Another Rotten Apple

Count me yet another victim of MacBook Random Shutdown Syndrome. Apple is really testing my patience with this one. After enduring at least three crashes a day (with my only savior being Firefox 2’s awesome restore-last-session feature), I gave up and took my computer in to the Palo Alto Apple Store today.

This is a known problem, as Apple somewhat reluctantly acknowledges. It is due to issues with the heatsink, I am told. Many others are dealing with the same problem. However, the company is not sympathetic in the least, making me come into the store to be formally told I had to hand over my laptop for 7 to 10 days. I’m not trying to be pessimistic, but from what I hear, it’s a good bet that the repairs will be delayed or ineffectual. “Is there any compensation for the inconvenience?” I asked. “Your compensation is your warranty,” was the service guy’s haughty response.

While the problem is a major chafe, it was made much more annoying by the surly Apple repair people. They were not particularly friendly to me, but they were downright rude to some of the other customers, condescending about their lack of technical knowledge, over-enunciating with non-native English speakers, and driving some to leave the store without being helped.

Apple is making bucketloads of selling these computers — taking in $1.3 billion, or 27 percent of its revenue, off 986,000 MacBooks and MacBook Pros sold during the last quarter.

I’ve been going to the Palo Alto Apple Store for repairs since it opened in 2001, and to be sure, dealing with broken computers has never put me in a good mood. But the service is definitely getting worse. A while back, when my 13-month-old first-generation iPod would only display text backwards and upside-down, the folks told me they’d never seen anything like and joked “this is what we call a “deadPod.” That was infuriating, but at least they were reasonably nice about it. Today…not so much.

Update: Now that my anger has cooled, I realize it’s not my god-given right to good service…but I expected better.

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