It’s been over ten years since I was first converted to the fruity side. I remember it well; after my embarrassing use of an old Compaq desktop PC my entire freshman year of college, a good friend pulled me aside and told me it was time to buy an Apple.
“Apple? the computer my dad bought in the 80s?”
“No, Apple: the brand new iBook line that will help you pursue your graphic designer dreams.”
It went something like that, anyway. I bought the steeply-priced iBook G3 and began living my new Mac life.
And then, something went wrong. The iBook line I had purchased from had an inherent flaw that only became apparent around the time the warranty ran out. It was a universal issue – I think the graphics card – and Apple had to add to the warranty and offered to fix it for free within the time frame.
Except the damage kept coming back (blank screen) and the laptop was essentially fucked. The customer service channel wasn’t very sympathetic and it was a pain to keep sending in the broken computer. I scoured internet forums to figure out ways to get around it, or find out how others were dealing with it, but everyone was complaining into a cyber black hole. These were the years before social media, my friends. The years before companies had no choice but to pay attention. Incidentally, also the years before Steve Jobs became a tech celebrity. (Yes, I’m a bit old).
By 2004 it was so bad I was operating in a tech-ghetto, and I finally broke down and gave up in 2005.
Why did it take me so long? Why am I still angry about it?
- I’m that freakin loyal of a customer. It’s not even funny how loyal of a customer I am. I have bought more expensive flights because I felt loyal to one particular airline (it’s El Al, whatever, don’t judge until you travel with kids). I have bought four consecutive Canon cameras because that’s just how I feel about the company. I’m a marketing professional, I like to help people, and I talk about things I love. A lot. So don’t cross me, brand.
- I expected more from Apple. Back then, Apple was making a comeback. And it was going for artsy designer types and students. And I was both. I thought I’d be taken care of – you invest me, I’ll invest you.
- Apple messed up. Why did I have to pay? Not literally; I bought a flawed product before they knew it was flawed. They were trying to make that better by extending the warranty a little and sending me boxes to ship it back and forth. But that’s not the kind of product experience I signed up for. Wouldn’t a supplemental voucher for a better model have done more?
- I don’t care for the snobbishness. As Apple rode the success of its iPod genius, one couldn’t help but notice – especially if you didn’t care much for iPod genius – the marketing voice of the company. Apple seemed to want to attract the people I hated. And I hated everybody, to be sure, but yuppie, hipstery, elitist, well, Apple fanboys, were not who I identified with. Ok, so everyone in my world owns an iPod or Mac or iPhone, but whatever.
Disclaimer: I do own an iPad that was a gift. And a gifted iPod Shuffle that I broke down and chose this year since I recognized it’s truly the most convenient for what I needed.
Yes, Apple, you are a creative marketing and product genius. There. Happy? I never thought otherwise, but it’s time to let go of the anger. Maybe your customer service has improved. Maybe all the people with MacBooks at cafes wanted them because they are high quality computers and not because they are cool factor.
Maybe Apple fanboys and girls have independent brainpower and the hivemind is all my own crazy skepticism.
My next phone will still be an Android though. And my next laptop… we’ll see. I’m currently taking recommendations.