(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? WRONG. 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) (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?