I have never had a bad experience at an Apple store (Boston and New York stores). I find the employees to always be nice, helpful, willing to answer an endless stream of my dumb questions, have a good sense of humor, enjoy trying to solve my computer problems effectively, and to never be judgmental or snobby. But, as it is with customer service, people only want to give feedback when it is negative. I’m sorry I’m being that person today. I’m also sorry that it’s a weird problem about employee attitudes and communication and those are difficult to remedy, but you’re asking for feedback and I’ve got some (long winded) stuff to say.
This time, at this new store, I got bad vibes from the 3 employees I spoke with. I know, vibes, right? First world problem and all, but hey, I was at an Apple Store. Read on, though. The word is a good fit. These guys may have been new employees, I don’t know. And they didn’t do anything wrong procedurally (I’ve worked in retail, service + sales for over 10 years). They did what they were supposed to do: respond to my issue and help me purchase a replacement. I was not dissatisfied that I had to purchase a new battery.
But they just didn’t haven’t their act together in the manner of the way they treated me. And maybe I was being sensitive and maybe it’s just growing pains of a newer store and having different levels of experience with new employees that they didn’t have a good Apple vibe down. I also apologize for only remembering one person’s name.
My issue was a swollen battery so I brought it in to see if it could be replaced. There were 4-6 gentlemen up front waiting to assist people and check people in. I chose the friendliest looking guy (short, short hair, Asian, glasses, sweet guy) cause I enjoy chatting with pleasant people. I showed him my battery and said I need it replaced. He confidently told me I would need to purchase a new one because it is over a year old. I accepted this information. He called a manager who was close by over to double check that this was indeed the policy. He seemed very sure when he told me but maybe he just felt like he needed another opinion if I tried to argue with him. But I really wasn’t about to. I buy just about anything people tell me to (a soft spot for my fellow retail + sales people trying to do their jobs well) and I don’t like arguing. The manager (tall, handsome, maybe light black African American man [I’m super bad at guessing ethnicities, so I usually don’t, but I can’t remember these guys’ names]) came over and was immediately on the defensive, hands up, palms down and everything as if I was demanding a free battery. I was only ever asking what my options were. He told me something something about how this is what happens with “over use.” This battery is 4 years old. Things wear out and nothing lasts forever. I didn’t “over use” it. I used it like a regular person would use it. Anyway, the way he swooped in to try to “save” the unsure Asian guy was annoying. We weren’t having an issue. He just needed a backup to volley off of to close the sale.
A friend I was with asked, as any good consumer would, if it was a safety issue and could it be replaced for free for that reason. He’s been worried that the battery would catch fire. I was never worried about that, but there does seem to be information that exists to say that it’s POSSIBLE, but not likely at all. Manager guy had a defensive attitude about that saying that it wasn’t possible etc. He suggested I make an appointment and wait around to see if someone will tell me if there’s something wrong with my computer. As if wasting my time with that process would quell the imaginary problem I wasn’t even having in the first place. I know the issue is isolated to having a 4 year old battery with about 1100 cycles on it. Plus it’s been mad hot in NYC this summer and me + the battery had been sweating it out with no AC. I must have had some kinda face on and I think I said something like “You’re being so defensive!” because, really, there was no issue here and this guy was trying to diffuse the non-problem left and right. Nice Asian guy sensed I might be bummed out by Manager’s attitude and the store would lose the sale, so he jumped back in to take me over to the batteries and processed the sale. But he seemed nervous about the transaction like I was upset or maybe he didn’t like the manager getting involved the way he did and acting like Asian guy couldn’t handle the situation. I only got upset when these men started acting like I was irate or argumentative. All I did was ask questions and try to find out what my options were. I’m a nice girl and I’ve got a fat girl baby face. I’m not usually so misunderstood.
So, after that, I decided to shake it off like nbd, a basic miscommunication. I went to look at new MacBooks since this thing I’m typing on is a golden oldie. I remembered my cd drive is broken and I did have the whole laptop with me, so I asked a nearby employee about having it fixed. His name was Eric. Eric was very articulate and explained things well. In explaining the process of how it would be diagnosed and fixed and explaining they can’t do any pricing on a repair until it’s examined, he referred to the Geniuses, which always makes me laugh. I joked and said something like “Do you love having to call them Geniuses?” And whoa did he cross his arms and come back with some verrryyyy serious corporate biz about their training and the levels of specialists vs. geniuses etc as if I was doubting their credentials. When he was finished with that speech I explained myself saying that it just makes me giggle a little when branding like that ends up in our vernacular and just rolls off the tongue like no big deal and that I was just making a joke and not doubting they know what they’re doing. He literally said “Here at Apple we know how to take a joke,” which I found to be fairly snobby and elitist and also a little bruised at the implication it was a bad joke. And maybe it was. And maybe Apple employees catch flak about the Genius thing a lot. But I work at a bakery where we sell something called Crack pie and I can still find it in me to not be a snob when someone makes a stupid joke about it. Working for an hourly wage sucks for just about everyone, but we all choose our jobs, you know.
On second thought, maybe all these employees were not new. Maybe they’re all super jaded and have to deal with jerky people wanting things for free all day long and that’s why they jumped to incorrect conclusions. I wasn’t one of those people. I spent $130 dollars plus all those NYC taxes instead of ordering something off brand from China which maybe I will do next time I need a thing just so I don’t have to deal with some condescending guy in a blue shirt. And that’s not a jerky person threat of taking my business elsewhere. I really dislike confrontation and websites don’t even talk, so that’s good.
I need to get a life.