B&M Apple Store quality diminishing. (slight rant, also your opinion?)

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by katie ta achoo, Feb 20, 2008.

  1. katie ta achoo macrumors G3

    May 2, 2005
    (There's a summary at the bottom if you don't feel like reading this whole rant.)

    I remember when I first got my iBook in 2004 or or so. I got it from a pawn shop, it had no CDs, I didn't know what to do with the poor thing. I took it to the genius bar. I got helped with a smile. They took time to sit down with me and say "this is what this does. Here, we'll do a fresh install for you!" that kind of stuff. Things you'd expect from an employee of a specialty store. (Houston Galleria Apple Store)

    Since then, I've been in to get my PowerBook repaired several times. (I had someone look it up once-- near $1600 of repairs on something I won on Tiger night.) The first time I got it serviced, the hard drive was bonky. Happened two or three days into my ownership of the PowerBook.

    As new geniuses get hired, they have different techniques and attitudes. Depending on what day I happen to have to go at the Houston Galleria, a genius there may know that I do, indeed, know what I'm doing; Others explain what they're doing to my computer like I've been bussed in from another pre-electronics century. That's fine, I mean, I don't know all the customers at my toy store, so I can't remember who knows what and the like.

    Except a couple of months ago, I went to the Memorial City Mall Apple store. The Galleria is perpetually crowded and my problem never gets fully resolved. Usually I get halfway there with it, then have to spend 3 more hours at home, figuring out what happened, so that I may fix it again in the future. Memorial City is a bit less crowded, so I can ask more questions and all that jazz.

    I removed all the languages I don't need using Monolingual. I don't need to have arabic and korean support on my PowerBook when the hard drive is only 80 gigs! I went in to the Memorial City genius bar to have a looksee at a problem I was having with my PowerBook. He saw that I had run monolingual before and told me, "Now, isn't a woman like you smarter than to be messing around with all the technical stuff? You broke your own computer, I can't help you."
    Translation: You're a woman; women don't know how to use computers.
    Since when has running Monolingual been a "technical stuff" ? FSM help me, I cleared up 3 gigs of space!
    Angry, I drove ten miles in rush-hour traffic (took about 45 minutes) to get my PowerBook looked at by another person who wouldn't even attempt to help me. Luckily, one of the "good" geniuses was working at the Galleria that day and it was about 20 minutes before closing so I got help. Surprise, it was totally unrelated to my use of Monolingual. Something got messed up in my HD directory and it just needed to be cloned to an external drive, then my internal drive formatted, then copied back. He explained how to do it (Download carbon copy cloner. Click a button. Format. Repeat.). At the time, the only external HD I had was my iPod (20 gigs). I told him this and he did it for me for free. (Usually it's a $75 data recovery charge or something, but since it was "press a button and leave it alone for 4 hours" he waived it.)

    That's really the last good Apple Brick and mortar store experience I've had. It was about a year ago, I'd say.

    What really brought it to a head (and motivated me to make this thread) was my experience last week at the Galleria store. I needed a printer ASAP--no time to wait for shipping. I have my reasons for not shopping at Microcenter (crap selection in-store), Best Buy (Staffed by misogynists), Circuit City (their hiring practices), and Fry's (impossible to get help unless you're buying a $2,000 system they can make a commission on), so I went to the Apple store.
    I wanted a canon printer with four individual ink cartridges. That was my only request. I asked the clerk explicitly: "Is this a tri-color ink cartridge?" and he assured me it wasn't. I swiped my CC and left. I had bigger stuff on my mind--big relationship issue--so I didn't check the box. He works there, he should know his product, right?


    I get it home, open the box and see TWO cartridges greet me. After cursing for about 20 minutes, I tape the box back up. I have to lug this thing back to my trunk, drag it across the mall to return it, AND wait for a printer, even though I needed to print a paper for school. (Thank FSM teachers let you email assignments!) My physical therapist wasn't very happy that I carried a giant box across the Galleria. I strained the crap outta my arms 3 hours before a physical therapy appointment. SPLENDID.

    About 2 hours later, my problem is finally resolved. I go out to the Apple store FIRST COLONY MALL, over 22 miles away, as they're the closest store that hasn't insulted me in the past. (see map)
    Picture 2.jpeg
    (it's a Houston culture thing--Anything outside loop 610 is "country." You can get whatever you need inside the loop! The Galleria is right on the loop, so it's close enough to not be the boonies. Cows actually start appearing if you go 288-south for 1.5 miles.)

    I know Apple can't control the weather, but as soon as I left the Galleria, it started to pour. I walked into the First Colony Mall store soaking wet, looking pitiful as anything. It would've been avoided if the chump at the Galleria had sold me the correct printer in the first place!! I probably have the flu or pneumonia or plague now because of him. Idiot.

    I told the guy I bought my new printer from about all this and he was upset by it. He told his manager and said they're gonna talk to the other stores about it. "People shouldn't get different service based on skin colour, gender, or any of that stuff." were his exact words.

    The reason to go to the Apple store is that it's a specialty store. Yes, you pay a slight premium, but you get (or are supposed to) knowledgeable clerks who help you out the first time; you don't get a big, electronic slap in the face. Their level of helpfulness is why you don't go to newegg and buy a printer for $40.

    Too long; didn't read summary:
    • Crap geniuses
    • "You're a woman--you don't know how to use a computer."
    • "YEA! this printer has 4 separate ink tanks!!"
    • Used to get good service... not anymore.

    Has anyone else noticed it, or do I just have crap luck?
  2. shecky Guest


    May 24, 2003
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    (firstly, welcome back)

    my experience in retail computer electronics is that the person helping you is nothing more than a webpage shopping cart. by that i mean, s/he is there to take your money, give you your product, and wish you a nice day. if you expect anything more than that, prepare to be disappointed.

    its 2008. everything you could ever want to know about any electronic products is online. unless you are totally alien to them, to computers, to post horse-and-buggy society, i see zero reason why you should rely on someone who is working retail to give you any information beyond where the store keeps a certain product.

    do some people know what they are talking about? sure. do most? no. is it possible to go in and get correct and relevant information from a electronics retailer? yes. is it likely? not very.
  3. iHerzeleid macrumors 6502a


    May 5, 2007
    Too much arrogance in Apple Stores these days...
  4. elfin buddy macrumors 6502a

    elfin buddy

    Sep 16, 2001
    Tuttlingen, Germany
    That's terrible, but I do envy you for being within reasonable range of three Apple stores :p Closest one to me is about a 700km drive! On the bright side, at least the "country folk" were nice and are trying to do something about the quality decline in other stores.
  5. imac9556 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 12, 2004
    I totally know what you mean. The people, especially some geniuses at the Apple Store Plaza (KC, MO) are very condescending and arrogant. I remember, back when the store first opened, the geniuses there were very helpful and actually listen to the customer. Don't get me wrong, not all of the AppleStore geniuses are bad. My recent experience at the store left a really bad taste:
    I had brought a Macbook Pro because of several issues. First, the battery will not charge at all (stuck at 50%) and the computer refused to "safe sleep". I also had screen issues of flickering and the hinge not being tight. The "genius", who goes by ($, who signed the work report) treated my machine as if it were some junk PC from the trash can. He first tried to replace the battery. He flipped my Macbook over before it even had a chance to sleep (the sleep light indicator was still solid, not pulsing) and flipped it over and dropped it on the screen. (There was a good sized "clunk" sound from hitting the table). After replacing the battery, it appeared to solve the issue.
    Next, he had to type up a dispatch to send in my computer. I acknowledged the screen issue but refused to type up or report the issue about the loose hinge. I know that my hinge has a problem because it was never this "loose" before. Just a slight movement on the table would cause the screen to wobble. He claimed it was normal and tried to show that his Macbook pro at the counter did the same thing. So, he did not even type it up in the service report.
    A couple days later, I received the computer back (after calling Apple customer service about 8 times a day because they had issues finding the problem that the genius wrote up...) they had replaced the screen and its associated components and the HINGE because they said it was loose or not "within spec."
    It just goes to prove, the geniuses do not know everything. I guess just because they work at the genius bar, they own the world and know everything about computers. Their heads so shoved up their a**** they do not listen to the customer...Next time, I would rather buy the Applecare 3 year warranty extension and wait on the phone for a tech support representative then deal with those arrogant geniuses at the store again....

    I still had to send the Macbook pro back in because the repair center had damaged the casing of the computer, but I will see tomorrow whether they had taken care of the issue yet.
  6. katie ta achoo thread starter macrumors G3

    May 2, 2005
    See, but it didn't used to be like that.
    Apple is a specialty store. They exist because they go above and beyond.

    If I'm going in and spending $140 dollars on a printer, (heck even if I'm spending $15 on headphones!) I should be given correct information.

    I work at a specialty toy store. You can get almost all the toys for about 2/3 the price at target, but people come to us because we know our product. Part of the sale price is the expertise you get. If I did something like that at my store, I'd be fired or re-trained immediately. Getting treated this way at Apple stores isn't an anomaly anymore. YMMV, of course.

    Apple's status as a specialty store is dead. They're just another big box company. Treat your customers like crap, but since you're the most convenient, it's OK. That's how it feels to me.
  7. TEG macrumors 604


    Jan 21, 2002
    Langley, Washington
    I have had exactly one bad experience at an Apple Store. I had to wait two hours to see a genius because I was 10 minutes late for my appointment.

    With the low unemployment rate in the US, I'm surprised that the quality hasn't gone down more and the more skilled are leured away to better jobs.

    I think it is a bit of your fault with the printer thing, as it is clearly written on the box whether it is tri-color or individual color cartridges, and the employee was dense enought to think you wanted tri-color instead of three color cartriges, as most people think tri-color is cheaper.

    I do think you should have slapped the guy that said that girls shouldn't mess with technology, as he was obviously a tool. You should think about sending thank you notes to the hard drive guy, as he did a dangerous thing (relating to his job) as I know someone who was fired from an Apple Store near Seattle for doing the same thing. You should also send a note to they guy who helped you return the printer and made the comment about the other stores.

    I believe that the quality is still high, it is just that some employes are over worked, under skilled, and under paid, so they just don't care... others are just warm bodies to help you find things but have zero technical knowledge.

  8. Eric Piercey macrumors 6502

    Eric Piercey

    Nov 29, 2006
    Perpetual Bondage
    I recommend Disk Warrior for such directory problems in the future. Apple geniuses are just Apple geeks, not necessarily customer service giants, although that should be a prereq for the job one would think. You sound like you had a slight chip on your shoulder going in. I'm not saying you should have been treated like an idiot, but you get what you give. Disk Warrior would have fixed your issue and you'd not have had to deal with them at all. I've only been in an Apple store once and it nauseated me. Way too ... hip. The salesperson knew very little about what he was talking about. Anyway.. sorry you got treated badly.
  9. katie ta achoo thread starter macrumors G3

    May 2, 2005
    Yeah, it is. But I'd just reached the conclusion that I had to break up with my boyfriend and was trying to distract myself while I waited for him to get out of work so I could actually do the breaking. On the day before Valentine's day.

    I was a little scatterbrained to say the least.
  10. tkidBOSTON macrumors 6502a


    Aug 14, 2005
    The Hub of the Universe
    Hey katie, I don't have much to say other than I completely agree with your rant from what I can tell- although I do think it has to do more with "crap luck" than any actual widespread deteriation in Apple store quality.
  11. killmoms macrumors 68040


    Jun 23, 2003
    Washington, DC
    ...Soooooo, you're single then? :D Just kidding, that sucks (even if you are the one doing the breaking).

    Yeah, it seems to me that the overall quality has gone down, just from my limited experience. To be fair though, the gap between my visits to Apple Stores was basically between "when I lived in VA" and then "after I moved to CA." So I'm not sure if it's just a VA vs. CA thing, dumb luck, or an actual trend. You know what they say: the plural of "anecdote" is not "data."
  12. katie ta achoo thread starter macrumors G3

    May 2, 2005
    yesterday, I had to go get my LCD hinge repaired--ever since I got the panel replaced, there has been a gap on the hinge casing. It looks horrible and I was scared the whole thing would fall apart.

    Even though I got it replaced at a genius bar, they royally messed it up. Pinched wires, crappy repair. It has cause screen flickering on occasion, but only once or twice and its a pain on the butt to reproduce: involves me futzing with the screen for about 30 minutes.
    So baby goes in for a repair on a repair. My PowerBook model is about 4 years old so the parts are backordered so she gets sent away.

    Having to get a repair on a repair finally ticks me off enough to call Apple.
    An australian answers and I'm vrrrrry happy. *drool*
    he listens to what's happened to me, he lodges an official complaint and all in all, I'm very happy and now have a little e-crush on an Australian in Austin, Tx. He said he'd call me back today for an update. I think I should propose marriage over the phone. That's the most logical thing for me to do, obviously.

    Austin's only four hours away. I smell roadtrip! ;) hehe.
  13. shecky Guest


    May 24, 2003
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    just as an aside, my business partner/fiancé and i got a new mac pro and cinema display today. so we walk into the apple store, spend 30 seconds oggling over the MBA, and then tell the concierge we need to buy a tower. he gets someone, who comes over and our conversation was as follows:

    me: hi, we need to get a stock mac pro, a 23" display and applecare.

    him: oh! are you sure thats what you need? this is a professional machine and if....

    me: yes, thanks for asking, but we use these machines professionally.

    him: great! (types on a computer for 30 seconds) ok, they will bring it out from the back in a moment. how would you like to pay?

    me: with a check. also, i receive the academic discount as i am college faculty. i have my faculty ID here (hands it to him).

    him: (looks for 5 seconds) no problem at all. thats all we need. let me take your payment over here...

    we were in and out in less than 10 minutes. it was a perfect apple store experience.
  14. marykay9507 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 18, 2008
    from the workers? or the consumer?:p

    but seriously, i think Apple retail workers have their good days and bad days (as all retail workers do); I tend to stay away from the newer faces I see in my regular store and go to the employees who I know from prior visits; I was in a store and was unfortunate to get an employee who knew nothing about what they were talking about..I actually asked if she could get me someone else; when the manager asked if everything was ok, I just said that the young lady did not have the answers to what I was asking and seemed to be saying, "well, i think..." a little too much for what kind of money we were planning on spending-- the manager response was that she was sorry and she just hasn't been trained yet...my thought, then she shouldn't be on the floor
  15. machanback macrumors member

    Feb 22, 2008
    Richmond VA
    I gotta be honest.. i bought my MB last week at the Richmond VA store, and I got nothing but great service, Everyone very friendly and eager to help. Initial purchase took all of 15 minutes. wnet bak he next day after deciding i needed Airport express.. Same experience. they are always busy so i kind of expected some impatience from them toward a newbie, but I got just the opposite.

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