Over the past couple months, my refurbed iPod Touch 2G has been blacking out for hours or days at a time. In the middle of playback, it will randomly stop and not budge until I power cycle it. The battery can last 2 hours of mowing, or it could be dead in 20 minutes of sitting idly in my pocket. I finally decided to contact Apple about it and get it replaced.
My call to Apple Care occurred a few weeks ago. I spoke to a nice lady from a call center in the Philippines and, when I explained the problems to her, marked my iPod record as needing replacement. It went fairly easily enough- my device was still under warranty and was persuasive enough to earn the right to a new one.
I finally had the time and energy to visit the closest Apple Store, located in Victor… waaaay across town. I arrived on the spot and as I walked in, noticed the fairly subtle eight-foot-tall Apple logo on the archway. Upon entering, I also thought to myself how it wasn’t at all how I expected. I thought it would be a white-washed-with-aluminum-accents, sterile workplace. Instead, it was full of colors straight out of Will Smith’s 1993 wardrobe and light maple trim.
Next, I noticed the not-at-all preppy workers there: not the fit, smiling, obnoxiously overbearing people you see in commercials. My dreams of it being the opposite of Bust Buy were shattered, as I was accosted by three females and one very effeminate male, all wanting to know if I was plopping down $2k for a system [ xD ] or if I had an appointment.
Ah yes.. the appointment. Something the girl from across the world said to make sure I made.
I said “no” very casually and continued when I saw their confused glances… “I have a broken iPod, there’s an order for it to be replaced, and so I’m here to have it replaced.” They asked again if I had an appointment. I assured them that no, I didn’t.
I was quickly herded over to a corner where a freckled girl peered over her glasses and said in a low voice, “Listen bub.. I don’t know what you’re trying to pull here or if you’re here to cause trouble..” Apparently I transmit the aura (odor maybe?) of a PC user.
I kid about the last part, but after spending another five minutes explaining my case to a cranially-vacant audience, I was taken to a massive iMac where my information was entered and told I would be put on standby.
Finally, a “Genius” approached and asked my name. I was ushered to a stool, told to sit down, and had my iPod quickly and painlessly replaced. He knew of a condition that the 2G iPods had where the battery life was sucked quickly and random periods of non-operability were experienced- more than likely a short internally.
It may not sound like it, but I had a fairly open mind when going into the store. My optimism was dashed by overzealous salespeople, but then quickly resurrected by the ostentatiously-named Genius who assisted me. I realized from overhearing other Geniuses’ conversations that they were, in fact, pretty bright people and knew a lot of technical and practical things regarding Apple products. I don’t know if they had the required 140+ IQ, so the term might be misleading.
I did notice a distinct difference between the Geniuses and Geek Squad or other PC-equivalents.. The Geniuses are not only servicing a product (and one that your average 14-year-old next door can’t open up and fix), but they are promoting a brand. Apparently their actions and attitude are monitored closely and directed at doubling as advertisement for Apple. Perhaps when Microsoft starts opening MS stores nationwide soon, the same level of legitimacy and credibility will return to the PC repair market.
Until then, buy from Newegg and find a friend to fix your PC problems for you if you can’t do it yourself. If you have a Mac or other Apple device, take it to the store.
But don’t forget: Make an appointment.