Exclusive: Confessions From The Most Corrupt Apple Store In America

"The saying goes: Don't f**k with the person that serves your food," a former Apple Genius tells me over IM. "Don't f**k with the person who repairs your computer." He — we'll call him Ronald — spent six years as a member of Apple's Genius squad. It was a model store: shiny as the best of them, teeming, making money. But in back rooms and in plain sight, the employees ran wild: giving away computers, stealing phones, drunkenly destroying customer property. Ronald saw (and did) it all.

You might think twice before your next visit to the bar.

Ronald is a skittish sort of guy, prone to hours of dishing about Apple over the phone and IM with obvious contempt, before vanishing into the thin trenches of the online netherworld. At one point we went almost an entire year without speaking, before he re-emerged to link me up with another Genius we'll call Jake: a sturdy nine-to-five type whose aversion to taking part in this story stemmed only with his busy schedule.

Ronald, on the other hand, was terrified of Apple. Terrified of what the white and aluminium demigod would do to him, and what it'd do his friends if the mothership ever found out about what they did. It was bad, and it wasn't just a bunch of young punks working the system; the corruption rained down from above and pooled deep at the bottom.

Jake and Ronald both spoke with smiles and contempt about their former boss of bosses, a regional manager from Apple corporate who they allege ran the store like it was her own personal playground. Jake says the rest of the gang wasn't much better. "It bends my brain to know that, statistically speaking, it's harder to get a job at the Apple Store than it is to get into some Ivy League schools," he says. "Yet somehow they're staffed by some of the most inept people this side of mastering the ability to speak."

These were the people at the front lines of Apple's retail empire. Add a hiring boom of young (possibly inept) guns, inject them with the ego-inflaming title of Genius, add liquor, and boom: risky business. But they were a team. And together they report perpetrating and putting up with some serious retail war crimes — stuff that'd make Tim Cook's fleece jacket unravel.

Trading computers for plastic surgery...

Both Ronald and Jake describe their regional manager as an insufferable tyrant. But everyone has a jerk boss, right? Probably not one who gives away merchandise in exchange for a weight loss operation: with little attempt to cover up her deal from the rest of the staff (who feared imminent termination), Ronald and Jake say the store's Apple corporate regional manager arranged the sale of heavily discounted computers to a local plastic surgeon in exchange for a stomach-stapling procedure.

...and plenty of other stuff

Jake reports:

She was notorious for pulling favours for businesses in the community who didn't want to play by Apple's rules. Lending computers out for over a month without any payment by manipulating inventory, issuing customer service exceptions for times when she would damage her products, and offering excessive discounts to receive additional favours outside of the workplace. She made quid pro quo an art.

Stealing bonuses

Sometimes it was quid pro quo, and sometimes it was just eminent domain. The store staff's bonuses were reportedly slashed (or eliminated entirely) so that managers could reap big chunks of cash.

6:13:03 PM Ronald: you would not believe the managers bonuses 6:13:06 PM sambiddle: really? 6:13:09 PM Ronald: they took all of ours away 6:13:19 PM Ronald: one day she is driving a shitty saturn 6:13:26 PM Ronald: next it's a brand new BMW 6:13:36 PM Ronald: and they don't do shit 6:13:39 PM Ronald: it's amazing

This didn't last. Jake tells me the Sales Queen's retail despotism turned on her, and she was eventually fired — reportedly for "unfair hiring practices", "playing favourites" and "questionable activities surrounding use of store services". In other words, being crooked.

Unlimited iPhones

But the manager wasn't the only one allegedly gaming the system. Ronald admits that he — apparantly along with almost everyone else on the Genius staff — wildly and shamelessly exploited the store's lax and easily defrauded return and exchange policies for a virtually unlimited supply of Apple hardware. Want a free phone? Create a fake transaction.

5:59:30 PM Ronald: I think for a while, none of us had a not up to date anything 5:59:36 PM Ronald: but it was worked through different ways 5:59:48 PM Ronald: no one "walked" out with anything 5:59:56 PM Ronald: we def abused our employee discounts 6:00:41 PM sambiddle: if you broke your phone 6:00:44 PM sambiddle: how did you just get a new one? 6:00:56 PM Ronald: created a case and replaced it 6:01:01 PM Ronald: just like a customer 6:01:25 PM Ronald: we did all the paper work, and replaced it out of service stock 6:01:31 PM Ronald: genius has a service stock 6:01:36 PM sambiddle: and nobody ever became suspicious? 6:01:38 PM Ronald: then there is retail stock 6:01:43 PM Ronald: nope 6:01:51 PM Ronald: we were the gatekeepers kind of 6:02:05 PM sambiddle: is there any kind of corporate oversight of stock? 6:02:08 PM Ronald: apple never had it in place to check up on shit like this 6:02:10 PM Ronald: they do now though 6:02:37 PM Ronald: I think it's more regional about oversight 6:03:03 PM Ronald: like I said. a manager would pull a phone to make someone happy and make the inventory guy "fix' the numbers

Destroying Unlimited iPhones

But the Genius crew wasn't just yanking all these phones so they could make calls with both ears. They took them just so they could break them.

Ronald used this inventory loophole — which he and Jake both say is harder to exploit these days — to go through countless iPhones for the sheer absurdity of it. At parties with other Apple employees, they'd all get tanked, pull out their phones, and spike them to the ground, laughing as the Gorilla Glass and circuits sprayed. Sounds more entertaining than flip cup at least — and to Jake and the rest, it was a sort of game. How many phones could they squeeze out of oblivious, infinitely stocked Apple? In the early days of the phone, the only limit seemed to be the audacity of the Geniuses. They even traded gear for free drinks.

Free Computers for Cheap Booze

Of course, they were drunk. It was a stressful job. And how else could you get in the mood to ruin tens of thousands of dollars of iPhones for sport if not inebriated? Luckily, the Geniuses had a quick way to score drinks on Apple's dime:

5:32:43 PM Ronald: we had certain bars that hooked us up 5:32:58 PM Ronald: I think the store before ours gave this bar down the street a mac mini to serve music 5:33:08 PM Ronald: we always got super cheap tabs 5:33:19 PM sambiddle: because you'd give them hardware? 5:33:55 PM Jake: among other reasons

Among other reasons.

Forget the bar: a boozy workplace was the norm. "It's not uncommon for the Genius team to be drunk," Jake alleged. Liquid impunity. If they didn't like you, they could ruin your computer, blame it on an act of God, and point you to the fine print you signed off on and certainly didn't read. Calling customer support to complain probably wouldn't get much done.

4:29:52 PM Ronald: oh, and the [24 hour] apple call center 4:30:00 PM Ronald: they drink whiskey and do coke all night 4:30:09 PM sambiddle: where's that? 4:30:12 PM Ronald: [Redacted nearby city]

Getting Busted

Scamming Apple wasn't always a straight path to free shots and making it rain iPhones — sometimes, the bad Geniuses were caught in the act. Jake could recount four separate instances of outright employee theft at the store, ranging from manipulating inventory lists to faking transactions to straight-up theft.

  • One guy allegedly pretended to ring up transactions and then would cancel them out after "swiping" a card. This worked for a long time until someone finally noticed that they never gave their "customers" — who were in on the scam — receipts. He reportedly swiped iPhones, computers, accessories, iPods, everything, but was eventually caught by management and forced to pay for what he'd taken (more than $US20,000) to avoid criminal charges.
  • Another was allegedly stealing cash from the store's safe during nightly counts, which went on for several weeks, but was discovered by a manager who had to open the store the next morning and promptly fired.
  • One Genius had a rather elaborate con going. He was alleged to be taking service inventory with fake customers. His friends would come in to the store and have their devices replaced with an incorrect product (Say, an original iPhone swapped for a 3G, gratis). The new product was put into the customer's hand and the employee would put the defective product back into available inventory. This went on for more than a year before they were finally caught and canned, but up until then he was actually running an online business based on this scam.
  • One idiot was simply giving product to friends for free, ended up getting caught and was chased out of the store by a manager. That was the end of him.

The War on Customers

What about the people who actually came to the store to buy things and get help? People like us? Ronald and his pals also enjoyed destruction as a form of payback. Ever been a jerk to an Apple Genius? Bad idea. Ever seen someone approach the bar with a noxious attitude and a litany of dumb questions? They probably got what they deserved. The Geniuses always get theirs. How? By pouring whiskey into a customer's Mac. Or by mocking them enough to erect a shrine in the back room to whiny, dumb customers:

Or this:

6:07:35 PM] Ronald: ive used someone elses hard drive as a skateboard cause he told the store I smelled 6:08:05 PM Ronald: or we just erase people's hard drives that are assholes 6:08:12 PM sambiddle: wouldn't they complain? 6:08:31 PM Ronald: they signed a form that legally made us not responsible for data 6:08:59 PM sambiddle: what happened when they came in and complained? 6:09:06 PM Ronald: show them what they signed 6:09:29 PM Ronald: we tell them multiple times that this could happen

Outed as Gay by Apple Management

Apple employees could be heartless to their customers, sure. But Jake ran into a completely other strand of disrespect at Apple — bastion of progressiveness and tolerance — when his manager reportedly gossiped to everyone he worked with that he was gay. Jake is gay. But when he started at the Apple store, he wasn't comfortable sharing this with everyone.

The question, which arrantly violates US labour law, was posed to Jake when he started working: "At one point, one of the managers asked me flat out if I was [gay]," Jake recalls, "but I said no and walked away. A few weeks after, I was asked the same question again. This time I said, 'Yes, is that a problem?'" Jake asked the manager to keep the disclosure between the two of them, but that didn't happen. "Several days go by," Jake remembers, "I'm standing near the Genius Bar, and one of the other concierges walks up to me and says, 'So I heard what [redacted] said about you...' I was bewildered." The entire store knew. The manager had outed Jake to the whole outfit, to anyone "who would spare him five minutes of their time".

None of this — the theft, the drinking, the blatant illegal questioning about sexual orientation by an employer — could be sustainable. It wasn't. Soon they all hit quit.

The End

Neither Ronald nor Jake work at the Apple Store anymore. Most of their former coworkers were canned, fled to other jobs or moved up within Apple. Jake took off, while Ronald had a less glamorous end, fighting his termination as wrongful — to no avail. In his official statemnet to the company, he said "I have been with Apple for almost six years total, and would like to continue to do so." But talking to him now, you don't get a sense of much fondness. A little nostagia now and then: "I took a lot of Apple employees to the strip club, my girlfriend didn't know — actually, the Apple Store employees helped me cheat on my girlfriend a lot," but not much genuine joy. Except when he remembers that stomach-stapling regional manager. "I love that she got f**king fired. That bitch." Ronald remains, to my knowledge, unemployed.


Comments

    Another reason Apple annoys me greatly. The stores always give me a bad vibe, there's just something really unsettling about them.

      Yeah, I've been into a couple, here and in Asia, and there is a certain smugness about it all that makes me want to lash out. The dismissive attitude I got when asking if the iPad I was looking at was the one with the new Retina Display or an iPad 2 was enough that I'd have walked straight out of the store and up to JB if I had been a serious customer.

        I worked for a while as a specialist (floor guy) and most of us are genuinely helpful and non-spiteful/smug. Of course you get more than your share of apple fanatics (they have the luxury of cherry picking candidates) but I've never heard or experienced this genius staff, so it's not an institutional problem.

        But asking if the iPad you're checking out is the retina or not is a stupid question that should rightly be scoffed. It's night and day. iPad 2 has pixels the size of postage stamps, new one's are almost undiscernable.

          "But asking if the iPad you’re checking out is the retina or not is a stupid question..." You are what is wrong with the retail industry. You are their to help customers, not treat them like shit when they ask you for assistance. Just because you think its easy to figure out what iPad model it is, doesn't mean everyone else will.

            I agree absolutely with dv.

            Also love how the knob who stank got angry with the customer who mentioned to managementhatbhe stunk! It's not like anybody would want to have that conversation with management. You must have been one stinky dude! Take a shower and put on deoderant before heading out. Doesn't surprise me though, his attitude seems stinky too.

            Totally agree with DV here. Retailers wonder why sales are dwindling and its due to self righteous idiots like you that people take to the internet now to do their shopping. You have yourself to blame when you get fired for doing a shit job and laughing at customers who do not know about the product that you should know about!

            Agreed. Companies need to be careful when hiring retail staff with crappy attitudes, it can really turn people off of their stores.

          Apple stores are certainly creepy, and the fanboy devotion to the devices borders on cult-like. Every time i make the mistake of walking into an Apple store I always get an eerie feeling .

          Oh, and Steve? Its that type of attitude to "nubes" that makes Apple employees -- or who i prefer to blanket call "definitely never-been-laids" -- reviled and hated. Newsflash: you work in retail.

          When I worked in retail a few years ago, if someone asked me if their new LCD TV would come with a remote control, I would get the remote out and show them. I would then give them a quick rundown of where all the important buttons are. Why? Because they didn't expect an LCD TV to come with one. They obviously don't have a great deal of knowledge of the product. I wouldn't scoff at them, I would HELP them.

          "I worked for a while as a specialist and most of us are genuinely helpful and non-spiteful/smug.
          But asking if the iPad you’re checking out is the retina or not is a stupid question that should rightly be scoffed."

          So, I take it youre not one of the genuinely helpful sales types you mentioned? Because reading your post youre coming across as an arsehole.

          A stupid question?
          Why don't see that as an opportunity to educate the customer and show off the beauty of the retina display, make them go "wow" and hopefully make a sale.

          You call yourself a specialist floor guy? What do you actually specialise in? Scoffing?

            I am a specialist at an Australian Apple store and I do exactly that, If a customer asks me which iPad is which, I simply point them out and then inform the customer of the different features and costs..

          @Steve
          That's an absolutely disgusting way of speaking to a customer. The Apple reseller I work for has both on display and I have been asked the differences between them several, I explain the screen, weight, processor, battery life and slight difference in depth. Regardless of how tiring it might be to explain it every time, it is part of your job. It's sad that Apple tend to provide more stock and better retail support to these ungrateful "customer service" representatives. Certainly makes my job philosophically harder recommending them.

          "I'm not an asshole, but..."
          Immediately says asshole thing.

            Waitwaitwait. Username Steve. Like... scumbag steve?
            Subtletroll?

          Apple is known for the fact its products are easy to use for completely computer un-savvy people. Therefore, no question should be considered a stupid question by an Apple employee, and even if you do think it's stupid, you should DEFINITELY not be scoffing at the customer.

            Easy to use? Bullshit.

            It took me a good 6 - 7 months to really get the hang of my iPad beyond basic internet surfing. I hate the way app descriptions are so short and pretty much tell you nothing solid about what the app does, then once you download an app you face a bunch of mystery meat icons for the controls and menus. It's taken me ages to work out how to do stuff in the settings and I find Siri and the other note/reminder/calendar/what have you features difficult to use properly.

            Yeah I'm old(er) at age 47, and I'm a lifetime windows/PC user...

      the castle hill apple store is nice to me...

    Don't really get why they are called "genius" to begin with. Most of the employees I've met in the Apple stores are stupid and technologically inept.

      Indeed, it always struck me along the lines of Queensland dubbing itself 'The Smart State'. A big 'HURR DURR' right there guys... (yes I live in Qld btw... ;) )

        I would never have thought of it as that when Joh Bjelke Peterson said when in power that education was not necessary, lol.

    While I'm not ready to say bullshit. I find it amazing that the employees caught were not charged by the police?

    I have managed several businesses. Only had one employee do anything like that (stealing) but I informed the police about it straight away.

    A company like apple who seem to chase anyone for patents (rightly or wrongly) doesn't seem to me to be a company that would let a criminal escape.

      You have to look at it as a small part of a big nosiness. I imagine that store and regional managers would be worried about how such systemic misbehaviour might reflect upon their management and I can easily imagine them keeping it quiet.

      Face saving is why nothing was made of it. Apple get enough press as it is (both good and bad). The last thing they'd want is for this info to get out so they just dismiss and hope it goes away.

        Seems like a fair point. The supposed theft of $20k in products and the stealing from the safe still seems a far fetch to me (as in terms of them letting it go). But I suppose I'm only looking at it from the point of view of "As a manager/Area Manager I haw conducted myself correctly, and am not worried about external oversight looking at my actions" vs being curropt as is alleged in this article.

        I say this writing on my iPhone. While I'm sceptical of any information like this (from people in forums/IM etc) who dissapear and reappear without much way to verify their story. I mean it is the Internet after all, home of so many made up, poorly written, poorly investegated stories (hello News Ltd). I actually find myself more leaning on believing this article. Some might be the normal esageration of story telling. But I wouldn't be surprised if other well known businesses had/have simmilar issues.

        Sheeple out (sorry couldn't resist myself)

          10 points from Gryffindor for use of Sheeple.

            Do you say that for anyone who says "Sheeple"?

              From today onwards, you will fall out of the editor's favour for using the term sheeple.

                To be honest I said it for the 10 points. I would say almost a shameless Sheeple act.

                Excellent. Cackling coming forthwith.

                I support this whole heartedly!

          Actually, this happens in all big retail chains, it's so easy for people to do it and then just pretend to be incompetent so all that happens is they are fired.

          I believe it. You wouldn't BELIEVE the illegal shit I saw happening in Telstra call centres that will probably never see the light of day out of fear of reprisal.

      The difference, Nitrobuggies, is that they can get a billion dollars out of chasing people re: patents. A few broken or stolen iPhones or Macbooks is going to make a negligible impact on their income.

    Oh boy i can't wait for the fan boys to run and flock here and disprove it or stand up for the all mighty apple.

      I can't wait either. Grow up, this is indefensible but so is fanboyism.

    The thing that really amazes me is just how many people actually buy iproducts.
    I've always known it was a large number, lets say somewhere around 50% market share or whatever, but it never really sunk in until I walked past the Doncaster apple store.
    It was 4pm on a Sunday, so an hour before closing time. As with most stores at that time I expected the crowds to be dwindling, in fact the car park was quite empty by then.
    And yet the apple store had about 50 people in there and about 20 staff... where they hell have all these people come from, and what are they doing there? It baffles me to this day and I just can't get my head around it.

      People go to Apple store to take advantage of the free internet. If you are in need of fast internet speeds to do some facebook or check email, then go straight to your apple store but never forget to log out! So many times I've opened up Safari on one of their demo iPad displays and it would show their email inbox with all their details.

        The Apple Store near my work has an open wifi connection, so no need to even enter the store, just sit in the nearby food court on your phone/ipad/laptop

      I actually find the Doncaster store when I've been there to be less crowded and a lot more pleasant than the Chadstone one. Spent over an hour trying to flag someone down there once so I could pick up a machine I'd had in for repair. If I had been there actually trying to buy something I'd have walked out in a heartbeat.

      Because it combines buying a piece of technology with a PLACE in the real world that makes that technology, thats what people want. No, not you, that uses the internet and LIKES technology, other people, most people. Most of my family bought a mac or ipad purely because they knew if they needed to ask someone about it, there was a store at the mall they could go to and ask about it. Which is freaking great because it means I dont get asked! :D

    I doubt this is just a Apple thing, one scam variation to another has happened to every retailer and manufacturer at some point.

      It happens all over the world, but the thing here is that these guys were (supposedly) doing this while working in Apple retail, so that's what this story is about- not generalised corruption.

    I give this article 24 hours before Apples goons have it taken down....

    Yeah, it can be hard to get good staff and every now and then you end up with a 'Ronald' working for you. In a small business, Ronald wouldn't last long. He was lucky to be in a large company with a questionable manager. Not sure why he delights in the situation so much, as it's his character which is shown to be flawed more than his employer.

      "it’s his character which is shown to be flawed more than his employer"

      +1

      Yeah, exactly. This article doesn't make me think less of Apple, I'm aware all retailers end up with asshole employees from time to time and it sounds like Apple have fixed their internal processes to deal with theft and stuff which is good for them. This article mostly makes me think "this Ronald guy is a capital-D Douchebag and I'm glad he's now unemployed". Steals, sabotages people's stuff for fun, smashes thousands of dollars worth of stuff for kicks, cheats on his girlfriend, and then complains about his manager also being dishonest. What a schmuck.

    This reminds me a bit of that British sitcom "phone shop", but worse. It'd made a funny movie :)

    I'm not the biggest Apple fan, but I don't think this is isolated to Apple. Its all down to the people they are hiring.

    Still an interesting read!

    sounds like nearly every place i've worked in.

    This is why IT needs to become a profession with a code of ethics and conduct, and regular re-registration. So many things in our live depend on the expertise of an "IT professional". Why not then make it an actual profession, with all the requirements that entails?
    Not everyone will become a Professional, but then again some people are happy to get a massage from a guy in a white coat at the shopping centre, instead of going to see a doctor.

      Because getting your computer fixed isn't really as important as proper health advice, writing in your house, safe plumbing or keeping a plane in the air.

        I didn't mean Apple Bar Geniuses should be certified professionals. I meant professional registration should exist for IT so that there is a distinction in the level and quality of work provided. Using Apple Geniuses as an example, if I did take my computer for repair to an Apple Genius who *was* an officially accredited IT Professional, I would expect a certain level of ethical application and expertise versus someone who wasn't.

          There ARE professional organisation/certification for IT workers, in fact Australia has one through the ACS.

          Also, as someone who runs a large sized IT group for a pretty big Australian bank (and also who has done software development for almost 20 years prior to that), I am EXTREMELY OFFENDED that anyone would mention "IT Professional" in the context of some jackasses who work retail at an Apple store.

            It was an example. Substitute "Apple store/Genius Bar" for whatever doesn't give you a conniption and settle down.
            The difference between registering yourself with the ACS, and being say, a doctor, lawyer, architect or engineer is that having your ACS membership revoked or failing to keep it renewed doesn't have an impact on your ability to carry out IT services.

          Backwards boobies - There are plenty of IT professionals. What you're referring to is the 'SuperGeeks' that THINK because they can install a graphics card or CPU, they're automatically an IT pro. The dilution of the true IT professional by these hacks is the reason the industry is so rampant now. Thank SuperGeek, not the true IT pros.

        I think it will eventually be as important as plumbing and electricity etc. so yes there should be a code of ethics and some sort of professional body.

        At the end of the day you'll have a choice of whether or not to go with the professionals or the dodgy kid down the road but the options will be a lot more clear cut and the risks a bit easier to identify

    I go to Apple Stores and leave all the screens on with the Runescape client running. I iz totes badass

    i must say that more than anything i found that article hard to read because it was poorly written in places
    interesting though

    good on this man I like this man allready :D, I wanna send him back into apple to destroy them from the inside! >:D

    That's Genius

    This is what happens when retailers continue to pay low low wages. The people who are any good quickly get transferred up and away. Retail is the new factory floor along with call centres.

    I work retail on commission for a local, family-owned business (not Apple). I used to work commission sales for a major retail chain (not Apple). What a difference! I now make a liveable wage, rather than minimum wage. I am also rewarded and acknowledged for hard work with genuine rewards (rather than a carrot on a stick).

    It's true that online shopping--rather than other brick-and-mortars-- is our greatest nemesis. The strategy at our store is to offer price matching with online competitors, as well as striving to offer customer service that more than makes up for the price difference. Listening to the customer, educating them on the products, helping them find one that really suits them best, and being there for them if they have any issues with their service... Plus, they're keeping their money in their own local economy that way. When you shop local, you sow into your own community.

    With online businesses booming, retail's only hope is to offer exceptional customer service. That is the marked difference that must be stood by. It boils down to the human interaction. The smart retail businesses will recognize this and pay their retail employees a better wage and train them better, acknowledging that they are the first line of "defense." They are the face of the company, and they are the reason people will be drawn to or driven away from their business.

    Makes me think of the reputation of HiFi stores during the '80s. They used to talk down to potential customers and I remember a "Not the Nine o'clock News" sketch of a hifi store's treatment of a couple who enter and ask about buying a gramophone

    I worked for Apple in the genius room and the bar repairing iOS and some mac devices, In two different stores over almost 2 years. My experience was the complete opposite to whats detailed here.
    Nothing was more well respected than the customers property. We would all have a heart attack in the uncommon occasion were we almost drop a customers device.
    I guess all stores are different but the two I worked at were great work environments (apart from some dirty inappropriate jokes, mainly from me. I assume some people didn't like it).
    The only time i talked ill of a customer was when i handled their water damaged phone for 10 minutes only then to be told that they dropped it in a toilet.... pre flush? post flush? i'll never know

    That's amazing.
    I thought I must have been one of the only people on the planet to have had a bad experience. I recall November 24, 2012 - a Saturday - at the Chadstone store in Melbourne, Australia. I had my 17" MacBook Pro booked in for major repairs. All the staff were wearing green Apple t-shirts. I thought it odd and only learned later that being one month before Christmas Eve, Apple was having a special Christmas promotion that day. As usual there were more staff than customers. The glass outer cover on my monitor was cracked with around four fissures running from the top left corner to near the middle. It was cosmetic damage after a drop and needed replacing but the LCD component was fine. I'd been using it in this state for over a year without a glitch but thought it best to have it fixed because I was becoming a laughing stock among clients and colleagues.
    Belinda checked my Macbook in at the Genius Bar and did all the diagnostics fine whilst using the inbuilt 17" screen. I said goodbye to my MacBook Pro at around 10.30am that morning.
    I then had a call from Gareth, the working technician, indicating that more was wrong with the hardware (cracked internal mounts etc) and the machine would be cheaper to replace than repair. I agreed. Gareth agreed to put my MacBook Pro back together and would I come into the store, retrieve it and purchase a new MacBook Pro.
    At 4.30pm that afternoon I entered the store, announced my arrival to staff and was then greeted by Paul, a tall guy who it turns out was a manager. He had someone fetch my MacBook Pro from behind the closed doors.
    When I was presented with the device and opened it at a desk to re-acquaint myself with it there was this great big new damage right in the middle of the screen that now impacted the LCD component and created that look of oozing grey/rainbow colours radiating out. It was obvious someone had used a finger or something like a screwdriver and pushed right into the middle of the screen. The screen did not work now, it flickered strange colours. I exclaimed "Woh, woh, woh! What's happened here?" Paul uttered words to the effect that "the screen must have been unstable when you left the unit with us" and "we did not do that.". I was loathe to make a scene in the store but the gathering group of staff certainly knew I was displeased.
    What precipitated afterwards was around two months trying to get answers, compensation and an apology, none of which were forthcoming. I was handballed to around five different senior customer relations people, ending up speaking to someone in Singapore who offered me a $25 voucher with a one month expiry. I'd priced a replacement 17" monitor. It was around AUD$900.
    During one conversation with a staffer, where I explained I now had to use the device with an external monitor, he insinuated that I must have purchased the external monitor prior to the disastrous store visit to use with an already broken device and therefore I was trying to make a false claim simply to cover the cost of my own mishap. That conversation then ended with him scoffing and refusing to take me serious.
    In all, with writing letters, speaking on the phone and documenting all the interactions, it cost me around 36 hours, a working week. That was not the full extent of the extra costs and wasted time.
    The new MacBook I had to purchase was incompatible with critical business software I used to run my business so I was forced to hurriedly and unexpectedly alter my business operations and job management along with the inconvenience of having to use an external monitor on the original device rendering it a desktop machine, not a portable laptop.
    I should not have let it affect me so much but it did create a massive imposte on my business bottom line and my physical and mental health. Being a small business operator I rely on systems that work and efficient paths to remedy and upgrade. Every hour is dollars I'm not making. Even to this day, I'm finding jobs that were not able to be invoiced properly from that time and thousands of dollars that I'll now never be able to recoup from clients.
    I've been a devotee of Apple products since 1983, at the age of 12 when I first used a green screen Classic. I embraced the whole 'Think different' philosophy. The whole incident has left me totally repulsed by what goes on at Apple, behind the shiny, groovy-geek facade. To have spent years purchasing thousands of dollars of products for business and pleasure, and then to be treated that way...harumph

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