Friday, December 14, 2012

Open Letter to the Dickheads of Apple Canada

"Dear Apple Canada

Re Customer Service Apple Store Employees who work at Square One, Mississauga

I am writing to tell you about the atrocious service my mother received on - not one but - two occasions at your store. Both times an appointment was made and both times you acted like fools to an older woman.

Let me explain the problem:
In 2008, you sold me an iPhone 3GS and the thing worked great. I used it for two years and then bought something better. I stored the iPhone in a clean, dry drawer in its original packaging just in case any one in my life wanted a phone.

A short time later such an occasion arose. Someone in my world did need the phone and I took it out of its box to discover it was now half an inch thicker than it used to be. I squeezed but the panels would not go back together. Also, the screen was broken. I plugged it in but I couldn’t get it to work. I made an appointment with the inappropriately named “Genius Bar” and my mother went to inquire about what had happened to the little phone.

The service man glanced at the phone and mumbled that the battery had leaked and that a new phone would cost $170. This was hardly a good answer for a hardware issue of this magnitude, but it was streets ahead of what happened next.

My mother went home and explained what had been told to her. The battery leaked and for a discount we could get a new phone. “A NEW phone?”, I asked. It would mean an iPhone 5, if so I would be willing to go for it. So, my mother made a second appointment to clarify and returned to The Apple Store on Monday December 3, 2012 and spoke with M___.

The first thing that happened was EVASION. No one seemed interested in helping a little 68-year-old woman. Even the person who was assigned to her seemed to be trying to get away from her. He re-iterated the piece about how the battery had leaked and a new phone would cost some money. “A NEW phone?” she inquired. No, it turns he meant a new 3GS phone.

Dear Reader, let me ask you something: Would you pay actual money for a phone that was already two generations behind, especially if the phone you had from the company had a hardware issue so massive it was unfixable after only two years?

Blinking away tears of frustration, my mother asked the man to call me at work to explain it to me. With a little a broken phone in her hand this beast of a service man bellowed down at my mother “You certainly can’t use mine! Don’t you have a phone?”

What is the correct answer here?
Yes, I have a phone and it’s broken. You are looking right at it, dumbass.
Or, we are standing in a telephone STORE – asshole! – and your infuriating questions are getting on my nerves.

Imagine what kind of business you would be if that man had instead said: “Yes, of course, you can use my phone/the store’s phone, let’s find a quiet area so we can make that call together.”

The man who spoke to me was ultra-defensive. I wanted to clarify that a new phone should be the latest model, not a phone they are currently giving away for free at local phone retailers countrywide. The man then changed tacks and decided that blaming me for the battery leaking was the best course of action. He accused me of over-charging the battery. I asked him how long a battery should be charged. He told me “until 80% percent full”. Well, dear Reader, here’s the problem: The 3GS does not offer the percentage charging feature. I can’t tell 80% by looking at a picture of a green battery on the screen.

It may be important at this juncture to remember that if he was really a genius, he wouldn’t be working retail.

Apple, you have completely disappointed me. I most certainly did not overcharge the battery. I have even heard the very idea of “over-charging” the battery to be considered ridiculous by those in the know. I paid good money for the 3GS, it should have been useful to me for as many years as needed. Faced with a hardware issue like this, you should be tripping over yourself to rectify it to my satisfaction. Your employees behaviour was ageist, discriminatory against women and undermining to those who are not technically proficient. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

I won’t be buying another one of your products."

UPDATE: Aaaaand that is pretty close to the letter I wrote to Apple Canada complaining about the hardware failure and about atrocious service. But wait, the story gets better.

A “manager” of the Apple store phoned me. Here’s how the conversation played out.

He introduced himself, he then proceeded to paraphrase parts of my letter but getting key points of it incorrect – like: it was me who went into the store (Incorrect! The correct answer is: it was my mother.) I had to re-explain that to him.

He was keen to skip over the salient details and wanted to outline what a money-hungry bitch I was by saying that I was looking for a new phone at no cost. I re-explained that No, I initially wanted to know how the device could be fixed so I could give it away as a good deed, seeing as how I'm super-rich and all. His staff were the ones who advised that it would need to be replaced. He then explained that it wasn’t that I had overcharged the battery; it was that I had not charged it enough, and caused the battery to leak.

But he didn’t even know what kind of battery was in an iPhone. He told me “I can’t tell you, I’m not a technician”.  When I asked to speak to one, I was shot down.


Well, Dear Reader, I have done a little research of my own online and it appears that the correct answer is a lithium ion battery. These can not leak. When I hit the incompetent “manager” with this little gem he countered – like the great legal mind he is – with,

Yes, that’s right, they can’t leak but they can expand. I learned this in the US”, like it was a known fact and that learning something in the US gives it more validity. Also, he just contradicted himself for the second time. We are not building trust, Asshole.

Put the IkeaMonkey on the line.

Then he says, “And you should really take the battery out, but unfortunately the iPhone does not give you that opportunity.”

So, Asshole, you are agreeing with me. This is a hardware failure, a design flaw. SOMETHING YOU NEED TO REPLACE.

But no, he just kept yammering in a fake British accent like he had all the time in the world, which doesn’t surprise me given Apple stock has dropped 40% in the last 12 months.

So, Dear Reader, if you are smart, you will avoid Apple Canada at all costs. It appears that their moment in the sun has passed and what happened to Blackberry will soon happen to Apple. Imagine - if you will - all those little resumes of the former employees and our most-learned friend the “manager”, and the resumes will all say the same thing “I used to work at the Genius Bar. And now I am unemployed”.