#2143 That good Apple customer service

Photo: Haw-lin

I work on a 2008 black Macbook that has given me nothing but faithful service over the years, but a month or so ago, the screen started going black for no good reason. I’d close the computer then open it, and about half the time it would start working again. Extensive googling told me the problem was with my backlight, and if I held the laptop at a certain angle, I could see the faint outline of whatever I’d been working on teasing me in the background. Recently, it’s started happening constantly, so yesterday I took my laptop to the genius bar at Apple’s uptown store to ask what to do. I was assigned to a young guy with a blue shirt and a big smile, who shook my hand and asked me the problem. I told him my backlight kept going out. He nodded and walked away for a second. When he returned, I kept telling him about what had been happening and the various ways I’d tried to fix it. He started doodling on a piece of paper. As I was talking.

I stopped for a second and glared at him, but he was oblivious. I tried talking a little louder, but it was as if I wasn’t even there. Just as I was about to prod him in the chest or demand to speak to his supervisor, he threw the piece of paper down on my keyboard, slammed my computer shut, and said, “You’re good to go.” I stared at him. He stared back. “I don’t get it,” I said. He smiled and nodded at me as if he was talking to a three year old. “You’re good to go.” I shook my head. “Listen, I don’t quite understand what’s going on here, but…” He cut me off. “Trust me.” Then, he looked behind me, and called out, “Next customer, please!”

I picked up my computer and walked out, stopping for a second on the street to look at that jerk’s scribbling. It was a note. I unfolded it, and read the following: “Take your computer to Tekserve on W 23rd St. You need a new Inverter Board. They’ll charge you half the price and do it twice as quickly as we would. Best of luck.”

Never again will I doubt Apple’s genii.


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  1. isaaclikes says

    NB: Obviously the above photo has nothing whatsoever to do with this post, but she was more visually captivating than my broken laptop. Go figure.

  2. mina says

    I’ve been liking your life story posts lately but this one is kinda boasty in a bad way – given that it’s a known fact that Apple are hardcore about their products and servicing so why would you make public this gesture of generosity that could obviously get the guy fired?

  3. Jenny says

    What a delightful and heartening story. I thought that that sort of thing only happened in little ol’ NZ and am uplifted to learn that there’s helpful honesty everywhere. I had the same experience recently when I needed a tow bar fitted to my car. The car’s local agency quoted me an astonishing $750 and when she heard my strangled gasp, very helpfully suggested I take it to a tow bar specialist who would fit it for half the price. And that’s just what I did. Happy days!

  4. Guest says

    Apple is the absolute worst. To replace just the aluminum cover for my macbook pro? $900. $900! For aluminum! Then, when I bought a new for, oh, just $2500, it constantly made a whirring noise. Come to find out, the hard drives all make lots of noise now! It’s just the way that they are! So I have to spend even more money on a new hard drive, just to have a silent computer. 

    You got lucky. It happens–even I got a free battery replacement once. But Apple is fundamentally evil, and I hate that their products are so pretty and easy to use. 

  5. Nicklas_Kingo says

    Lol choice of picture cracked me up. Tekserve seem like they really have their poop together – great selection on accessories as well

  6. Jared K says

    I got a free MagSafe charger once, even though my dud one was past warranty. Now to get the three vertical bars that plague my screen, fixed…

  7. Nicola says

    I had the exact same problem with my 2008 macbook. Too bad where I live in NZ there is no Apple  Genius people around to go visit :-( Sold it on Trade Me and now loving my MacBook Pro. Hoping it lasts a little longer than the last version. 

  8. Kanchb says

    Hi, just discovered your blog via the NZ Hipster ad and have spent the last two days happily gamboling thru your back post, wandering and smiling at your wonderful turn of the phase and the exciting things you make happen! Am looking forward to hearing more about your adventures :)
    PS-I was at grad school in NYU from 2007-09 and Tekserve saved my life when my motherboard failed. But the Apple SOHO store is awesome for all the free concerts they have!

  9. says

    I don’t think the guy will get in trouble since Isaac didn’t give the guy’s name or which Apple store he went to. This is a really nice story :) 

  10. isaaclikes says

    Thanks so much, and true that re the Apple Soho store! I’ve been to a few of their talks with guys like Michael Bastian and the boys from How To Make It In America and I’m always impressed.
    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

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