How often is it that we hear stories from people who work as tech support about the stupid people they have to deal with? Indeed, it seems as though working as tech support could potentially be an extremely entertaining profession, provided that you have a good sense of humor. Of course, it could in some rare circumstances be the other way around. Question: do consumers find it entertaining when the tech support doesn't know what they're doing?
Okay, there's no avoiding it. My two year-old iMac has been freezing constantly, usually within the first few minutes of bootup. Fortunately, I had purchased extended AppleCare for it as well, and I decided that I might as well take advantage of it and call the dreaded tech support. Though to be truthful, I wasn't dreading it. Apple has received an extremely high phone support rating from Consumer Reports in terms of wait time, helpfulness, etc.
I dial the number. Go through a couple of menus. Wait. Music starts playing, and I switch the handset to speakerphone. (Meanwhile I'm working on compiling software on my Gentoo system.) Finally a woman answers, asks me what my problem is. Tells me that I need my OS X installation disk for some hardware tests. Crap. It's probably buried in some old boxes. I thought the disk was unnecessary, seeing that I can barely do anything on the computer before it freezes up on me. The nice lady on the other end disagrees with me. Apologize for not having the disk on hand, and thank her for her time.
After about 15 minutes of searching, I manage to locate the disk(s). Dial the number again, and listen to another 40 minutes of beautiful music. This time a man answers.
"Hello. Can I have your product serial number?"
<Give him my iMac serial number>
"Sorry, it seems as if the serial number you've given me is invalid."
<Repeat it again>
"Sorry, it's not liking it."
<Repeat it once more>
"Hello, sir. How are you doing?"
"What can I do for you today?"
"I have an issue with my iMac G5. It's been freezing constantly, usually within a minute of bootup. However, I tried booting it a few minutes ago, and now it won't even start (no video, just the white light in the front)."
"So this is a new issue?"
"Do you have Leopard installed?"
"Nope. It came installed with Panther, but I upgraded to Tiger."
"Sorry. I was just talking about Panther."
"Umm, okay. So you'll need your Tiger disk now."
"Are you sure? It's just an upgrade disk; most of the hardware testing programs are located on the Panther disks that came with this iMac."
"Nope. It has to be the Tiger disk."
"The other problem is, I can't insert the Tiger disk into my iMac, since it has a slot-loading optical drive. The computer has to be on to be able to accept the disk, and the fact is, it's not turning on."
"Okay. Turn off your computer, then insert the disk."
"Um, I can't! The computer won't accept the disk when it's not turned on."
"So you mean there's already a disk in the computer."
"NO. I mean the computer won't accept the disk when it's not turned on."
"Sir, are you familiar with inserting a disk into your computer?"
"YES. It's a slot-loading drive, and the computer has to be turned on for the drive to accept the disk."
"So turn on the computer, then insert the disk."
"BUT THE COMPUTER WON'T TURN ON!"
(This circular argument went on for several minutes)
"Okay. I think at this point we've determined that this is a hardware-related issue. What you need to do is take your computer to your local Apple retail store, and they'll repair it."
I thank him for his time, and then begin searching for Apple retailers. Of course, the only problem with his recommended approach is the fact that there's only about a grand total of 4 Apple retailers in Canada, none of which are near me. After a bit of poking around, however, I discover that you simply need a certified Apple service provider. Of course, he didn't think of mentioning that to me...