What’s Up With The Apple Genius Bar?

I don’t seem to be having good luck with my MacBook Pro lately. After my last problem with it, I’ve been keeping an eye on it to make sure that nothing else bad would happen. One of the things that I do is I use Disk Utility which is part of OS X to check the health of the drive both from a software perspective and a hardware perspective. When I checked it on Sunday, it said the hard drive was failing. Now, hard drives employ a technology called SMART which stands for Self Monitoring Analysis And Reporting Technology. In short, the drive monitors itself and when it thinks a failure is going to happen, it will generate a warning that a program that looks for these warnings or an operating system like OS X can receive. Now the drive could fail tomorrow or it could fail next year. But it is going to fail. Thus I needed to take action. I did an immediate backup and made an appointment for the next day at the Apple Genius Bar at the Apple Store in Sherway Gardens in suburban Toronto as this MacBook Pro was under AppleCare.

Fast forward to Monday. I arrive for my Genius Bar appointment and because I am far from a typical user, I was able in seconds to show the Genius the issue and he was able to order me a new hard drive. He also told me that Apple would only install the OS that it came with (in my case OS X Mavericks 10.9.4) and I was responsible for the data. I have to admit that I was slightly taken aback by that as I had a disk image with all of my stuff on my person that it would not have taken him a lot of effort to restore. But he refused to touch it. If they did do that, it would have really enhance the “premium” image (excuse the pun) that Apple was trying to portray. So, I will take care of restoring my data when I got the MacBook Pro repaired. The Genius suggested that I hang on to my MacBook Pro until the hard drive came in, then they could see about turning it around the same day.

Fast forward to Tuesday. I get an e-mail in the afternoon that the hard drive was in. So I made my way down there to drop off the MacBook Pro at 6PM figuring that I would get it back sometime the next day. Boy was I in for a shock when I was told it was going to be 5 to 7 days before I got it back, though there was a chance that I could get it earlier. Also they suggested that I should check in frequently to see if it was ready. I was blown away by that as the mid-2012 MacBook Pro has a hard drive that is very easy to replace. It should only take them 90 minutes tops to do it which includes the install of the OS. If it wasn’t still under AppleCare, I would have simply swapped it out myself. Not only that, why don’t they just fix it and call me when it’s done rather than force me to check in to see if it is done? That seems bizarre to me.

So now I am waiting and hoping that they swap the drive quicker than the 5 to 7 days that they’ve promised. It’s entirely possible that they could, but I am not hopeful. But this experience with the Genius Bar has left a bad taste in my mouth because on previous trips to the Genius Bar, employees have pulled out all the stops to get me up and running. For example, they swapped a battery on the spot for me the day that Steve Jobs passed away. Now perhaps it’s the Apple Store that I am dealing with or the Genius Bar employees in question. Or perhaps they are simply losing focus on what they were created for in the first place. Which was to have Geniuses aid Apple in creating a premium retail experience. So far, I don’t see anything premium about this experience. No matter how I slice it, I think that something is up with the Genius Bar and perhaps Apple should be taking a step back to see how they can improve the customer experience.

In the meantime, let’s see how long it takes for my MacBook Pro to be fixed.



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