Sunday, November 26, 2006

A Basket of Rotten Apples

Last week I went to an Apple Store in Santa Clara and I wanted to buy a MacBook as a Christmas present for my sister (It's a surprised so don't tell her about it!!!). At that time I had no idea what a terrible experience was that going to be.

I got the white box, paid and happily went home. When I unpacked the notebook, I put in the installation disk and was about to restart the computer to run custom installation when I heard that the DVD in the drive was getting scratched. Ironically I had the same and many others problems with my MacBook Pro. So I re-packed the notebook and the next day went back to the Apple Store.

When I arrived there, I grabbed a sales guy and told him about my problem. He asked me to demonstrate it to him, which I did. He had to admit that this was not a feature and took the notebook in the back office and came back with a new MacBook. After that, he went to the register, did some voodoo with the receipts and gave me the new box and a new receipt. I unwrapped the notebook in the store and checked if this one was OK. My test CD was unscratched after the test so I happily went home again.

When I arrived home I was going to do the custom installation again. After a couple of seconds of working with the notebook while having my palms resting on it, I noticed that this notebook was vibrating. The whole case was shaking as if the DVD was spinning at the maximum speed and the hard drive was doing some really heavy writing and reading at the same time. The thing was that at the time when this vibration was happening there was no disk in the superdrive and the hard drive was idle as well. With disgust I ceased all the activities with the notebook, put it into the box, and waited until I had the next opportunity to go to Apple Store again.

Couple days later I finally had time to go to the Apple Store. When I arrived I grabbed a sales guy again and told him my story. This guy told me that he has no authorization to do anything about this and that I had to see a Mac Genius with my problem. I guess that he saw that I was not very happy with his answer, so he took me to Mac Genius and asked him to look at my notebook immediately.

I explained the problem to this Genius, who took the notebook to the back office. In a few minutes he came out and told me that he needs to compare the vibrations from this notebook to the notebooks they have on display. For a second I thought that if all the notebooks are doing this then I'd get dismissed, but fortunately all the notebooks on display were making no vibrations at all.

After this the Genius sent me to the sales guy and authorized the replacement. I got the replacement accompanied with the receipt voodoo. The sales guy gave me the notebook and told me to enjoy it because that was my last replacement. I was little surprised to hear that and told him that I want to test the notebook before I go home.

I was pretty surprised to see that this one was doing the same thing!!! I showed it to the sales guy and he was pretty shocked as well. Another sales guy came to us and told us that it is normal behavior after first boot because "The computer is thinking". Duh, that was a bit of an offensive explanation for me and I dismissed the guy.

After this, the sales guy brought yet another box (my 4th MacBook!) and opened it himself. It was not that surprising to me that this one was vibrating as well. The sales guy almost collapsed when he realized that the whole batch of MacBooks that they have in stock might be suffering from the same problem.

After few phone calls to other Apple Stores in the area and talking to the store manager the sales guy opened yet another box and with huge relief called me and told me that "Hey Igor, we have a notebook for you!". I touched the notebook and it was fine, no vibrations at all!

The sales guy did his receipt voodoo for the last time and then I went home with a present for my sister. I still can't believe that I had to go through 5 (five!!) MacBooks to find the one that was working.

If Apple wants to increase the market share so be it, but I hope that it is not going to happen by becoming more like other notebook maker who's name rhymes with Hell! If anyone sees similar issues he should immediately go to the Apple Store and return / exchange the product he bought, for his own sake (don't waste time with repairs) and for Apple's sake as well; they must realize that Apple customers are not going to tolerate flaky assembly!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the information, I'm in the process of buying a MacBook (or maybe a MacBook Pro) so at least I'll be aware of possible vibrations and stuff...

Anonymous said...

Yes I have gotten two MacBooks with this problem. The second one I will return tomorrow for a refund. I will wait for Leopard to arrive now before trying to purchase an Apple laptop again. Apart from the vibration it's a very nice computer!