Thursday, June 3, 2010

Free MacBook Pro!!!

Six years ago, Anna and I got a very nice birthday present from my grandmother: a brand new iBook (then Apple’s consumer-grade laptop). We named her Candace, and she was a great little machine. Although she did have a few minor problems, Apple was very good to take care of us whenever something went wrong. From the time the hard drive died to the letters wearing off of a few oft-used keys, they always replaced everything quickly and free of charge. Their customer service was, in a word, impeccable.

Then, just over three years ago, with only a week left on our extended warranty, I brought our little Candi in for a checkup. I told the Genius on staff to look her over, see if there was anything wrong with her, and if so, fix it. (If by chance there were something wrong, I was not going to have to pay for repairs, if I could help it.) He took her into the shop, and a few days later I got a call: some part I’d never heard of, that did who knows what, was indeed broken. Unfortunately, it was also backordered, so it would be a few days.

A week later, Apple’s web site was still showing a backorder on the part. Just as I was starting to get genuinely annoyed, there was a call from the Apple Store: the Genius said that the part was, for some reason he couldn’t even imagine, backordered for six more weeks. Rather than put me through all that, could he interest me in a brand new MacBook, instead?

Suffice to say, he had a deal.

Unfortunately—and in contrast to the relatively good experience we had with Candi (and the absolutely perfect track record of Anila, our seven-year-old Power Mac G5)—Candi’s replacement, P.D.Q., has had a really rough life. I guess I should have seen the writing on the wall when we discovered that he had a mis-sized Ethernet port, direct from the factory. That little factor got him a whole new logic board. His lot in life became more obvious, though, when his MagSafe adapter broke and failed to detach, sending him crashing to the floor. That got him a new adapter, endoskeleton, top and bottom clamshell, and hand rest.

A few weeks after this, we woke up to find his display mysteriously cracked. The crack quickly spread, and within two days was a sine wave from top left corner to bottom right. Needless to say, he got a new display for that one. Then his plastic exoskeleton started peeling, leaving gaping holes around the edges. He got another new clamshell for that, and then yet another clamshell and hand rest, when it happened again.

After almost three years of this, I repeated my trip to the Apple Store for P.D.Q.’s final checkup before his AppleCare ran out. Unfortunately, this time I did have some complaints. His sleep functionality was messed up, intermittently sleeping when he should be awake and waking when he should be asleep. Furthermore, his battery occasionally wouldn’t take a charge (despite being amazingly healthy, according to the guys at Apple). I informed them of his track record (and my opinion regarding having not received a new machine, in light of his continued issues). They brought him into the shop and, after keeping him for twice as long as promised, returned him apparently fixed.

Only he wasn’t.

With six hours left on the warranty, I called Apple again and complained. The tech I spoke to, Chris, was great. He even gave me some troubleshooting ideas that I hadn’t known. He then told me that, since my AppleCare was about to expire, I shouldn’t bother calling the main line again; if his suggestions didn’t fix the problem, I should call him directly. So 24 hours later, that’s just what I did, leaving a message on his voice mail.

Late this morning, Apple showed up on my caller ID. It was Chris, and he was calling to apologize for everything we’ve been through with P.D.Q.. Not only did he offer me a replacement machine (despite being two days out of warranty), but in consequence of the changes to the MacBook line since 2007, he offered me a new MacBook Pro! (I know it’s well above what I deserve, but he wanted to make sure the replacement had everything I need. The current MacBooks don’t have Firewire, so he gave me a free upgrade to the Pro, to maintain that connectivity.) He also offered to let me pay to upgrade any other options I might be interested in, but as the only option I really wanted (a matte screen) is only available on the larger models, I forewent both that upgrade and the ones in between. The $750 would get us a much nicer computer, but $750 is a big jump from free. ;-)

Anyway, after an afternoon call from the processing department and my signing a couple of emailed CYA-esque legal documents, our new MacBook Pro is on its way. Like its predecessors, it comes with a one-year factory warranty with an option to upgrade to three years, which option I can take anytime between now and its first birthday. Needless to say, I will be taking advantage of that option. I do hope I don’t need another freebee in 2013, but with my luck, I’d be a fool not to risk it. ^_^