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Apple Genius Bar Is Filled With Idiots

Usually I am all for buying things online and even talking to customer service over the phone or online instead of physically going to the store to deal with a matter. For some reason, when my headset for the iPhone stopped working I decided it would be a great idea to go to the store to get a replacement instead of trying to see whether they could mail it to me.

I walked into the Apple Store at Menlo Park Mall and was immediately greeted by a nice guy who asked me about my problem. I ended up going to the Genius Bar desk where I went on to describe that recently my right side of my headset stopped working. I probably could have lasted longer with my headset but that is also the side with the microphone that I use to talk on the phone so the problem escalated in priority for me. The first lady who looked at my headset went back to ask a “technician” whether this was covered in the AppleCare Protection Plan. On their own website, it clearly states that the plan “covers iPhone & iPhone Bluetooth hands-free headset and included accessories” which I think is fair to say covers my problem.

Initially, they tried to scheme me into admitting that I physically broke my headset by either stepping over or not “properly” using it. I was there with my brother where we both argued what is the point of the Protection Plan if it does not cover a simple problem like the headset? After being quite disappointed with the level of customer service I walked out and ended up calling Apple Customer Service before I even reached my car. The guys (Brian & Scott) on the other end were very friendly throughout the entire conversation. All he did was ask me about my problem, asked for my serial number and told me to wait 2 minutes while he asked someone whether he could help me out. 2 minutes later, he came back on the line to tell me that he was ready to mail me my new headset.

Since I was already out when I called, I asked him whether I could just pick it up at the store instead of him having to mail me and having to wait a couple of days before I could have this problem fixed. He told me some CS code or number and gave me his direct line in case the store employee gave me trouble.

I walked back in the store and lady that initially told me that I couldn’t have a replacement listen as I explained that I called Apple Customer Service and they issued me a code that I can pick up a replacement headset for free. A couple of employees including the manager there at the time looked me like I had 3 eyes on my face or was an alien or something. They seemed to have never heard of this number issued by Customer Service to customers. The lady took the phone number and the CS code and walked into the backroom saying she would be right back. About 10-15 minutes of waiting later, she walked out saying she could not reach the person and was only getting his voicemail. I took the piece of paper back from her, dialed the number myself and reached him immediately – which makes me question how much she really tried to reach the guy. So I ended up calling Scott and had the in-store manger talk to him as he explained what he had done for me.

After having this discussion, I thought my troubles would be over and they would simply just hand me a headset… and I couldn’t have been more wrong if I tried.

Turns out even for a simple replacement, they needed me to schedule an appointment where they needed to fill out paper work for the replacement equipment and needed a “technician” to come out and replace the part for me. I just cannot believe that they needed a technician to issue me a new headset and somehow the person behind the Genius Bar couldn’t do a simple parts replacement. The manager tells me to wait until the next technician which he couldn’t give me an accurate estimate on how long it would take. He estimated it would be 10 to 15 minutes and after a 20-25 minute wait later, a guy named Dan who I presumed is the “technician” called me up, entered took my name/email/serial number and printed out a receipt along with my replacement.

So about one hour, two phone calls to Apple Customer Service and talking to five different Apple employees later, I painfully and finally got my replacement headset.

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17 Responses

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  1. Nunya says

    You shouldn't have stepped on it you dolt.

  2. Michael says

    That sucks, I've had good experiences with Apple replacing my harddrive and keyboard no questions asked.

  3. Snappy says

    #3 … do you actually work in Apple or do Apple products break so often that you become so familiar with their business processes? 😉

  4. Anonymous says

    I'm sorry your experience in the Apple Store was bad. The initial employee who spoke with you should not have had this much difficulty solving your issues. Not personally seeing your headset makes it a little harder for those of us who read your blog to understand the situation, but I think we can still get the gist of it, you obviously had a problem that needed fixing.

    There are many employees in the Apple Store with many different roles. If you see an employee in an orange colored shirt, you've seen a Concierge. These employees focus on making sure that everyone gets to where they need to be. One to One members to their appointments, shoppers to workshops and personal shopping appointments, and Genius Bar customers to a technician. Often times, Concierge get wrapped up in a lot of issues which might be better off handled by a Genius who has a little more wiggle room to make decisions regarding warranties or replacements.

    The employees and managers were correct; the Apple retail stores do have a dedicated method for dealing with issues such as headphones problems, iPhone issues, or even Macintosh related problems. The Apple store is like a well oiled machine, you might be surprised in how well they tend to operate. Every part that comes in or out of the store has to be accounted for, and when a part is replaced for someone, there has to be some sort of transaction so that the appropriate parts can be tracked, engineers can gain data on what parts are failing more than others, etc. Generally, this process is handled through the Genius Bar, which runs on an appointment basis.

    There are certainly times in which exceptions need to be made to the normal operating procedure, and it sounds like that is what the manager attempted to do. The Genius Bar has what is called a "standby" queue, in which people can try and wait for an opening or a no-show appointment and receive help. I don't know how much experience you have with the Apple Stores, but I might encourage you next time you have an issue to visit and schedule a Genius Bar appointment so that you can talk to a dedicated technician who can personally help you without passing you off to others.

    Again, I'm sorry your experience was bad. Normally I have no issues when I visit one in my neighborhood.

  5. Craig says

    I totally agree with this post. Apple Fans boys will go nuts over this. I was at the Chicago Apple Store wasting some time before dinner and I overheard a sales guy drumming up the mac book as the greatest technological wonder ever produced. I sort of thought it was funny and thought to listen in to the obvious lies. The couple looking at the laptop for their daughter where not convinced at all… so the normal pc's suck, vista sucks, viruses blah blah blah.. macs have an amazing track record and never break and never have any problems. I had enough… walked over and simply said, if your apple products are so well built and never have any problems then why is there 80 people in line at the "genius bar" and a 5 day wait for any tech service. The couple looked over to verify and laughed said they where probably going to get a PC anyways, better and cheaper. The apple tech was not so happy about the obvious.

  6. tiGz says

    Serves you right, you bought an Apple headset to start with!

  7. Tyron Nobregas says

    Howdy there,Terrific article dude! i am Tired of using RSS feeds and do you use twitter?so i can follow you there:D.

    PS:Do you thought to be putting video to the web site to keep the people more enjoyed?I think it works.Kind regards, Tyron Nobregas

  8. Wow. says

    The employees probe (ask specific questions to receive detailed answeres) to make sure you didn't physically damaged the headset — we don't swap physically damaged items. It's in our policy, as you read.
    Then you and your brother decided to argue with the employees.
    Then you walked out of the store instead of trying to talk like a civilized person.
    Then you went crying to Apple Customer Support.
    Then you came back in demanding to be spoken to immediately — this is after you argued with the employees and left the store mad.

    Did you really believe that the store's employees would treat your attitude with anything less than "take a number and wait to be called on"?

    You're pathetic.

    • Fuck91 says

      you are the typical apple fanboy idiot that exist in this modern world

    • OzZ says

      Typical apple genius! I had trouble getting my appletv replaced after AppleCare told me to go in and get a new one. U better believe I called AppleCare after they gave me a hard time.

  9. ms sweet says

    I have been back to that same local 3 times to have a mac pro item replaced. They keep stalling me off. I my friend am a lovely shade of pale so I do not imagine that your warm tones had influence on the level of difficulty you experienced.

  10. SAMUEL says

    "Apple" suuuuuuccccckkks! They won't take resposabilty for any of their products, everything I've bought I have to fix myself or a freind has had to fix. Genius Bar my ass! my children know more than they do.

  11. Chris says

    May I recommend Linux if you want to deal with geniuses?

  12. ApSuxHurd says

    Im waiting now 40 minutes with no help in the willowbrook store so I googled why apple sucks.!!!

  13. David says

    After being told by a Genius Bar Assistant that "GOOGLE IS MY FRIEND" when I've been using Apple products for 15 years. I was NOT impressed. If only apple computers could be genius bar assistants!

  14. dumdum says

    Apple products suck and their employees are dumb, you are even dumber if you buy that crap

  15. Ripper says

    Anyone agree with me that you gotta be a special breed of "dipshit" to be hired as an apple "genius" . WTF is wrong with those people – they all look like a group of brainwashed nerds that think theyre hip and know everything but can't help you out when you got an issue with their products . I like using the iPhone but I hate this stupid ass company with its pretentious attitude and pathetic zombie employees.

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