A quick drop in to the Genius Bar at my local Apple store was a bit of a rude awakening.
The Genius Bar guy was a total douche and I could feel the vibes of “what a stupid girl” just oozing off him. Everything I said, suggested, or inquired about was either “black magic or goat sacrifice” (dude, I can’t make this crap up – he really said that!) and when I mentioned that software got installed without my approval the disdain dripped from his voice as he told me that was “impossible,” clearly inferring that I was a complete dingbat who didn’t remember clicking the “I approve installing Big Bang Board Games” box when it popped up.
In his world of black and white, my shock of red, of possibility, of curiousity, could not co-exist. He inadvertently taught me i command and I did my own research.
To the general customer, in fact to me, a more than once customer not only of the Apple store, but the Genius Bar, it occurs to me that their job there is not so much to fix problems as it is also to maintain their reputation. I realized the duality of Douche Genius’s role as he was telling me it was “impossible” for my computer to have a virus, no matter what I observed happening (yes, in fact that software DID install itself and I did NOT have to approve it’s installation) or what others on the internet performing similar functions ALSO reported happening as being identical. In the world of the Genius Bar, it is probably equally as important to maintain the reputation (that there is no such thing as a virus for a Mac and therefore you must be a dithering idiot) as it is to actually fix the problem. In fact, I realized (as I wiped his slime from my mind), if the Genius guy is really good, he can probably convince the customer that there is actually NO problem at all, and maybe even that they should upgrade or buy an additional problem. The Genius Bar is actually genius marketing, not really genius technical resolution.
Honestly, I have been to the Genius Bar at least 3 times, and not on a single time have they fixed my problem. On one of the occasions, they actually convinced me to upgrade something (“The reason iWeb is not publishing is because you need the newer version which updates only the new pages, not the entire blog, which is timing out,” he said. I bought. It solved the problem.) The next visit was because my mail was not sending – I could receive fine, but sending was erroring out. He fixed it in the store, but it was still broken when I got home, on my own network. A fourth occasion brought me in to see if they could figure out a way to recover files from my 1990 LCIII and put them on my MacBook. Struck out; gave up. Then there was this time. Of all the experiences, the LCIII file recovery was the most rewarding and potentially helpful, the outcome just doesn’t reflect it.
I still love Apple and everything it does. This computer, now 4 years old, is running much better than any PC I ever owned (except maybe that Toshiba from 1998, and the Dell I had that rivaled the Macbook Air sure did some hard work for me). They are solid computers that run optimally most of the time, and yes, I’ll say that I even prefer Genius Douche over the PC “slimeball techie guy next door” or the Geek Squad. I’ll take the Apple awesomeness with a small side of suboptimal douchiness; the tradeoff is not so great and the options pale in it’s comparison.
So yeah, Genius Bar, I guess I’m glad you’re there, but more than anything, I realize your true purpose: Genius Marketing.