Adventures in Customer Service- Apple and Spilled Crystal Light Edition


I thought of a number of different titles for this post.

One was: “No Use Crying Over Spilled Lemonaide”.

Another was “MacBook Airs and Crystal Light Do Not Mix”.

Another was “Apple, I’m Sorry for all the Nasty Things I Have Said and Thought”

Then there was “I’m an Idiot”

Eventually I settled on simply using “Adventures in Customer Service- Apple and Spilled Crystal Light Edition”.

Here’s my story.

I did not have a good morning. I woke up not feeling particularly great and immediately had a number of phone calls with people who are in the midst of challenging times. I finished my morning coffee and went to get the package that the UPS delivery person brought to the door. I came in back to my desk and – bam – My elbow knocked a huge glass of Crystal Light lemonade that was sitting there and dump it directly into… the keyboard on my 13″ MacBook air. Seriously, if I was intentionally aiming to dump the greatest amount of liquid into my Air I could not have done a better job.

I screamed (something that is not appropriate for a rated G family website) and immediately grabbed the computer. I held it upside down and tried to drain as much water from it as I could. I knew that this was, however, largely futile since there was so much water and a good deal had already made inside. I let out a few choice words and yelled for Elana.

She started helping to clean up the liquid so that I could hold the laptop upside down a bit longer. When I finally set it down strange sounds were coming from inside of it and the fan went on in a way I had never before heard. I knew I should probably shut down but my last TimeMachine backup was not all too recent. (Yes, I need to take my own advice and backup more frequently.)

The keyboard was dead. So was the trackpad. Out of curiosity I checked and discovered that the Bluetooth keyboard and mouse that I usually use with the Air when I am at home were still working. I quickly pulled some key documents from the computer and put them on a hard drive that I received for review. I was not overly concerned about the majority of my documents however since they are always in a folder from Dropbox or Evernote and are therefore backed up to the cloud. (That is the beauty of using what I like to refer to as “hybrid web apps”. They work like desktop apps on your computer but have all the advantages of cloud computing.)

I immediately called Apple and made an appointment to bring the computer in. 2 1/2 hours later I was at my local Apple store speaking to one of the technicians. Before I got there I check out how much it would cost to replace the laptop. It is the loaded 13″ MacBook Air so this promised to be a rather pricey spill. They took the laptop into the work room and opened it up to look inside. A few minutes later the technician came out and told me “There is quite a bit of water in there”.
“What are we talking?” I asked.
“It is not good. Looks like most of the internals are fried or about to be.”

He went on to say that it was clearly a minimum of a $750 repair if not much more. I had a few choice thoughts but, then again, it was my own stupidity wasn’t it?

And then he blew me away.

“We are going to cover it.”

“Huh??” I said.

“Yup, this is your first instance with something like this and you’re a good customer so we are going to just repair it for you.”

“Are you serious” I asked.

“Absolutely. Pretty much they’re going to need to replace everything including the small dent you got on the computer so it will, in most likelihood effectively be a new laptop. I don’t know if we can save the data on there but we’ll try. It’s going to take 5 to 7 days before you got the computer back. I sorry about that.”

Sorry?? Sorry? He was sorry it was going to take a week? Seriously? I could not believe what I was hearing. My day had started lousy and gotten worse but suddenly things were quite a bit brighter.

So what is the moral of this story? Well, actually there are a few.

1. Back up your entire computer FREQUENTLY. No excuses. Just do it.

2. If you must have liquids near your work area use a sealed container like a travel mug or a capped water bottle. Had I been using one none of this would have happened.

3. Don’t tell me Apple computers are over priced. Some of Dell’s top brass went after Apple earlier today and brought up the “too pricey” argument they love to use. When I had an issue with my iPhone a few months ago they replaced it. Same with my iPod. Those were not my fault so it was unsurprising that they did the swap. But today was clearly my fault yet they are going to get me up and going again. Now imagine if my “less expensive Dell” had such an issue. I can see it now,”Mr. Cohen, here is a price list so you can figure out what you are going to buy.”

Thanks Apple. I have my issues with some of your policies but your customer care is pretty darn amazing.

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.

5 Comments on "Adventures in Customer Service- Apple and Spilled Crystal Light Edition"

  1. Joel McLaughlin | March 30, 2011 at 4:15 pm |

    I would never say that about Apple computers. I LOVED LOVED LOVED my PowerBook G4 and miss it dearly. When I bought it, Firewire was rare in laptops and at the time it was the cheapest laptop with Firewire. No lie. If it was still working, I would STILL be using it today.

    I miss having Apple hardware as it is simply the best built anywhere.

  2. If my story on Apple's customer service last week wasn't enough to convince you this one from @dmcohen will be.

  3. I echo your comments regarding the customer service philosophy at Apple. While the toys may be more expensive, the toymaker supports them well (there will always be exceptions). It is somewhat funny that when I took my 2008 Macbook Pro in because of a noisy fan, the first thing the genius said was they had to check for water damage (they have a moisture sensitive strip in the case). No water inside for me. They did grouse about the nicotine buildup on the outside (from my 1 year kicked nasty habit). But they cleaned that too.

  4. RT @GearDiarySite: Adventures in Customer Service- Apple and Spilled Crystal Light Edition

  5. Adventures in Customer Service- Apple and Spilled Crystal Light …: Don't tell me Apple computers are over pric…

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