A little Apple frustration
Let me preface this by saying that I don’t dislike Apple products: For the most part in my experience, they work well and are fairly intuitive, and from an OS standpoint, they’ve tended to run more smoothly than their Microsoft counterparts.
My slight Apple-induced irritability has always been with aspects of their pricing and practices, but I’m not a hater. That said, over the past 24 hours, I’ve been bugged and focused by the form of a simple cracked iPod Touch glass.
Thus, after an angry Tweet or three yesterday afternoon, I’m writing this in what I hope is a more rational (and somewhat absurdly amused) state of mind – it’s not intended as a rant, but out of curiosity about the factors driving my current Apple store experience.
Wanting to get my daughter’s iPod fixed before an upcoming trip, I called the nearest Apple Store, which is about 50 miles away, last week. I asked them about the whole “getting the glass fixed” thing, since the iPod otherwise works just fine. It’s explained to me that for the $100 repair fee, Apple will simply swap the broken iPod for a new one. I’m assuming they will later replace the glass themselves so they can sell our current iPod as a refurb, and though something about that strikes me as a little skeevy, I’m OK with it, since it makes for the quickest fix from a customer standpoint.
I am advised, however, that this means my daughter will need to back up her iPod songs, videos and photos onto our home computer in order to keep her data.
So she does. And with her music-free iPod ready to go (don’t get me started on the unecessary complexity of the iTunes/iPod syncing process), on Monday afternoon, I call the Apple store again to make sure I understand the situation, since I’m planning to be near Cleveland on Tuesday anyway.
I call. I clarify the cost and the process, and an employee tells me that yes, they do have the identical iPod Touch in stock, so it will be a simple swap. “Great!” I say. “Can I stop in tomorrow?”
“No. This requires an appointment, and we’re all booked up.”
This seems ludicrous on the surface, but my guess is it’s to inspect the iPod and make sure that the glass is the only thing broken, and I get that, but it does lead me to more questions: If the iPod works, cracked glass and all, and if I have to set an appointment, then why not simply do an in-store transfer of all the data to the new iPod?
My wife and daughter and I recently switched cell phone providers, and yet despite moving to a different carrier and needing differently-branded devices, all of our contact information, photos, music, and videos were quickly and cleanly transferred right there in the store. The same thing can’t be accomplished in an Apple store, between two identical Apple products? Yes, it would “cost” Apple a tiny bit more in time and labor terms, but then again, handing out a new iPod rather than fixing the glass in the one I’ve got was their idea, not mine, and if they’re going to get a refurb sale to boot, the cost of that extra few minutes of labor spent in transferring data should be theirs to bear.
Okay, fine, then: I’d like to book an appointment. Are there openings next week?
Excellent – I’d like to set one up for Monday or Tuesday.
“Oh, sorry,” they tell me, “The computer won’t let us make appointments that far in advance.”