Dr. Mac's Rants & Raves
People are always asking me where they should buy a Mac and my answer is almost always the same: The Apple Store. I recommend it to friends, family, and readers wholeheartedly knowing full well you’ll pay SRP (Suggest Retail Price) for pretty much anything you buy there.
But if you shop around, you’ll see that deals on Apple products from third-party vendors are few and far between. Yes, you can occasionally find someone bundling a printer or gift card with some Apple products, but for most Mac models most of the time, the one you choose will cost the same (or very close to the same) everywhere you look.
When they ask why, and they usually do, I tell them this joke:
Q: What’s the difference between an electronics salesperson and a used car salesperson?
A: A used car salesperson knows when he’s lying.
At an Apple Store you can believe the staff. They’re incredibly knowledgeable about Apple products, and since they’re not paid a commission, they have little incentive to sell you a bunch of stuff you don’t need. They’re also far less likely to make things up than a salesperson at, say Fry’s. Rather, at the Apple Store the staff takes the time to ask the right questions to steer you to a solution that will make you a happy camper.
But it’s much more than that. The staff knowing its stuff isn’t but one of the reasons I recommend the Apple Store. The most important reason is that their customer service is unsurpassed.
For example, if you read Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves #91, you know that I tested the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus side-by-side for a week and ultimately decided on the iPhone 6 Plus. Now my family loves when I upgrade my phones ‘cause they get the hand-me-downs. This year my lovely wife Lisa is the recipient of my old iPhone 5s, which had developed a case of battery wonkiness and was been discharging far faster than normal.
So, being a nice guy, I made an appointment at my local Apple Store (The Domain in Austin, TX), where a Genius (coincidentally named Austin) confirmed the battery wonkiness and informed me that my iPhone 5s was 20 days out of warranty. I was crushed until he added, “But we’re going to waive the $269 fee. The battery looked a little swollen upon inspection.”
I can’t be sure, but I think he winked as he said it.
I felt obliged at that point to ask him if he knew who I was, what I do for a living, or if a higher-up told him to comp me; he said no and I believed him, but I had to ask.
Now here’s my question for you, gentle reader: When was the last time a store (not the Apple Store) replaced your out-of-warranty gadget for free? I can’t remember it ever happening to me, but this wasn’t even the first time it happened to my family at an Apple Store.
A couple of years ago, after dropping his iPhone in the hot tub and killing it, my son took his drowned device into the Apple Store and shamefully explained what had happened, just like I told him to do. And it was a good thing he listened, because at the Apple Store the phone’s moisture detector confirmed that the damage was his fault. He too was crushed, but his Genius (name unknown) took pity on him and made a “one-time exemption,” replacing his water-damaged phone with a brand new one at no charge.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: The Apple Store doesn’t offer many discounts, but it does offer the best customer service in tech retailing and possibly all retailing.
So thanks again to Austin at the Austin Apple Store in the Domain. You didn't have to save me $269 but you did and I appreciate it.
One last thing: If you don’t need the services provided by a brick and mortar Apple Store (and you don’t need your new Mac today), I recommend Apple’s Special Deals page (http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals) without hesitation. It offers refurbished Apple products at significant discounts, which is why I haven’t bought a new Mac, AirPort, or Apple TV in years. Instead, I choose refurbished products, which look and act like new and have the same warranty as new products as well.
Bottom line: If you’ve never tried a refurbished product from Apple, you almost certainly paid more than I did. <grin>
P. S. How has the Apple Store worked for you? Was your experience particularly good or bad? And is there somewhere else you’d rather shop for Apple-branded products?
Let me know in the comments. Thanks.
And that’s all he wrote…