Monday, March 2, 2009

The Good & The Bad

It was Tuesday evening. Approximately 7:28 PM. I had just finished a lovely dinner with hubs, LO and Mona (LO's grandma/my mom). I sat down at the desk to look something up online, but my precious MacBook wasn't responding.

Slight panic.

I couldn't force quit any of the programs that weren't responding. I listened closely and heard a not-ever-good sound of the hard drive clicking.

Serious panic.

That's disastrous. Coming from the PC world, I immediately recognized that sound as it seemed to happen to PCs quite often. I had never experienced such a sound on my nearly 21-month-old MacBook.

I had to do the ol' hold-down-the-power-button-til-it-gives-up-and-turns-off approach.

I gave it a second to chill out.

I pressed the power button again to turn it on.

It seemed lost. It wasn't sure what to do. The hard drive kept clicking and all I got was a gray screen.

Then a little file folder appeared in the center of the screen with a question mark in it.

This can't be good.

I call dear ol' AppleCare support, am quickly transferred to a Apple technician, who, after walking me through a few different steps, was able to confirm my worst fear: the hard drive was in fact DEAD.

I could have panicked like a crazy fool at this point, but I smiled at my lovely 1 Terabyte external hard drive, running Time Machine (Apple's wondrous back-up software), and knew full well that none of my precious data would be lost.

But of course, before I could restore my data, I needed to have my hard drive replaced. Luckily, there is an Apple-certified repair place located a short 20-minute drive away. It also just so happens that the assistant manager there is a very good friend of mine. We'll leave it at that.

SO... I call the store, which we'll refer to as the Apple Store, even though this store is--from my understanding (only because I've never been to a genuine Apple Store)--not even close to being an official, genuine, state-of-the-art Apple Store. I happened to speak with my good friend, shared my bad news, and decided I would bring my MacBook in the very next morning.

So the next morning arrives. LO and I find a wonderful parking spot just outside the Apple Store. I get her loaded up in her stroller and head inside.

I can't find the store.

Seriously.

I look around, check the posted directory thingy, but no Apple Store.

I see a big poster with a Mac on it, so I know I'm in the right place. Just gotta find it.

I managed to recall my friend telling me the store was located on the 2nd floor, so we hopped in the elevator and managed to stumble upon said Apple Store.

I drop off my lifeline to the outside world (you know, my MacBook) and am shocked to hear it might be Monday before it's ready. Keep in mind it's currently Wednesday morning. Apparently Monday was a "worst case scenario." Alrighty then.

Wednesday afternoon, around 5:30 PM, I get a call from the Apple Store. They confirmed the hard drive failed, said they would order a new one, which will be sent priority overnight (arriving Thursday morning), and my MacBook should be ready for pick-up late Thursday afternoon.

Whew!!!

By this time, I've gone almost a full 24 hours with no Internet access. Seriously people. I started twitching by about hour 6. It sucked. But the end was in sight!

So I called the Apple Store on Thursday to verify the hard drive came in and we were still on schedule. They couldn't tell me. Apparently the sales folks didn't have any updates from the repair folks. Lovely.

I called back several hours later. Still no update. They give me the number to the repair folks.

Nope. No hard drive. Guess it'll come in tomorrow (Friday) morning they tell me.

Fabulous.

I wait until around 10AM Friday morning--after priority overnight shipments should have been delivered--and call the store. There's still no update in their system.

Seriously??

The manager gave me the number to the repair folks. I call.

Nope. The hard drive did NOT arrive as expected. So where was it? The repair guy couldn't tell me. Said he didn't have access to the tracking information for the package.

Ummmm, okay...? Is there any way you can get the tracking information?

He says he guesses he can call Apple.

Super.

Great idea.

He calls me back 20 minutes later and says it's supposedly out on the truck for delivery. Argh. Apparently once it's delivered to the store, a courier person takes the packages over to the repair site, which is about a 10 minute drive from the store.

I'm getting fed up.

Friday afternoon I have hubs call the store. I can't deal with it much more before I'll go crazy. He calls the store and they tell him the hard drive was delivered around 2:30 PM on Friday afternoon. The kicker was that the courier guy left around 4:00 PM to run packages over the repair guys, and left my hard drive at the store.

Are you kidding me?!

Does it really have to be this hard?!

The store didn't make any effort or attempt to rectify the issues. Granted, it may have been the delivery company's fault for taking 2-1/2 days to deliver a priority overnight package. I dunno. But the Apple Store made no effort to follow up on the delivery or do anything to accept fault for not sending the hard drive to the repair folks when it arrived. I'm telling you, hubs was telling them HE would go to the store, pick up my hard drive, and TAKE IT over to the repair guys.

He ended up talking with a repair guy who said he'd stop by the store Saturday morning to pick up the hard drive on his way to the repair place so the laptop could be ready to be picked up Saturday afternoon.

Day 4.

Four days without my MacBook.

Four days to replace a single hard drive.

This is NOT rocket science, people.

Apparently someone was supposed to pick up the repaired equipment from the repair guys Saturday afternoon, take them to the Apple Store, and then I would receive a phone call informing me my laptop was ready to be picked up.

Hubs wasn't going to wait for a call.

On Saturday, he got in the car at 2:30 PM and headed downtown. He was ready and willing to pace impatiently at the Apple Store until my laptop arrived.

After he left, I decided to call the store just to get an update and to see exactly how long my patient husband would be patiently waiting.

Surprise!!!

Ya, my laptop was already at the store and ready to be picked up.

I'm sorry, where was my phone call informing me of this?!!?

OMG.

I was at my wits' end with these folks. This entire process was an absolute NIGHTMARE. I mean, I could have expected better from PC repair folks. THAT'S how bad this experience was.

Painful.

The icing on the cake was that when I opened up my MacBook, it was Absolutely. Filthy.

We're talking dust everywhere, smears on the screen, and a little dab of what (I hope) was chocolate smooshed outside the keyboard and onto the border surrounding the screen.

Gag.

(Side note: Before I took it in for repair, I cleaned the crap (not literally) out of my machine, as I would've been SO embarrassed to submit a filthy machine for repair. I'm of the old-school mindset that says "return it in better condition than you found it.")

Now, you're wondering where the "Good" is in all of this, right?

Well, after hubs brought my beloved MacBook home, I hooked it up to my lovely 1TB external hard drive, selected my Time Machine backup, and in less than 45 minutes, my MacBook was restored to its previous glory. As in, exactly where I left off on Tuesday evening when it crashed. And all it took was 2 or 3 clicks of the mouse.

Apple MacBook? LOVE IT!

My experience with the Apple Store? Wouldn't recommend them to my worst enemy.

My apologies to my dear friend who works as an assistant manager at said store. Luckily, he wasn't one of the people I had to deal with in the aforementioned ordeal.