Almost a fiasco…

Saturday morning I discovered that my local Apple Store had in stock availability of their new flagship, iPhone X. I wouldn’t usually venture anywhere near a mall two days after Thanksgiving, but the desire for new and shiny tech got the better of me. Stunningly, I arrived five minutes after the mall opened and parked within 20 yards of the door. It seems that their “holiday hours” are poorly advertised and almost no one realized they were opening an hour early. Fine by me.

I was an AT&T cellular customer since back in the mists of time when they were known as Cingular. I was generally a satisfied customer, too – until I moved to Fortress Jeff, which is located in a black hole of their coverage map. I could make and receive calls over wifi, but when wifi was down, my cell was pretty much an expensive paperweight. Unacceptable. With this change of phone, I wanted to make the jump to Verizon, who neighbors promised had at least a bar or two of coverage even the local power and cable is out. It happens more often than you’d imagine out here at the end of the transmission line.

Without going into details, I’ll just say that AT&T, Verizon, and Apple corporate policies all threw up roadblocks to converting from the Apple Upgrade Program under AT&T to the same program under Verizon. The guy I was working with, though, was an absolute bulldog and took the problems first to the floor manager, who was as confounded as we were. The floor manager then elevated the issues through two layers of management “in the back.” Finally they decided there was actually no way to get from Point A to Point B using existing policy and procedures. That’s they point where one of them decided “we’re going to break the rules” to make the sale.

I can’t say for sure if any rules were broken, but if the number of Apple employees standing around looking concerned while they fiddled with various entries on their tablet is any sign, they were certainly doing something unusual. In the end it took six people and almost an hour to make the sale.

It wasn’t quick and it wasn’t seamless, but in the end I walked away with exactly what I wanted. I appreciate that level of tenacity when the easy answer was “we can’t.” I appreciate it even more when I’ve got two bars of service when the wifi’s off. Well done, Apple. It’s a wonderful lesson for other business out there that customer services really, truly doesn’t have to suck.

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. iOS 7. I’m not the kind of guy who’s exactly comfortable with change… and for good or ill, iOS 7 represents a pretty radical level of change in the Apple ecosystem. Maybe not so much in how your device now behaves (most of the same old functions – and some new ones are right there), but it’s certainly looks different while it’s performing all of those magical functions. It looks different to the point where an explosion of the Crayola factory wouldn’t quite be out of place. Soon enough it’ll blend into the background and just be “what is,” but first impressions left me feeling like the new iOS was too bright, to candy colored, and just too un-Apple.

2. Television “experts.” If you want to be taken seriously as a professional commentator on issues that involve firearms, it’s best to actually have some experience with putting lead downrange. For instance when you’re a national news organization and report that a suspect is using an “AR15 shotgun,” well, you sound like an idiot to anyone who actually knows the difference between a suppressor and a stacking swivel. Maybe it’s best to report facts instead of random wild-ass theories, rumors, or things you just make up on the fly. When you don’t stick to the facts you lose credibility… which I suppose is only relevant if being a credible news source if important to you.

3. Knowing what I’m in for. Sometimes not know what’s about to happen is better. But knowing that you’re about to stand out in the cold, without enough caffeine, and needing to pee for at least several hours in the middle of the night is just one of those things you’re better off not knowing until you’re in the middle of doing it. I’m old enough to know a bad option when I see it heading in my direction… but I’m also geek enough to know that if I’ve got the opportunity to have the latest toy in my hand tomorrow morning and pass it up for the ease and comfort of sleeping until 5AM, I’ll regret it. And that would annoy me even more than getting up in the dead of night and standing in line.

P.S. And yes, I fully recognize the irony of waking up in the middle of the night to stand in line for a phone whose OS I’m not enamored with… Can’t a guy be conflicted?