worked perfectly. But, two weeks ago I had had enough. And I took it in. Which ended up being the start of a long adventure with Apple.

The first Apple “genius” I talked to really didn’t listen to my concerns. He decided it was my network connection because most of the apps failing involve the internet (um, most programs nowadays do that). One problem (that actually *was* reproducible) works if you restart the mail app the same day, but fails starting the following morning. And yet, after restarting it in the store he claimed it was “fixed.” Um, yeah.

The second I guy I met with kept saying things like “oh it’s your mail accounts.” This one at least ran the hardware test (which it passed) and the burn in test (which it failed as expected – this was a side problem, but still a problem). He then decided that the only solution was to erase and reformat my hard drive and then I should re-download stuff, because it must be a software problem. And restoring from my backup would reintroduce the problem (which at least makes sense, except that I was already positive it wasn’t a software problem). He did mention a couple of times that I could probably leave it for 3-5 days to be looked at. Yeah, my laptop is my entire research life. I can’t afford to be without it. That’s why it took almost 11 months for me to even start dealing with the problems.

The third trip in resulted in a guy fiddling around a little, looking at the console log and then telling me that a) the problems with any programs (like Skype) that aren’t made by Apple he won’t deal with and b) I’m just going to have to live with the Apple problems because he can’t find any resources of others who have had similar problems and doesn’t know what’s wrong. Um what?! I paid for AppleCare for you to tell me you can’t/won’t fix my laptop?

This was the point where my sister got involved (and thankfully she was there because I was ready to storm out). She demanded that we talk to a manager, to which the guy replied “for what?”. Yeah…

Anyway, the manager turned out to be an awesome person. Who actually listened to me. And believed me when I said things just weren’t working right. And that it was super frustrating because I can’t use a computer that doesn’t reliably work. How do I know that when I’m testing my own code for my research that any errors are the code and not the computer?

I ended up leaving my laptop overnight, at which point they did an extreme Apple stress test of the laptop. They have a second program they can use to diagnose hardware problems that they usually run for 2 – 3 hours. However, when it passed after 2-3 hours, the manager insisted they keep running it, because he believed me that something really was wrong. And during hour 8 it failed. I have never been so glad to hear that my laptop failed a test.

So when I walked in the following morning, the manager actually looked happy to see me. Which was good, because I was stressed over what he was going to say. I was expecting him to tell me that they couldn’t solve it and good luck. But, instead, I was handed a brand new laptop. A laptop that is actually a step up from my old one (because they don’t carry my old one anymore and this was closest to matching my old specs). They gave me the power cord that comes with the new one (so now I have an extra) and put AppleCare on the new one starting from that day (instead of dated back to when I originally bought the other laptop.

I will admit that my opinion of Apple was pretty much in the gutter after the first 2.5 visits (before the manager got involved). And I was seriously ready to never buy another Apple product again. I’m not convinced Apple is awesome again – there were three terrible employees before I reached a good one. But, at least I know who to go to should I have problems in the future. (Although knock on wood that it’s all good now.)

And the moral of this story – go straight for the managers if/when the geniuses don’t believe you.

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