Saturday, March 02, 2013

My Evening at the Bar

A Genius Bar, recently. "It looks neat and tidy to human eyes, but at the sub-atomic level it's a complete mess."

Yes, the Genius Bar in an Apple Store. As was once said about Karl Marx: "If Steve Jobs were alive today...he'd be rolling around in his grave".

I needed a small part for my Apple iPhone, as I mentioned in an earlier post. AT&T staff assured me that I could get it at any Apple store, with one guy even saying, "they will probably even just give it to you", implying that the trifling item was so commonplace that it would waft to liberty out of the inventory of the coolest corp on earth, while Apple staffers would high-five and soft Pacific winds would...

The blowing sound I got to hear was that of air escaping from a Genius Bar employee, who set the tone of my experience with his heavy. sigh. of. really. did. you. have. to. disrupt. the. time. continuum. just. as you pesky humans like to do? That was at 67th and Broadway, around 7PM. He wanted to input me into his iPad as an appointment.

"That's silly," I thought. "I don't need my lap top screen replaced, nor a new battery in my phone, I just need this tiny spare part that must be firmly common," so I left Mr Work-to-rules and walked a bit later, over to the 59th Street Apple Store, which as New Yorkers will know, was the first Apple Temple to open and is a 24 hours outlet.

It was buzzing with customers and cheerful staff as usual, at 830PM. The cheerful staff are faking it, obviously, but no big deal. Young woman A (Y. W. A) meets me and takes me to Young woman B (Y. W. B). I ask B for a SIM card tray. She takes my phone to three experts at the bar...

Her approach and attitude indicates that she is following a script in her head — again, I don't mind, except that it has stolen away from her, poor thing, any grasp of human nuance, and she treats me like an idiot from the start: I know nothing. I am stupid. And what I will be told will only be the barest minimum — the Apple-is-the-Roman-Catholic-Church analogy really makes sense!

She and the three wise men examine my phone at their altar. They talk loudly about the unlikelihood of there being any replacement SIM card trays, and for an insane moment I imagine my phone FedEx-ing its way to California, to be "corrected".

An appointment must be made for me, to unwrinkle the sheer cheek of me walking in off the street. Much tapping on iPad. I have an appointment for 930PM. It is now 858PM. Really? I have to wait half an hour?

I am handed back to Y. W. A, who tells me to sit at a table, a quarter acre of plain pine, devoid of any of Apple's products, unlike all the other tables. YWA tells me to wait there until 925PM, then go report to YWB for my 930PM appointment. All this carry-on for a tiny tray that I can install myself?

I tell YWA that I am going to move six feet away to the nearest lap top on display, to check my email. She says that is fine.

At 924PM, I log out of my Gmail and turn around and walk ten feet to YWB.

"Where did you go?" she scolds me, not really so cheery. "We looked everywhere for you!"

"You didn't look hard enough," I said. "I was right there," pointing at the lap top. She scowled. A half-threat about making another appointment started to come out of her mouth. Instead, she took me back to the bar. My iPhone now has a SIM card tray. The Wise Ones are joshing about bad plays in the NBA Super Bowl track star field 0769824 Heavenly play-offs. I imagine their browsers full of meaningless ESPN tinsel-colored sludge.

I'm already bored with this story, so the gist is that I complained that the length of time I spent and the silly appointment making bullshit for such a small matter, was ridiculous. Obviously, retail theory tenet # , "the customer is always right", had not lodged in YWB's head, because she sneered at me, accused me of "wandering off" when my appointment had arrived, and when I said I could probably have bought the SIM card tray in a non-Apple cell phone store in five minutes, she said: "you're welcome to spend your money there." The tray was $8, I gave her a ten and said "keep the change!" and flounced out.