Thursday, February 1, 2007

Apple, part 3: the very very UGLY

Ok fake steve,

I have had enough. Want to hear the ugly? The really really ugly at Apple?


You know the screens for Mac? the silver shiny ones? the HD screen stuff? Yeah, they look good from a distance, like the bimbo macOSX. Well I bought one of them about 18 mo ago. People be WARNED: they come with their own proprietary power cord. I just had to replace one and it cost me $440. Not $2 like any other power cord for any other normal screen. no, FOUR HUNDRED dollars. $440! For a power cord!

Mac can't come with a standard $2 power cord like everyone else, no siree, it has to come with its own schamala-badabala thingy. Proprietary of course. And that thingy is a piece of SHITE. So the other day, I decide to move my screen. And I am not too careful. So I forgot to unplug the screen cord from the power box. Oh yeah, I forgot, that thing comes with an external power box. And OMG, SNAP! the little itsy bitsy connector thingy to the power box gives. It just broke apart.

It is really tiny and so when I see it, I don't think much of it. I am thinking oh well, I just broke a power cord connector, big deal, I need to buy a new one. So I start by trying to unplug the cord from the screen. First bad surprise: the power cord is WELDED TO THE SCREEN.

So I rush to the mac store around the corner. You know those ones? full of teenagers with snooty attitudes, because they work and shop at a mac store? you know the kind. I approach the first sales rep I see, grab the box close to a monitor on display and explain to him what my problem is. I mention that I find that design kind of "dumb". Of course the little twit with technicolor hair gets all offended and his reaction is to say "do you have a warranty?" I say that my screen is not any longer under warranty.

I see the beaming expression on his face as he says "well, if you don't have a warranty, we don't cover it" as if that solves the problem. It solves his problem (dealing with me?) but not mine. I tell him I don't care about the warranty, I just want to have the damn thing fixed and ask wether they can fix it. He mentions that "it is like breaking a tail light on a car. If it is your fault, you pay for it".

First of all, I find car analogies retarded in general. I hate it when someone tries to sound deep by bringing up a half-assed car analogy. My bozo alert goes off. As if america was stupid and outside of car analogies, there is no explaining something to anyone. Wake up! don't treat your customers like idiots, they are smarter than you think.

"You are off-topic, you wanker! I am not talking about my warranty! I am talking about your dumb power supply design. And, if I break the tail light on my car, I DON"T HAVE TO REPLACE THE WHOLE FREAKING CAR!"
The kid is in a state of shock! How did I dare question Apple design? Or maybe it is because he is actually realizing that, indeed, this thing is pretty messed up? That seems to shake the foundations of his whole belief system. He stack traces, badly, like a Stepford employee, while questioning his being and looping incontrolably.

It takes me about a couple of weeks to just to calm down from the whole non-sense and come back to the store. I finally find the courage to go face the Stepford Apple associates again and explain my problem, again. All I need to do is get to one of the support guys, I tell myself. When I get to the store, I am carrying my screen. The thing is a brick, it weighs a ton. When I get there, I avoid anyone who doesn't look at least 25. Enough with zits and misplaced attitude. I find a kid that seems a little less of a poser than the other ones. He is still a fashion victim but looks like less of a wanker. I explain my problem. I say I need to see a repair guy. He says "no problem" and that we have to make an appointment with the "genius bar".

Problem is, it is a Saturday, the "geniuses are busy" and "the next available slot is in 4 hours". I am there carrying my screen and I am dumbfounded, I don't know what to say to the guy. I take the appointment and leave, not to return. I admit defeat to myself. I couldn't get past the first hurdle.

It takes me a couple of days just to calm down and get my courage up again to face the store employees again. I decide to go back during the week, at least there will be less "retards" asking questions to the "geniuses" and maybe I don't have to wait so long.

I get there on a Tuesday, absolutely decided that day is the day I succeed. I get through the first obstacles with some style. I know the drill, the Stepfords can't catch me, I am too slick. What sets me back is when one of the employees tells me "you know you can register online, don't you?" No, I didn't know that, and it upsets me to learn it just now. I focus on my zen point. I get my reservation. It is 2 hours away. I leave, I will be back. I got some shopping to do anyway.

I come back and finally I sit down with a "genius". The guy is in his late 30's, he is actually nice. He doesn't look like a poser, he looks rather normal. He is smart alright, a little full of himself, but what Apple store employee isn't. What strikes me is that he has that "Droopy from Guadaloopee" depressed look about him that says "I used to be pretty freaking good and now I am stuck here answering questions to dumbasses like you". I feel bad for the guy.

He sounds like he knows his book of rules. He explains that they are going to need to send the screen to "2nd line repair" and that is going to cost $440 dollars. I ask him to repeat. He repeats. I can't believe it. I mention the screen costs $900 new! it can't be! 400 freaking dollars for a power plug? You gotta be kidding me! He isn't. He explains that they can't repair this in the shop and they have to send it etc etc.

I can't hold it anymore, I say "And, by the way, if I may say so, I find this design completely brain dead". That's all I say, all the guy says is "hummph". Literally, "hummph". Like I just punched him in the stomach. He is controlling himself but clearly struggles with that criticism. I remember thinking "good for him", he may be stuck here but he seems to have some pride in his products, that is always good in my book. I guess it is the reason he is there in the first place.
I retort with "Whoever designed this should be shot". He pauses for a second and all he can say is "Well we get plenty of awards for our designs." All I wanted to hear was "yeah, I know!". Again, while I am happy to see this pride in him, I cannot help but think "yah! and I am here stuck with a freaking brick of an award winning screen with a dumb design. Way to go genius."

So finally he says "look, there are two places in town that will fix your screen, they will definitely do it for cheaper than we will, negociate with them and you may get it done for $200". It is still a far cry from the $2 it would cost to replace the power supply in a normal PC screen but it is better than nothing. He gives two business cards of certified repair shops and I leave the store.

I smell a rat so as soon as I get to my car and I decide to call the 2 contacts. I haven't left the mall parking that my two contacts have set the story straight. Apple WILL NOT LET THEM REPAIR THIS PARTICULAR PART! In fact they don't even SEND them that part! I turn around and go back to the store. I am fuming by that time.

This time around I power through lines of zombies, I just don't care anymore, like a linebacker running for a touchdown. They may try to grab onto me, will want me to register for a genius appointment and all, I am going straight to the "genius" in the back. He is busy, doesn't acknowledge my presence but I don't care. I dump my screen on "the bar" and just wait there.

He can't ignore me for more than 2 minutes and I tell him that the stores he gave me are a no go and that in fact Apple doesn't even ship that part to begin with! He doesn't seem to know that little fact, but I am willing to give him a break. I tell him I have no choice and that I need to repair this. We get the paperwork done, I leave.

Time passes and finally, a couple of days ago, I got my screen back. When I get to the store, one of the Stepford employees asks me to sit to watch their commercials while he goes get my screen in the back. Irony of ironies, while I sit there is one of these annoying PC vs Mac commercials about "cords" and how much better and less of a mess the whole cord situation is with mac. The hypocrisy is too much for me. I have to sit here to listen to wanker in chief, talk about how "cool" their power cords are in the commercial.
I have an out of body experience when the screen guy goes "and with our cords you can go "pop" (making the movement and sound of unplugging the cord) and you are done!" If only my friends, if only. That the guys at Apple choose to brag about the weakest part of their design is incomprehensible to me. I was always tought by my marketing father, to advertise your strengths.

In retrospect it reminds me of this "1984" famous commercial for the Mac launch. Apple was saving the world from of IBM drones. Except this time the big brother on the screen, is this friendly looking teenager in a apple store. Same crap, different face. The drones are here, looking slightly more hip than the IBM'ers of yesteryear but just as brainwashed and incapable of independent thought. The guy comes back. $440 is my total. I swallow hard, I am fuming. I finally leave. On the way out, one of the wankers asks me "so how was your shopping experience".

It is going to take me a few couple of months just to get over this one. And when I get over this one, hear me, steve-o, hear me. I will relentlessly boycott your PCs. I will tell anyone who will hear me how much your stuff sucks. I will never touch a PC produced by apple ever again. While the Shuffle is cute and I like it, that is the only $50 you are going to get from me. On a weighted average basis you get a 3 out of 10.

Die HD display die!


Emmanuel Bernard said...

Dude you made my day. I turned "gay" like Gavin. But reading your experience was awesome, I ROTF literally speaking.

Max said...

Hilarious....but seriously...400$, take it like a man; its part of turning "gay"!

Emmanual, who would have thought that about you - at least Steve is staying on the straight side with me ;)

Dimitris Andreadis said...

To maintain your sanity, get rid of that crap. I know a few JBossians that would happily relieve you from the burden (I'm not one of them, though :)

Andrew C. Oliver said...

I buy hardware and appliances with a "how will I break this" philosophy.

Steve Jobs likes to get his fingers wet on the "case" of hardware (again iCon is an EXCELLENT read)...and has a history of f*cking it up: -- (the instructions said to lift it up and drop it).

When the original iPod came out, it would drain the battery completely when not in use -- again Jobsian design intervention. (IIRC the cool touch wheel needed power to work).

Pete said...

My 24 inch HD 1920x1200 Dell monitor came with a standard PC power cable and did not cost much more in total than your new power cable.


Jason said...

Wow, I have heard many bad stories about their power connectors, but didn't imagine it was this bad. So why not buy a dell, hp, or sony model? A number of them use the same LG TFT as in the apple.

Ross said...

Marc, you are head on regarding Apple.

My second personal computer was an Apple IIe. I had so many experiences that were similar to Marc's that I told myself that I would never buy another Apple. I have come close because I really like the OS, but there is something about the proprietary nature of their product, and the premium price paid in getting components, upgrades, etc for them that doesn't sit right with me.

marcf said...

Why not buy a dell?

pfff, cause I am a victim of marketing!

bwc said...

First of all, get over yourself. Second of all, buyer beware, you should enquire about your purchases before purchasing... does this this have proprietary parts that may lead to more expensive cost of ownership?
Third of all, enjoy your new PC parts, cheaper to fix the display cable? Sure, but at what cost to the rest of the experience? What will you do when a trojan horse keystroke logger steals your bank account number and drains your account? Fourth, no one's stopping you from designing PC displays, right?
Fifth, cut mall employees a break. Yelling at them for poor design won't do anything to fix your problem. Sixth, I've seen *thousands* (no exaggerations) of Apple repairs in my previous job, and not once, ever, had I seen a display get damaged in the way that you describe. I currently own two generations of Apple displays - best on the planet. At work I have the current gen, same as yours, and it's wonderful. They're not just LCDs from LG, they have proprietary electronics inside for color reproduction, that's why they cost more... ask a shop that fixes displays. They've always told me Apple's were head and shoulders over anything else made, in the display department.
If you don't need colorsync, then go ahead and buy a generic display. No one's forcing you to buy Apple. Why such a long comment from a stranger? Because I've been on the other side of your rant, and it's equally enjoyable for me to vent on your blog. Yeah, the cable thing sucks, but such is life. I might suggest Tai Chi.

山宗原人 said...

So will you switch to Vista?

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