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My 4 year old Mac has serious health problems. Some of the letters on the key board no longer work. So I took it in to the Apple Store for a look and a diagnostic. Funny how the Apple store is a lot like a car dealership, lots of shinny things flashing at you.

You could get this or that, a new product which allows you to do all kinds of things at the speed of light. The things is, if you sit down and think about it for one moment, ask yourself what do I use my Mac for exactly? What functions are most important to me. In my case it’s Gmail and then this blog, the third would be Skype which has nothing to do with Apple. I also like to write documents on a separate program. That’s it.

So the young man at the Apple store calls me and says that the original estimate of what needed to be done to bring my computer back to life went from $250 dollars CDN to $1000 dollars CDN. There are more problems than anticipated despite the fact that the original prognosis looked good. It has to do with a liquid spill, red wine, some 3 years ago while reading ancient Hebrew texts. Which goes to prove that Ancient Hebrew texts, wine and Apple computers are incompatible. Lesson learned.

Guess what a new computer similar to do one I have is only $1019. dollars CDN. So the young man says to me, do you want to go ahead with the repairs, there is no guarantee it will work. I strongly suspect at this point that the policy of Apple is to try to get you to buy something instead of trying to repair your computer.

I wish something could be done but it’s a case where you cannot get a second opinion since there is no one to go to.

The Apple Store is very much in the corporate image Apple wants to give of itself, all the staff are young, under 35, mostly young men, white, wearing the Apple uniform of a blue T-shirt and jeans. You come in report to staff, who does not acknowledge you as much as simply ask your name, you made an appointment online to see someone at the genius bar, you are always addressed by your first name, you are just another customer, staff will assign you to the long table where 20 customers can sit, side by side and discuss there problems with another staff, the genius bar. The conversation is fast, there is a lot of noise and you must pay close attention. I ask them to repeat pointing out that I did not hear what they said, so much background noise, nor fully understood them.

Apple makes no accommodation for the fact that older customers may not fully understand what they are talking about since their speech is peppered with technical jargon. The Apple store does get older customers who are usually more moneyed the the young crowd who will have a iPhone and are looking for a cheap quick fix.

It is too bad that I have to replace my computer but I really do not see what else I can do. What is strange is that the car dealership has the same approach, they do not want to repair your car, they want to sell you a new one, I have received bi-monthly calls since I purchased the car 4 years ago about a trade or buying a new car.

What corporations like Apple fail to realize is that I would not go to their store simply to browse or look at new product because despite the sleek look, it is unwelcoming and Apple is clueless about that. Their flag ship in Ottawa also offers a lot less services than 5 years ago. Less staff, less helpful, more focused on sale and the front area which use to welcome customers has been abandoned and everything happens at the back with as many as 100 customers jammed in the genius bar area.

At this point I always wonder what would it be like if I was shopping in the USA. I am pretty sure the experience would be very different simply based on my own personal experience through the years in various American shops and cities where service standards are higher and different.