Along with many others, my late 2017 Apple MacBook Pro suffers from a problematic keyboard. While I have had the laptop since before Christmas last year, I haven’t used the keyboard very often, since it is usually connected to a large screen and external keyboard in the office. The first time I used it directly I wondered what on earth was going wrong. The D key misbehaves constantly – misfires, gets stuck, provides a delayed response – and other keys have their share of problems too. And every time since the first direct usage it has misbehaved, got in the way, been annoying, stopping my writing flow, etc. Not great for a tool that is supposed to be invisible and let me get on with my work.
I went into the local authorised Apple repair shop yesterday to ask about getting it fixed under the keyboard replacement / repair program that Apple is running. I was met with a willingness to get it repaired, but a complete and utter indifference to flexibility in how it could be fixed. My guess is that hands-on time with the machine will be about one and a half hours maximum, and yet I have to hand it in for 3-5 days. Or for 100 minutes of repair time, I lose it for 100 hours.
“Can I book this in for a specific time to be looked at?”
“Can you assess it, order the replacement pieces, and then I’ll bring it back in when the keyboard arrives from Apple?”
“How long will it take to get fixed?”
“Don’t know. Anywhere from 3-5 days.”
“Could I bring it in at 9am on Monday to get the process started?”
“No. Our technicians don’t start at 9am.”
“I use this machine to do my work. How does Apple expect me to get anything done if it is tied up for 5 days?”
I’m not used to interacting with people who evidence such absolute indifference in a professional or business setting. What’s worse that the direct reaction of the one employee I spoke to yesterday, is that he is situated within a wider company – a company that is apparently perfectly fine with indifference, poor service, and a rotten attitude.
Why does Apple tolerate this level of indifference, process inefficiency, and poor customer service in its ecosystem? Have they really baked an ecosystem of indifference? Is it rotten from the core?
Perhaps it is time to explore a new Surface of computing.