Sunday, April 08, 2007

Apples, lemon and honey: my iMac story

This is the story of how through patience and persistence, I got a new 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo iMac last weekend. [Warning: this is a long post even with major edits. ; ) ]

I’ve only owned Apple computers. The last one I bought was in May 2005 - the day Apple opened it’s first Canadian store. It was a new G5 iMac and at first, it worked like a charm. It was the only Apple computer I owned that ever needed service other than a memory upgrade.

I started having problems last fall. I thought they were related to my Internet service - NOT! The fan hummed and there was a constant buzz whenever the computer was on. Eventually, performance started slowing down too.

A month ago I did some home diagnostics but nothing showed up. I took advantage of my AppleCare service. They did some diagnostics and fixes with me by phone but nothing changed. Off to the Apple store I went...

In a nutshell, I visited the Genius Bar about 8 times, replaced the logic board and ran diagnostics , with AppleCare tech support and on my own.

After several attempts, I couldn’t replicate the problem for the mac geniuses. Even after an overnight diagnostic visit, neither could they. I bought ProCare so I could have quicker service. (I was having anxiety attacks at the thought of being sans computer for a week.) I started feeling like the boy girl who cried wolf.

The service I received was excellent. There were a few exceptions and a bit of misinformation from some of the staff. Overall, the passion the staff share not only for the product but for the customer is what separates the Apple store apart from other local Apple resellers.

A week ago Friday, I had enough. I spoke to a manager, Maheen, who assured me they’d help. I also wanted a plan in case they couldn’t fix my iMac. He wouldn’t provide one. (Throughout the experience, I had been told Apple’s policy is not to replace a computer until it’s had three major repairs, i.e. new hardware.) I didn’t ask for a new computer; I asked for one that worked. I didn’t care if it was 22-month-old iMac or a replacement. I just wanted a working computer and I wanted one soon! I never got angry; just held firm.

He booked an appointment for the next morning and put me in Agatha’s capable hands.

When I arrived (with kids in tow), I asked Agatha about “the plan” in case they couldn’t fix my iMac. She said they’d start “a case” - Apple retail speak for ordering a replacement. Finally! If they could fix my iMac, great. If not, at least the wheels would be in motion. Within minutes, Agatha decided to give me a new iMac but it would take 10 to 14 biz days.

In the meantime, Tyrone - a mac genius - would do his best to patch up my computer in hopes I could use it in the interim.

Tyrone was great. It sounded like there were hardware problems and a software issue stemming from an AppleCare tech support call. He gave me all kinds of tips. More than two hours had passed. I needed to get some lunch into the boys. I left the iMac at the store while we went for a bite.

I returned a couple hours later to pick up my sickly iMac. Tyrone told me he had good news but I had to speak to Taylor. She’d be back in 15 min. Off I went to entertain my uncharacteristically patient boys - ice cream works wonders.

Fifteen minutes later, Taylor gave me a brand-spanking new new 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo iMac, with 1GB of RAM, a SuperDrive and a webcam - an upgrade. Good things do come to those who wait! Well sort of...

Went home. Opened the box, pulled out the new iMac. Plugged everything in. Started installing an online software update and guess what? It crashed!

I immediately called the Apple store. They said they were too busy to help me. I called AppleCare. The tech support guy tried helping me on the phone. No change. He told me to go back to the store. And so I did.

Graham, another mac genius checked out my new computer. In his words, it was “D.O.A.” - a lemon. By 7:30 p.m., I received my second new computer of the day and went home.

Where does the honey play into all this?
During this whole debacle, I remained unusually calm. I never raised my voice. I never demanded anything. I was patient and worked with Apple. I was co-operative every step of the way and treated people with the same respect I expected from them. I made it easy for the staff to help me and I was rewarded.
So there you have it, my story about Apples (Apple store/company + Apple iMacs), one lemon and lots of honey. ; )

Do you use honey or vinegar when you shop? Share your customer service stories. Leave a comment.

photo credit: honey jar image courtesy of

Technorati tags: Apple, AppleCare, computers, customer service, honey, iMac, Intel, lemons, ProCare, technology


  1. fashiontheory10:13 pm

    i'm more...impatient than that!

    but i'm glad things worked out for you

  2. I don't know why I was so patient and I'm not sure that the outcome would have been different if I'd been less patient but I do know I made it easier for the Apple Yorkdale staff to help me - they told me so. Believe me, I was going into withdrawal with a working iMac. My family of four depends on it constantly!

  3. Anonymous11:32 am

    When my Powerbook was acting funny, I took mine to Carbon Computing (an Apple reseller) to check it out. All I know is that you have to have a good sense of humour about these things. And really good tech people who are willing to laugh with you every time you walk into the store with a demonic laptop. At least they remembered my name every time I walked into store. Haha.


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