My Great Big Apple Rant

by Patricia Salber

photo from commons.
photo from commons.

Fair warning – this has nothing to do with healthcare unless you count the health effects of being tee’d off.

In mid-December 2012, I bought a MacBook Air – the big one – full price – $1299 (and then more for all the other stuff that goes along with getting a new computer, like Apple Care, protective case and so forth).  But I loved loved loved the look and feel of this notebook computer – so light, so smooth, so shiny, so very beautiful.  Nice screen, nice keyboard…I even like the power cord – long enough to reach a distant socket.  Ah, I thought I am going to do great work with this little baby!

But alas, in early March, my love affair with the MB Air came to an abrupt end when the monitor up and died.  Not a blue or white screen of death (that comes later), rather just the black screen of a monitor that is dead dead dead.  So I hop in the car and go to my local Apple Store (Corte Madera, California).  Sure enough, they confirm that the screen will never work again.  Since the computer was only about 3 months old at the time, I assumed they would just give me a new one.  Wrong!  They had to order a new monitor and I had to take it back 4 days later to get it put on.  I tried explaining that this is my work computer, but the person who waited on me said something like, “we feel your pain” (translate “who cares”), we will call you as soon as the part arrives.

It seemed to work okay until 5 days ago – a Monday morning –  when the cursor suddenly froze and there was nothing to do but power down and then power up again.  This time I got the real death screen (and a sinking feeling that this was something very bad).  I used another computer to see if there were any things I could do on my own to fix the problem, but nothing worked and I ended making another trip to the Apple Store.  The Apple “Genius Tim” tried to fix it, but to no avail.  “We will have to send it out for repair.”  “Again,” I said, “This is the second time in the 8 months I have had this machine.”  “Sorry,” he says in a bored voice that implied to me he really didn’t care about my problem one way or the other.  I whine, “But this is my work computer…what am I going to do?  I think I got a lemon. None of my other computers ever broke down twice before the first anniversary.  I think you should give me a new one.”

That remark got me in front of the store leader, Jeannine,  who said No Can Do to New “You have to have four (4!!!!) major repairs before we consider giving a new computer.”  So, I sign the

photo from
photo from

paper and hand over my little sad broken MB Air one more time.  They guy who didn’t really care told me he would put a “business rush” on the job and he would get it shipped that day.  I limp home and retrieve my cheap, but always functioning Toshiba notebook from the friend I lent it to.  Better a PC than nothing.

On Friday, not having heard a peep from the Apple folks, I dropped by the Corte Madera Apple Store again.  Weaving my way into the store past all the Apple junkies lined up to buy the new iPhone, I find the same Genius guy Tim who waited on me 5 days earlier.  “Not ready yet,” he tells me, “they just received it in the repair shop late yesterday.”  What???  This is “business rush” or is this the bum’s rush?  “When will it be ready?” I moan. “Don’t know,” he says, “we’ll call you.”  So I go home Mac-less again to wait and wait and wait.  I am so glad I paid $1299 and bought the Apple Care program (not).  But I am even happier that my cheap little Toshiba keeps on working.  This has been a miserable customer experience and one that has forever changed the way I feel about Apple, its products and its service.

Now, I know Apple has had avid fans since it’s beginning.  They show the company love like few other companies have ever received.  But when the love dies – because of products and service like this – it makes me wonder if some of those fans (me, for example) might learn to love again – but this time a PC.  Sorry Apple, you get back what you put in–it’s called karma.

Patricia Salber, MD, MBA is the founder and host of The Doctor Weighs In. She is also the CEO of Health Tech Hatch, the sister site of TDWI that helps innovators tell their stories to the world. She is also a physician executive who has worked in all aspects of healthcare including practicing emergency physician, health plan executive, consultant to employers, CMS, and other organizations. She is a Board Certified Internist and Emergency Physician who loves to write about just about anything that has to do with healthcare.


  1. I feel for you as I’m one of the mob that had my heart broken by electronics. Don’t trust Carbonite either. I happily backed up-stories, a thousand and one poems, etc. Poems that made people laugh and smile.
    My PC went out. Fine, I had carbonite. I downloaded, and as I since found has happened to many other people, the downloads disappeared. Carbonite no longer had a single file on file. When I cancelled my service, I told them that they should be able to keep a back up in case the download goes bad. They offered me a free year-How would that bring back my pics of rodeo cowboys behind the chutes? My lament about astronomy that a math error of several million miles is no big deal, because before radar, everything was based on a guess of where something else is.
    I did everything exactly the way I was told to. I even got on the phone to confirm or clarify instructions as they pertained to my new OS on my 64 bit PC.
    Lets admit it, the best cardiology team in the world couldn’t find a heart in electronics.

  2. Pat,
    I have my own story about ATT and the IPhone5 I bought from them. I bought the IPhone in March and dropped it in a lake in July. I retreived it in about a minute but it didn’t work. I put it in rice for the evening and took it to the ATT store where I bought it the next day. They told me they couldn’t help me, but I could buy a new one for full retail – $650. They also said maybe Apple could help if I mailed it to them. I asked the ATT store manager what was I supposed to do for phone service in the meantime and he said I could buy a new cheap phone until I got a new IPhone. I was pissed. They gave me NO help.

    I went home and checked on Goggle for IPhone repair in Chico. The ATT manager had told me there was no IPhone repair in my area Butte County. Sure enough I found an IPhone repair shop in Chico started by some young computer guys. He opened my IPhone, dried it out a little, put a new battery in it, and like magic it worked perfectly. Total repair cost $50. $650 at the ATT store vs $50 at the local repair shop. Unknown down time vs one day. Buy local – stay local.