Taking Sam's advice I got a appointment at the genius bar for my busted iBook keyboard.
About 10 minutes before my appointment time I realize such and bolt from my office and catch a cab to get over to the Fifth Avenue store so I don't lose it. I register with the guy and he sends me to the group W bench to wait. I wait, thinking I'm stupid for dashing over here, many minutes pass. I look at my watch and notice that I showed up a full hour early. I still have another 40 minutes to wait.
So, I ask the guy about this and he says "well, we'll take you early if we can, but I can't guarantee that."
I see something in his eye, so I say "that's not going to happen, is it?"
"No," he says, "it's not."
So, I did bring a book with me, Obama's "Dreams From My Father" and I start reading it. Men, listen up. Four fabulously gorgeous women walked right up to me in 15 minutes and asked how I was enjoying the book. I am never going to finish reading this thing.
So, I get called to the genius bar about 15 minutes after my appointment time and the genius asks me what is wrong. I point at my absent enter key. He pops off the keyboard and scans the serial number, while he is waiting on the look-up I tell him it is not under warranty
My genius, a nice surfer-looking guy in a black apple t-shirt and cargo shorts with hair he has to keep flipping out of face, says "Well, it will be about $120 or so parts and labor to get it fixed."
"Labor?" I ask "you have to plug in a ribbon connector."
Surfer genius flips his hair out of his face and admits "yeah, that's it. It's $40 for the keyboard, $85 for the labor to install it."
"Can I just buy the part and do it myself?"
"No," he says, looking around "we don't do that."
So, I summon up a lot of emotion, nothing angry or over-the-top, just genuine emotion that I put behind a single utterance as I look directly into what I can see of his eyes: "Dude."
"You're right, I'll be right back." He walks down the bar and leans in to speak to a colleague. He comes back and says "I got a manual override here, I'll just install it myself." He takes my machine and disappears.
He's gone a long time, almost half a hour. I like to think he went out back to catch a buzz. I didn't mind because I had a gorgeous Asian D.O. sitting next to me who was getting her data migrated from an iBook like mine to a new macbook. I converted her to GMail while my genius was doing whatever he was doing. He could take as much time as he wanted as far as I cared.
He comes back, finally, apologizes for the wait, and not only do I have a new keyboard, he has also cleaned up the entire machine. It looks new. "What do you think?" he asks.
He smiles. $43 (and two hours) later I have my IBook looking like it did when I first took it out of the box.
Customer Service, FTW.