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August 29, 2010

The Apple Store - Hell On Earth - Part I

You just can't know what the Apple store is like. I mean, I hate Apple. I loathe them with a kind of irrational, fomenting, vitriolic hatred that's difficult to put into words. If there were a Nobel prize for hatred, they'd give it to me when I told them how I felt about Apple.

And I hate the people that use these computers. The great unwashed pools of morons and circus pinheads that try to use them, as proficient as bears on bicycles they are.

But Jen and I went into an Apple store anyway because someone gave her a miserable iPod and six months into its life the thing is as useless as tits on a bull. We schedule an appointment online and then drive 40 miles to visit these nimrods in their lair at the Park Meadows Mall. Anyone that thinks there's a recession should see this mall parking lot. An urban nightmare, packed full of cars.

We wander around the mall aimlessly until we finally locate the Apple Store at the complete other end of the mall and we walk in. The place is set up like you might expect. All uber-sleek Apple-designed headache. Tables full of computers. Scads of geeks milling about with extremely gay blue-tooth hearing aids or cell phones or radios. I can't be sure.

Packed with people. Everyone talking at once. People standing in line a million deep to buy those stupid iPhones and iPads and iPods and you just can't know. You can't know how many people were in there all talking at once and we mill around until we find some woman that we're directed to and she tells us "Oh. I'm sorry. You missed your appointment."

Our appointment was at 2:20 p.m. MDT. It is 2:28 p.m. MDT when she tells us we've missed our appointment. We've wandered around the store for at least 5 minutes trying to find out where to go. We have driven 40 miles to this hell hole and wandered through the mall and then through the store to find this wench. I thought we'd get a medal. Instead, I'm told that the appointments are only 10 minutes long, and if you're not there within 11 seconds of your appointment, then it's canceled and nothing can be done.

Now, I don't know if I've told you already that I hate Apple, but I do. And this sends me into that raging fury where I want to go to Gander Mountain and buy a machine gun and come back and make the news. This stuff makes me go ballistic.

Every single person that we talked to in that store apologized to us like this...they said "I'm sorry that you missed your appointment." Like we're cavemen too dense to comprehend the rigors of an urban setting.

I explained to them repeatedly that we drove 40 miles to find the place and that we didn't miss our appointment. We were in the store within 2 minutes of our appointment and only a bunch of anal retentive lunatics would consider that "missing an appointment".

If you show up 8 minutes late for a dinner reservation, they normally haven't given away your table. But if they have, then they put you on the top of the list. But not the idiots at Apple. If you're 12 seconds late, then you don't exist.

Eventually, after about 27 people told us how sorry they were that we'd "missed our appointment", I decide that I'll smash the iPod to bits with a ball-peen hammer in front of God and everyone - the circus freak employees and the retarded customers alike - and announce loudly to the crowd that Apple's mindless products shouldn't be used by anyone clever enough to tie their own shoelaces.

But it's so loud that I doubt my voice could rise above the drone of all the morons there purchasing great stacks of electronics.

Instead, she gets a manager and they say they'll see what they can do and so we sit down at a table covered with those useless Apple computers and I promptly close mine because I promised that I swore on my ex-girlfriend's grave that I'd never touch an Apple computer again so long as I live and I've kept my promise so far. No reason to go back on a promise just because I'm bored.

So Jennifer and I sit there in this beehive nightmare of people too stupid to use a real computer being sold contracts with AT&T. Cell phone service so bad that they lied about the number of bars available on the phone. Phones so bad that engineers were fired over their performance.

I squeeze my eyes and try to go to a happy place. So long as they replace her ipod then this segue into the fiery pits of Apple hell will have been worth it, by some stretch of the imagination.

The store is staffed with circus freaks. Dwarfs and deformed oddities prance around the store like newborn fawns. I'm squeezing my eyes shut and praying for a sudden death.

Eventually, one of the geeks comes up and begins to fiddle with her iPod.

He keeps trying to deal with me. Jennifer is 12. It is her iPod. It's up to her. Not me. My solution involves a ball-peen hammer and a book of matches. So, he needs to be dealing with her. Not me.

But every single question is addressed to me. I'm leaning over a close Apple computer, foaming at the mouth. Chanting. Meditating. Praying for death.

For every question he asks, he completely ignores her, and directs at me, even though she's standing right next to him and explaining what's wrong with it. Communicating with him like a normal human. He ignores her completely.

I'm rocking back and forth in my own feces and he keeps asking me questions. He played with her iPod long enough to see for himself that it was, in fact, completely and royally screwed.

So he tells us that they'll replace it, but they don't have one in stock, and they can only replace it with the exact same one (they won't trade in her pink one for a purple one - like that's crazy, right? Are you insane?) And they'll order one and - get this - this is the best part - we have to come back and pick it up.

I'm like "Are you freaking kidding me? You can't mail it to us?"

"I'm afraid we can't," he lamented.

I'm like "You don't get mail service at the mall? I had no idea!"

But he couldn't be swayed and Jennifer said she'd come back with mom to pick it up and we fled that store like the wind.

Eventually, I went to drop Jennifer off and we saw where there'd be a horrific car crash on Morrison Road under C-470. We're watching them cut her out of the car with the jaws of life and they're spraying down her car to keep it from bursting into flames and I want to walk up to her and tell her how lucky she is not be 8 minutes late for an appointment with a broken iPhone in the Apple store, but she doesn't seem to be overly happy with her current predicament. That much is clear.

Evenutally, I made my way out to the airport. I thought my flight left at 9:30 p.m., but it actually left at 8:30 p.m. And the lines at the metal detectors were just unbelievable. Just a complete nightmare. A total breakdown - the kind that can only be traced back to government bureaucracy. So I'm standing there in line. It's 9:00 p.m. My flight left at 8:28 p.m. No real point in it, but I'm going out to the gate if they'll let me.

There's no point in going to the counter, because they won't let you go to the gate. Their goal is not to help you. Their goal is to keep you from getting on your flight. It's their primary purpose. So, you bypass them. I had a boarding pass I'd printed at the house. The only chance was to go out there, hope the flight was delayed, and try to get on the flight.

So, I go out there and get to Terminal B and, lo-and-behold, the flight is late. By 45 minutes. It's now departing at 9:15 p.m. And it's 9:11 p.m. So I have 4 minutes to get out to gate B-83. Now, if you're going to any terminal above B81, you've got a LONG way to go. You'll use at least 3 moving sidewalks, and there could be twice as many and you'd still have a long walk.

So, I hustle out there as fast as I can I get to the gate and the door is still open and I had the lady by boarding pass and she says "Oh no. This flight is closed. You missed it."

Now, this is how they work. They overbook the flights. Then they close the flights 15 minutes before it leaves, cancel all boarding passes, and let whoever is standing there get on the flight. It sucks, but that's how it works. And I know this. I'm late. And she's not in a mood to discuss the matter further.

Now, I'm really screwed because, these days, they're saying "your ticket is no longer valid and even if we did reticket you there' be a fee of like eleven million dollars" and I'm hosed in a big way and I know this. I'm not stupid.

"OK. Where do I go?"

"Sir. I told you the flight is closed!" she's repeating herself.

"I heard you. I asked where I'm supposed to go." LIke, the fact that you've screwed me out of my seat doesn't change the fact that I need to get to Madison.

Finally she hears me and steers me to the United service desk right behind me and I walk up to it and the woman beside me walks up to it and she says "I volunteered to be bumped from this flight and they sent me here."

So I step up to the ghastly United Airlines ticket troll beside her and I say "I volunteered to be bumped from the flight also."

And they hand me $400 in travel vouchers, a free hotel stay, a meal voucher, and put in on the first flight out in the morning in First Class. And things are looking up.

Update: Apparently I'm not the only one who believes that The Apple Store is Hell on Earth.

The Apple Store - Hell On Earth - Part II

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 29, 2010 at 6:30 PM


Rob, I can't believe that you didn't go on a rampage in that store! You must love Jennifer very much! I know that I can barely manage the stress of coming up against corporate denseness and complete lack of consideration for the individuals who use their product, but you? Wow! And smoothe move at the airlines. When we were last flying out to see you and had Hayden with us, they closed the door when they saw us coming and it was 15 min prior to departure and we were coming from another one of their own late planes in the first place but NOOOOOO we couldn't get on the flight! I had to go sit on a bench and have a good cry because I was so frustrated with the fact that they were standing right there and could have let us on but chose not to. I am very impressed with your coping skills and ingenuity. So are they mailing Jen her new IPOD?

Posted by: Molly on August 30, 2010 at 9:35 AM

i will have to disagree with you on the case of hating apple computers, but as for the store goes, god help us all. for that matter all stores are pretty much nightmares. the grocery store is one of the worst. people just standing around, blocking the aisles and not seeming to understand the meaning of the words excuse me.

Posted by: Ryan O'Sullivan on August 30, 2010 at 12:13 PM

I believe that it was I who gave the princess her IPod and you your ball peen hammer. To each his own toys according to his proclivities.hehehe

Posted by: Yomama on August 30, 2010 at 2:25 PM

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