Welcome To Stankonia (AKA The Apple Store)

Let me preface this entry by saying I genuinely appreciate Apple products. Function is important, but so is form, and I think Apple captures that best with their gadgets and gizmos. I still remember the computer lab from second grade, equipped with nothing but Apple IIe machines. I remember the Mac we used in our high school publishing class. I remember a friend I visited in college, who also had a Mac on her dorm room desk. Even then I appreciated the outward simplicity and the aesthetic appeal that was missing on bigger, clunkier PC desktops and towers, with their busy keyboards, tangled up cords and enormous CRT monitors.

I like to remind my husband that I was the catalyst in the decision to dump our P.O.S. Gateway Desktop for an Apple (this is one part of my master plan to ensure that he never forgets how fantastic his life is with me in it--it's like getting a color television after watching black & white for 23 years). Regarding "the switch", he fought and fought, but eventually he gave in and voila, we are an Apple household.

While I like most things Apple related, boy do I hate going to the House of Apple; in fact, a few posts ago I promised to write about my hatred of the Apple Store. Why? Because it's always more fun to read a rant. No one wants to hear about the love because they don't want the sweet--they want the bitter. This is the same reason why the villians are almost always more complicated and interesting than the heros.

Without further ado, here are my Reasons For Hating The Apple Store:

1) The place is stink, stank, stunk.
Even in an airy mall, once you're two steps into the Apple store, you're confronted with the funk of the ages. After the iPod came about, Apple was no longer a secret held close by a few. This means the stores are swarmed with people, and also, their various degrees of stink. My husband likened it to the way Zion must smell (from the Matrix). The city was home to thousands of people, stuck deep underground, living in cavelike dwellings with limited resources. Think of the logistics of that. Think of the stink. I'd say my husband is not far off in his assessment.

2) The Genius Bar.
First of all, what is up with the name? I can take Geek Squad or Dorks on Call, but Genius Bar? Do I need to ask what that implies of the rest of us? Is insulting the customers the way to go these days?

And now, with the influx of new Apple Customers, you can't even get a same day appointment at the Genius Bar anymore. Boo.

3) Some of the "geniuses."
Technically this belongs in the previous complaint, I know, but in my warped little mind it's a separate issue. The last trip I made to the genius bar involved a cracked case on the MacBook I bought two months earlier. I couldn't believe it happened. I went online and found that this is a common problem. I clicked through a bunch of photos of cracked macs--there was even a group on flickr created specifically because of this problem.

When I took it to the store, the "genius" assigned to my case smugly informed me that the crack formed because I was closing it too hard. O-kay...somehow the 5 year old ibook I replaced took the beatings just fine, but this new laptop was a delicate little flower. The funny part was that one of the MacBooks that the "geniuses" use was cracked in the same exact place as mine. Case cracked closed: It's a design flaw. It would have been better for this "genius" to admit that instead of blaming me.

He took my laptop and I received it two days later, repaired for free under the warranty.

"This has a reinforced plastic case now," says the genius, "it should be fine."

Well guess what--three months later it's cracked again (okay, this is turning into a product complaint, but what the hell, I'm going with it). I guess the reinforced plastic lasted an additional month of use before it gave out. I hesitate to return to the store because it doesn't affect the computer at all, it's just aesthetic damage, or, in the words of Monty Python's black knight, "'Tis but a scratch!" In the meantime, I have a bandaid holding things together. I'll get it fixed; I just need to go on a day when I have some built up nasal congestion so I can deal with the stink. Or else I'll send my husband to do it (ah, the beauty of being married--you can send your spouse to do your dirty work. Bonus points if he or she actually likes doing it.)

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