Apologies to you all. This will not be my typical happy-go-lucky blog post. Sometimes in life, God puts obstacles in front of us so arduous and painful that our very survival is in question. They test our mettle, and challenge our self-belief. I want to share with you such an experience that I had recently. I hope that telling you my story will bring you closer to me as a human being, and offer you comfort when you are faced with similar darkness in your own lives.
As I walked through the doorway into the bright fluorescent lighting, I felt squeamish. I’m never comfortable in these places. Who in their right mind is? There were lots of beeping sounds, a droning intercom, and people rushing around with worried faces. I was now one of those people.
I looked around for some sort of reception desk, or information booth, to no avail. Finally I saw someone walking toward me dressed head to toe in blue. I labored to make eye contact as if to say “Thank God I found someone who works here. I’m lost.” He noticed my desperate gaze and approached me. I took a deep breath, knowing that my nightmare was about to begin.
“Welcome to the Apple Store!” he said with excitement. “I’m Atticus. How can I help you?” I was immediately suspicious. First of all, why was he so excited? There were literally 500 people wandering this store with a fire capacity of 150. Secondly, who the hell is named “Atticus”, other than 20th century literary characters, and cats named after 20th century literary characters?
I’ve been through this meat grinder before. Every time I walk into this God forsaken hellhole, it turns into a 3 hour ordeal. I have a simple request, and somehow I get roped into wandering the store with the rest of the human cattle while I wait for my name to be called off “the list.” It’s the retail equivalent of standing outside Studio 54. The only difference is that once inside Studio 54 you would buy pound of artificially price-inflated cocaine. At the Apple store, you end up buying a replacement part that costs as much as a pound of artificially price-inflated cocaine.
“I just need a new battery for my MacBook Air.” I said.
“Awesome!” he squealed.
I had no idea why that was “awesome”, but I continued.
“It just won’t hold a charge, no matter how long it’s plugged in.” I told him.
“Aw man. That happened to my car!” he commiserated.
I stared at him blankly.
“OK bro! We’ll get you signed up!” he exclaimed
“Signed up for what?” I asked.
“For the Genius Bar!” he said.
For those who don’t frequent the Apple Store: They call their combination cash/wrap and information desk “The Genius Bar.” It’s almost as pretentious as naming your kid Atticus, but not quite. The only joy I ever get in the Apple Store is when they finish “helping me” at The Genius Bar. I always let out my frustration by ending with “Thanks, genius!” in the most passive-aggressive and condescending tone I can muster.
“I don’t need The Genius Bar. I just need to buy a battery.” I protested.
“Well, we need to do a diagnostic to make sure that’s the problem. You don’t want to spend your hard-earned money on something you may not need.” He responded.
The irony of that statement coming out of an Apple employee’s mouth was not lost on me. Although It went completely over Atticu…Atticusses…Atiticuss’…his head.
Unfortunately though, he was right. Atticus, in all his man-bun wearing, electric car driving glory, was right. So I had him put my name on “the list.”
I wandered the store for what felt like no more than five or ten days. In reality it was probably about 45 minutes. Eventually, they called me over the intercom.
“Aiden. Please come to the Genius Bar. Aiden.”
After hearing that announcement about four times, I realized they were actually calling me.I had written my name, Adam, very legibly. Apparently the “Genius’s” first order of business was to decree my original name too pedestrian and bestow a better one upon me.
“Yeah. Aiden here.” I said as I hopped onto the barstool.
“What can I do for you?” he asked.
“My battery won’t hold a charge.” I said.
“OK. Let me have a look here.” He said, with the intensity of a doctor checking an expectant mother’s dilatation.
He whisked around the trackpad opening and closing various windows. After about 90 seconds he looked up and said. “Yup! You need a new battery.” with a smug expression.
I’m no great fan of our friend Atticus, but at least he showed some enthusiasm when he was about to make me miserable. This freaking guy couldn’t even be bothered. “Just hang out for a few minutes and I’ll install it for you.” he said.
I wandered the Apple desert for another 40 days and 40 nights while Albert Einstein attended to my laptop. I knew from the beginning that stepping across that cursed threshold was a grave mistake. When all was said and done, I spent around $287 on my journey into the heart of darkness. $70 for the battery, and another $217 on all sorts of pointless accessories and gadgets that I didn’t need. Way to go Aiden, you dumbass. If I was smarter, I would have stayed home and just ordered the battery online like a normal person. Unfortunately I decided to wander into a spiderweb of technological temptation because, as anyone reading this now knows, I’m no genius.
If you want to ruin your day, find your local Apple Store.