Customer Service at its Worst at an Apple Store

If I didn’t experience this with my own two eyes, I would not have believed how I could find customer service at its worst at an Apple store. Seems crazy, right? Usually, every Apple store I’ve ever been to has been fabulous, just like Apple products themselves.

Now, it goes without saying that I tend to hold high expectations of service from other people, so you know that I am often disappointed when they do not measure up. Some people who probably don’t know any better would say I am the kind of person who is hard to please. Mostly because I expect people to behave in a respectful manner and to do a good job.

On my first visit to the Apple store in Kona, I asked the guy if I could buy a MacBook Air with a 1.5 GB hard drive. He told me to go online and order it there. Which seemed odd. I’m not sure that they are really an Apple store but they do sell Apple products. He was nice enough, though, and showed me a few computers. When I decided on the specs, he said I should bring the MacBookAir back to the store when I receive it, and for $75 they would transfer all of my data from MacBook Pro to my new MacBook Air.

What a deal! I hate doing technical stuff myself and was also a bit worried about the quality of my Time Warner WiFi at the house. It tends to be sporadic and drops off at times. I should mention that I specifically asked if I should make an appointment to do this and was told no, I did not need an appointment.

Couple days later, my MacBook Air arrives via UPS. I grabbed it and ran over to the store. This is when I encountered customer service at its worst at an Apple store. Two rather disgruntled customers left the store almost immediately as I arrived, saying something about going to T-mobile as the guy was no help. Maybe that colored his attitude?

Big smile. Aloha! I am here to transfer the data on my MacBook Pro to my MacBook Air. The store was empty at this point. Snot-nosed mouth-breather stood there chewing on his hair and staring at a bug on the floor. What he said next stunned me: It will take 4 to 7 business days. Seriously?? Who can be without a business computer for a week? That is not what the other guy said a few days earlier.

Well, we have other computers to work on before yours, mouth-breather said. Although, like I mentioned, the store was empty. Nobody else was there.

OK, fine, I’ll migrate the information myself. But I still needed a case for the MacBook Air because it’s so much smaller, I might drop it. Mouth-breather waved his hand toward a shelf, there is all of our MacBook Air cases, he said.

I pawed through the collection, found a clear case. Will this work, I asked?


Removed it from the package and started assembling it on my computer. I got the back on but struggled with the front portion.

“Ah, we don’t let customers take product out of the packaging,” he says. Too late for that remark.

I overlooked that snotty comment. “If I can get this on my computer, I will buy it. Here you try it.”

He could not snap it on, either. Oh, no wonder, it did not fit my computer. Wrong case.

Can’t help you, he says. We don’t carry cases for the new MacBook Air.

Can you at least tell me how to transfer the information myself? I haven’t migrated data for maybe 10 years. Does it take a Firewire? Do I need a special connection?

He mumbled something about needing a hard drive, and well, let’s just say if he had to perform that service for me, the odds seemed high he would mess it up.

If this is not customer service at its worst at an Apple store, I don’t know what is. Of course, it is Hawaii, so there is THAT. Not even a I’m sorry. No Aloha in that place.

As I left the store, he opened the door to holler at me in the parking lot, “I’m sure the other guy just miscommunicated.”

I am not.

You may laugh at me for expecting good customer service, and I do not care. I would never treat my clients like this. This would be telling like my sellers in Sacramento to go look at Zillow and not waste my time by asking for a professional CMA. Or directing our buyers to find their own damn property online. We do not sell Sacramento real estate like that, no sirree.

Fortunately, the Apple customer service guys online are so danged helpful, I’ll never have to go to that store again. And so glad I bought my new iPhone XR in Honolulu and not there.

Elizabeth Weintraub

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