I haven't been shy about expressing unforbidden love for my MacBook Pro, a sleek aluminum clad beauty who came into my life about a year ago and has stimulated blog posts of adoration (here, here, here, and here).
Now my love affair has broadened to include the Bridgeport Village Apple Store in suburban Portland (Tigard). Here's why.
As lovely as my MacBook Pro is, she has a few flaws, as do all objects of passion. A few weeks ago my 13-inch laptop stopped speaking to me.
More accurately, she started whispering in a high tinny voice. Something had gone wrong with the internal speakers in my MacBook. Low volume, no bass.
I took it over to the Salem Mac Store, where I'd bought the computer. The news wasn't good.
The problem didn't seem to be software related, as I suspected. My laptop was going to leave me for a while, I was told -- shipped up to a Lake Oswego repair center, which could take five to seven days.
Five to seven days! No way. Unacceptable. Cruel and unusual punishment.
I wasn't about to be separated from my lovely that long. I'm addicted to her. I had no desire to return to the much less attractive embrace of the IBM ThinkPad who has been sitting in a closet since MacBook came into my life.
I dug up a small battery powered speaker that I bought for my iPod Touch, when I wanted to listen to music without earphones. That got my laptop speaking audibly to me again, but wasn't a viable solution to MacBook's internal speaker problem.
Then I gave Apple support a call.
The guy I talked to agreed that my computer needed to be repaired. When I started to get panicky again about being separated from her, he offered up some advice.
"Make an appointment at the Apple Store on a Monday. That way, if a part is needed that isn't in stock, they'll be able to get it before the weekend."
Those words calmed me down somewhat. But being without my MacBook for even a few days still seemed horrible.
So I prepared for the worst last Sunday night: backed up my laptop via Time Machine. Copied files onto a USB flash drive that I might need to use while MacBook was in the Apple repair depot. Made sure that I had plenty of wine in the cupboard, in case I needed to drink myself into a lovelorn stupor while she was away.
The reality was much more pleasant.
As soon as I walked into the Bridgeport Plaza Apple Store, I felt healing energy wash over me. Apple Store are happening places these heady days, what with sales soaring and new customers flocking in.
Every time I've been in this Apple Store, it's been hopping. Yesterday was no different, even at noon on a Monday. I was efficiently greeted at the Genius Bar, signed in, and soon was talking with an Apple product genius.
After taking my MacBook into a quiet back office to listen to her inaudibleness, he explained that the right speaker, which incorporates a subwoofer, wasn't working at all. So I definitely needed a hardware repair.
He started to type into his own computer -- which happened to be a 13-inch MacBook Pro, just like mine. I began to sweat. How many days are we going to be apart, I thought, how many endless empty days?
The genius turned to me: "We've got the parts in stock. The repair should be done in an hour or so. How does that sound?"
I wanted to scream, holy fucking fine, bro!
But contented myself with a joke about how I'd planned at this point in my Genius Bar experience to see if a bribe would be accepted for an expedited repair. Overhearing me, a neighboring genius looked over and said, "Tell him it's going to be a week."
"How about if I skip the bribe and simply write a laudatory blog post?" I replied. "That'd be fine," my genius said.
It turned out to be a bit over two hours, not one. No problem. I had a good time browsing nearby Border's, REI, and Whole Earth stores before my iPhone rang and I was told, "Your computer is ready."
Good as new. They replaced both speakers for free (I've got a three year Apple Care contract, plus the computer is still under the basic warranty.)
I made the right choice to head up to an official Apple Store, even if I had to drive 45 minutes. Getting MacBook fixed on the spot was hugely better than being without my laptop for five to seven days.
In addition to making terrific products (I've got an iPod Touch, an iPhone, and a MacBook Pro -- all work wonderfully), Apple has great technical support. Consumer Reports rates it much above that of any other computer maker.
Now I know why. And I'm not saying this just because a complimentary blog post is my bribe substitute.