In which we go to get our computer fixed
Got a bad Apple :/
Since I bought my laptop back in November, I've had no problems with it that could not be chalked up to my stubborn refusal to learn new ways of doing things, a refusal that has, in the ensuing months, largely waned. The hardware, however, has been top-notch.

This changed last week, when my trackpad started performing in a progressively more aberrant way. It will only accept clicks along the bottom-right quarter of the pad, and I have to press pretty hard to get it to recognise those. I normally have a fairly light touch (though not light enough to want to use "tap to click" instead) so this represents a problem, at least inasmuch as it would require the reworking of some muscle memory.

I wound up buying my MacBook from Apple's website, through the refurbished section, which I continue to hold to be one of the absolute best deals there currently are in laptops above the netbook category. Before I bought it, though, I went down to the Apple store to get a hands-on experience.

Employees at the Apple store — it may be different elsewhere, admittedly; I’m speaking to San Francisco here — are evidently selected for their willingness to join a relentless cult of helpfulness, politeness and exuberance. From the time I entered to the time I left, every single employee was unfailingly polite, although none of them ever attempted to push a computer on me; the person I specifically asked for advice recommended the basic white MacBook and, upon realising that the feral, predatory lust marking my attitude towards the aluminium laptops meant I would not be dissuaded from purchasing one, recommended the lowest specs in the range.

I'd say that Apple's general philosophy is something like "don't do things like the other guy?" — my suspicion is that Apple store employees probably don't get paid on commission and, so near as I can tell, definitely don't get paid on upselling or pushing coverage plans. In the event, I was very happy with the experience, and when my trackpad stopped working (mind, the computer is still serviceable — it's what I'm writing with now) I didn't feel much trepidation when I booked a "genius bar" appointment and went back to the store.

After waiting for fifteen minutes, I was seated across from a man who, I suppose, we'll describe as "jaded". He extolled the virtues of the trackpad — saying "it's glass, you know" — although at that point, since it was broken, pitching me on its features was pretty much guaranteed to be a hard sell. He was fairly taciturn, and apart from an initial handshake said very little to me; there were comparatively few questions, even, asked about the computer itself.

It was a very different experience from the salesmen of the floor below, whose calculated combination of friendliness and evident indifference to your actual purchasing of a computer inclines one to think of them as friends who happen to have namebadges, as opposed to your typical sullen, unhelpful Best Buy employees.

On the other hand, although he didn't say much my personal genius did seem to have a pretty good idea of what was going on, describing it in fairly technical details to me and telling me what they'd to do to try and fix it, presuming a complete trackpad replacement wasn't in order (neither option, repair or replacement, will cost me anything, which is nice). Then, he gave me a business card.

I'm not exactly sure what I think about this. We have a pre-existing conception of what both salespeople and technical support guys are supposed to do. Acting professional instead of condescending and giving a straight answer instead of going around in circles is, admittedly, what you say you'd want from a technical support rep — but it still felt a bit weird. I was expecting him to be friendlier, I guess? Just after my appointment, on Friday, I told a friend I was less sold on the experience. With the benefit of the weekend, I guess I can't think of a way I'd improve it? After all, I suppose I wish Comcast would work the same way.

That said, my editor found an iPhone on his bus and went down to ask the genius bar if they could find out whose it was, to return it to them. They apparently told him that they couldn't, and asked him why he didn't just sell the phone on eBay — because it would be worth a lot of money. That is pretty fucked up.

/a

La Chevre!
23.02.2010 - 5h25
La Chevre!
23.02.2010 - 5h29
Comrade Alex
24.02.2010 - 2h40
La Chevre!
24.02.2010 - 10h56

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