Yesterday, I went with three children in tow to the Apple Store to get a replacement for my son’s iPod. Six days of ownership and he cracked the screen when it fell from his hands onto the bathroom tile floor.
I don’t know which was more stupid, giving an eight year old an iPod touch without a protective cover or just giving an eight year old an iPod? Either way, it turns out my son’s pretty much like the rest of the smart phone/smart gadget owning public out there (myself included), his life functioned just fine about a week ago without it, but as of yesterday he couldn’t live unless he had his iPod and had the tears to prove it.
So I bit.
Since my husband was at a hockey game, I loaded the crew in the car and headed to our local Apple store with the rest of America. (By the way, can anyone tell me why everyone had off on January 2nd? We can’t get Columbus Day off, but somehow the second day of January managed to make it as a holiday? Who’s in charge of this stuff?)
Anyhow, anticipating that there would be crowds I made an appointment online so we wouldn’t have to wait once we got to the store. Turns out, it didn’t matter. After a stressful search for a greeter, I was told that even though I had made an appointment it would still be a thirty to forty minute wait.
“But I made an appointment,” I protested, “and I have three kids with me.”
His answer, “It’s like being at the Doctors. Sometimes, you make an appointment, but you still have to wait. ”
When did Apple employees start equating themselves with doctors? The last time I checked, the only diagnosis being handed out at the Apple Store was dead battery, not high blood pressure though I could see how being in the store could lead to this.
If I make an appointment (at the Apple store), I expect some time to be set aside for me, or else I would have just walked in the door and asked for the first available appointment. Which as it would happen, is exactly what the woman next to me did. She was told, “Don’t worry, someone will be with you in a few moments?”
“Uh, excuse,” I said leaning over, “How come I made an appointment online and was told it would be a forty minute wait and she just walked in and you told her it would be a few moments?”
This guy, much more of a people person than my initial greeter, apologized and said it could just be a matter of two people using different terminology. So, I said, “By a few moments you meant thirty to forty minutes?”
He didn’t. Instead of trying to continue to soothe me with more meaningless words and painful explanations of job duties he looked at the iPod and informed me that my problem was pretty simple and now that he had “diagnosed” the problem (maybe they are doctors?) someone would be right with me.
They were, only to inform me that I needed a new iPod and they were out of stock. The tech told me he could order me a replacement and I would have it in a few days. First son balked and I didn’t feel like making a return trip a few days later so we left that Apple Store and drove to another one. It only got worse. At the second Apple Store I was told I could have an appointment at 5:30. It was 3:00. We went home.
Cut to today. With everyone at school, I headed back to the Apple Store, waited twenty minutes only to be told, once again, that they were out of stock. I ended up having to order it anyway. Talk about a waste of time.
So, here’s where I digress. I have to wonder, with all the hordes of people flocking to the Apple store getting in the way of my appointment time, where’s all the socially conscience people when I need them? Was I the only one who read the article in the Inquirer about the labor practices at Apple in China? It’s either that, or sadly, like me, as much as I am embarrassed to admit, no one cares about labor practices at Apple as long as we have our iPhones.
Apparently, it’s easier to care more about the Kardashian’s using cheap labor for their clothing line than Apple using cheap labor for their Apple products. You know why that is? Because no one’s making any big sacrifice by not shopping at Sears. If people want change at Apple, they would actually have to put down their iPhones to make a difference and all you have to do is look around you to see the likelihood of that happening. I guess we only care if it’s convenient.
In the case that you do have a social conscience (and therefore will take your business elsewhere, thus decreasing the line for us shallow people), apparently life in China is so poor at the factory that makes Apple products, that management has taken to hanging nets outside the perimeter of the workers’ dorms (dorms for workers is probably the first clue something’s not quite right) to prevent them from killing themselves, when they are in fact, trying to kill themselves by jumping from the buildings. These people are committing suicide to escape the stress of work.
It’s a disturbing article, not just about Apple but about outsourcing and corporate greed. It made me rethink my iPhone but didn’t stop me from purchasing more Apple products. I wish I could say I was a better person. Now, I just feel like a morally deprived techie.
I don’t know, but I’m beginning to think that Apple and Alec Baldwin have a lot in common. They both seem to do whatever they want yet people still love them. Why is that? I clearly don’t know. What I do know, is that Apple needs us just as much as we need them but clearly the balance of power lay in their hands.
Come to think of it, maybe being at the Apple Store is like being at the doctors.