Posted by: patti | March 7, 2009

Open Letter to the Apple Geniuses (except Mike, who is really cool)

Dear Genius Bar,

You call yourselves “geniuses.”  You call your work station a “bar.”  Yeah, about that?  Not only do I own dresses that are smarter than you, but you still haven’t given me a drink.  And I am so ready for a drink because of you.

Oh, oh — don’t do that.  Don’t you roll your eyes at me.  You know perfectly well that this sheaf of papers represents three visits to your 59th Street store in the last two weeks, and you know perfectly well that every visit has been all your fault.

I will summarize again, like I do every time I go see you.  My iBook G4, which I call Applet (shut up), just stopped working one night.  I was typing away, making shit up, as I am wont to do, and Applet just turned off.  I was, understandably, upset, but I knew my AppleCare thingy was still valid, so the crying and panicking was kept to a minimum.  I made the first appointment I could, which was two nerve-wracking days later.  I know now that I could have just walked in there and done the whole standby thing, but I played by your rules, geniuses.

Well.  It was the logic board, as my first repair order will remind you.  One genius (Beau) told me that it was the power circuit and that it would cost me $150 to retrieve the data, but he wasn’t sure  they could retrieve the data.  He passed me on to the second genius (Todd), who thought it was the logic board, and it would cost $50 to back up the data, but there was nothing to worry about because the data was perfectly safe.  Seven to ten days, he said, and everything but the backup would be covered by AppleCare.

Well, on day nine, I still had not heard from you.   I called and was told by a very chirpy genius (Mandy) that Applet had been ready five days ago and I could pick it up whenever I wanted! Geniuses, I know that maybe you’re not used to girls giving you their phone numbers?  But when they do?  Call them back.  I’m just saying.

So, last Friday, I went to pick up Applet, all excited.  This is when I met Mike.  All you other geniuses need to learn a thing or two from Mike.

Mike hands me Applet and a stack of forms to sign.  Applet is on and my niece’s big blue eyes are shining at me from the wallpaper on my screen.  Happiness!

No.  No happiness.  Know why, geniuses? Because in the course of checking out Applet, I discovered that I could not connect to the internet because there was no airport card.

“Maybe you never had an airport card?” Mike asks, hopefully.

“Most definitely, I had one.”

“Crap,” says Mike.

Mm.  So, Mike guesses that one of you geniuses fried the airport card while replacing the logic board, or didn’t reconnect things properly, or maybe it’s just a coincidence, but either way, I was not taking Applet home with me.  I can’t stop laughing, because I am too upset to do anything else.

Every time he gives me more bad news (they don’t have the part, the SoHo store doesn’t have the part, maybe another five days to order the part . . . ), I laugh and crack another joke.  Mike keeps looking at me, asking me if I’m really okay: “I’d be smashing monitors right about now, but you’re making jokes.  I wish all my customers were like you.”

I ask Mike if I should buy a jump drive so that I can take my data and not lose more writing time.  It’s his turn for laughing in near-hysterical disbelief:  “You?  You are not buying anything.  I’ll burn a disk for you.”  He turns Applet on its side, looking for the drive.  “Do you have a burner?”

“Well.  I did when I brought it here last week,” I say.  Mike laughs and burns a disk for me, and I leave without my beloved Applet but with all of my beloved documents.  I know, geniuses, that you’re not very good at remembering stuff, but try, if you can, to remember this exchange.  It’s important for the irony, later.

It took almost two hours of paperwork to document the failed pickup and set up the new repair order.  Two hours.  Really, geniuses, I do not understand your system. at. all.  Clearly, neither do you, if your best guy takes this long to process things.

Anyway.  Mike worked some kind of crazy magic and Applet was ready the very next afternoon.  Another genius (Gary) had no information other than, “Here you go, it’s working now.”  That night, I settled in to make up shit again, deciding that I’d copy some new music onto my hard drive while I worked.  Except . . . the CD would not go in the drive.

Do I have to spell it out for you, geniuses, or do you get it?  Let me know if you need me to use smaller words.

So.  I went back to you on Thursday, and a new genius (Vanna) helped me get a standby appointment to see Mike.  When I give her the thumbnail version of what happened, she raises an eyebrow.  “Is it an iBook G4?”

I nod, and she says, “Yeah, you should definitely see Mike, but everyone knows about this one.”

I wait and wait, and finally, it’s my turn to see Mike.  He didn’t remember me.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  He recognized me as someone he’d helped before, but he didn’t remember the details of Applet at first.  He sees hundreds of customers a day, so I can’t exactly be upset about that.  But I was disappointed, I admit.  Mike and I had a bond, I thought.  I made Mike laugh, he made Applet better (mostly).  Sigh.  Even the good geniuses.  They break your heart.

Anyway, I hand him the papers, give him the same thumbnail sketch.  He starts shuffling through the stack and I can see the light go on.  “Oh, now I remember you!  You were here last Friday and you were really fucking cool.”

I laugh at this.  All is forgiven.  Yes, I am really fucking cool.

I realize I’m going on a bit here, geniuses, but I’m almost done.  Please try to pay attention a little longer.

You can see from this set of papers, my third work order, that the drive just crapped out.  Mike swears — and admits that I, in particular, have no reason to believe him — that the timing of the crap-out is absolutely, purely a coincidence.  The good news is, because you’ve worked on it, anything that happens to Applet in the next 90 days is 100% covered, which effectively extends my AppleCare, which expires April 9th and can’t be renewed.   Geniuses.  Why won’t you let me renew AppleCare?  Why do you hate me?

Mike had to order a new drive, and he gave me the standard 5 to 7 days speech but told me I should call and check.  The repair is pretty extensive — they have to take the whole thing apart and dig pretty deep to get the old one out and the new one in, blah blah blah.  And that reminded him . . . “Oh, hey, did I tell you what happened to the airport card?”

“No. . . . do I want to know?”

“Oh, this is good, you’ll love this.  See, here?  How you have to pop the keyboard off to get at everything?  Well, everything under here is held down by four screws.”  He points to the four spots, two near the top, two near the bottom.  “The two up here, these are long screws.  Up here is where you’ve got the logic board and all the other boards and connections.  The two down here, these are short screws.  And right under here,” he taps the bottom left screw, “is the airport card.  So if the technician mixes up the screws and puts a long screw in the wrong place . . .”

Say it with me, kids.

“He screws right through the airport card.”

I can’t stop laughing, and Mike is all, “I know, it’s funny, but it’s really not funny.”

“So that’s why Vanna,” I gesture at the genius who got me on stand-by to see Mike, “knew all about my iBook.”

“Oh yeah, everyone knows about this.  I was so pissed.”

“You realize that this makes the whole ‘genius’ thing a bit . . .”

“Hilarious?  Oh yeah, I know.”

“It’s really a big lie, is what I’m thinking.”

Now.  Now, do you understand, geniuses, why I am so angry with you for calling yourselves geniuses?

No, you don’t.  You don’t, and not just because you are all as useless as socks on a pig.

I still don’t have Applet.  And now my iPhone is broken.  See you at 6:30.



  1. Perhaps we misunderstand. Perhaps it is not intended to be Apple Genius but is really apple genus, which of course is malus. Akin to the legal phrase: malus aforethought.

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