I am on the road, currently in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I discover my CD/DVD drive won't physically mount a disk. I check the website for the local apple store, there are no genius bar appointments for two days. F*ck. For those who still suffer with non-Apple computers, the Genius Bar is the help-desk in every store. Geniuses are the trained techs who man it.
I go to the store anyway and plead my case with the Concierge, the guy who is the gatekeeper for the Genius Bar.
"THe last walk-in customer we had waited 2.5 hours" he said.
"I don't care, I'll sleep on the floor overnight if that's what it takes" is my reply.
"Ok, have a seat and we'll see what we can do" came the helpful reply.
That was about 8:00pm, at 9:15pm a tall cool drink of water named Elizabeth walked over to me and said "Can you move over here so I can help?"
I move to her station, open the macbook, and tell her "There's a mechanical problem with the optical drive. It won't physically mount a disk, much less logically. Can you replace it?"
She nods and types away on her computer. She's taking my word for what is wrong. "Yeah, I have one, let's take a look."
She goes to get a DVD. She takes a look in the slot with a black stick, prying it open "Your bezel in bent, I want to make sure we don't get a disk stuck in there." She slides in a Snow Leopard upgrade disk and the machine buzzes and crunches before spitting the disk back out.
"Yep, you got that right. That's a mechanical problem. One to three days ok?" She says while I'm thinking I want to ask her to marry me. A woman this tall, smart and good-looking who speaks geek is a rare thing, heretofore only spotted in Minnesota.
"Um, I'm from New York, and I'm traveling. I'll be leaving Albuquerque in the morning for the Pecos Wilderness, but I will be back in town on Thursday" comes my reply, accompanied by my best wounded puppy-dog look. The next thing I wanted to ask her was if she could get her family together by that time for our wedding ceremony.
"Oh, wow, when do you leave in the morning?" she asked.
Of course, I wanted to say 'as soon as we finish breakfast' but I said "When I get ready to leave, I don't really have to be in Pecos until 3pm."
"OK, I have a tech coming in the morning who could bang this out first thing" she said hopefully.
'Heh, you said bang.' was what I was thinking, but I said "That would work for me."
"Do you have a back up of your data? We don't expect to touch it, but I have to ask" she says while typing on her MBP. "Also, can I have an admin password so we can test?"
"I have a time machine back-up in New York, yes." Of course, this is a woman to whiom I would give my root password, but I gave her another one. Time Machine is the apple auto-backup utility, reason #18,496 why I am an Apple FanBoi.
"OK, we'll call you in the morning." she said with a big smile, and I bid her goodbye.
A night of separation from my MacBook ensues. Sleep was restless.
This morning, I get to the store at 9am, they open at 10am, but an employee sees me outside and comes to the door. "Richard?" he asks.
I reply in the affirmative and he unlocks the door. "Jim is just about finished, he's just doing the paperwork." He walks me back to the Concierge desk and asks for an ID, which I produce.
"Going back to New York today?" he asks.
"No, I'm going up to the high country, the Pecos Wilderness" I reply.
"Cool!" he says. "By the way, we also replaced the top-case and your keyboard, the case was chipped and the letters had rubbed off some of your keys. Here, sign this." He puts a piece of paper in front of me which I sign. No charge.
"Also, your anniversary is September 18, you might want to consider an applecare purchase before then." he said, smiling, as he handed me the macbook and the paperwork.
Damn right I will.
If you do anything important on a computer and you aren't using an apple, you are suffering needlessly. Don't give me that crap about "needing Windows." I need it too, so I run it on a virtual machine on my MacBook with Mac Fusion when I need to.
Apple is one place over to which I gladly hand my money. Service like this is why.