Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


Merry. And Bright.

Filed under : Rants,Stores
On December 12, 2007
At 1:30 pm
Comments : 11

Thanks for taking over for me, fun commenters! Sorry I had to take a short leave but the fact is, I was in a bad mood and you know how those things are contagious. I couldn’t risk spreading it to you. Now that I’m all cheerful again, it’s time to share my negativity in a more constructive way. How? By a rant about stores. After all, it’s the holiday shopping season. Although, we Jews are all done. Burn! No, I kid, I have some goyim on my list too.

Yesterday, I went to the Genius Bar. This is my name for Jacques Torres’ Wicked Spicy Chocolate Bar but for some reason, it’s also the name of the repair desk at the Apple Store. Apple seems to have the same attitude towards appointments as my doctor’s office because when I got there for my 1:20 appointment I saw my name up on the big board as #12. Out of 12. This is something you do not want to see when you have gone across town on your lunch hour to basically show your power cord (heh, she said power cord) with the wires all frayed to some geek so you can get a new one a week before your warranty expires.

So, instead of spending five minutes and then walking out with a new power cord, I sat against a wall and waited. The first thing I noticed was that the stools for customers at the various desks (iPod Genius Bar, Mac Genius Bar, Studio – that’s the training one) are clearly designed to show off your underwear and buttcrack for the amusement of people forced to wait for appointments. This also goes for the various Apple store employees doing one-on-one training with the customers. The employee, sorry, genius, nearest me wore boxers, if you must know. I also noticed that everyone being trained was over fifty. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. The woman waiting near me, who was probably sixty, kept looking at me and trying to catch my eye to start a conversation. Did I mention I was in a bad mood? Don’t talk to me, lady. But she tried. “Are you here for training?” she asked. “Nope,” I said, and took out my BlackBerry. I’m not sure non-iPhones are allowed in the Apple Store but I went for it anyway.

After that, I worked on naming all the Geniuses based on their appearance. The one with the kipa was FrumGenius, then there was HipsterGenius, TattooGenius, PerkyGenius, and CurlyGenius. They were all white guys. I watched myself move up the board. After about 40 minutes (40!), I was number three. Then I disappeared! I went up to one of the “concierges” (I should have asked him for tickets to The Lion King too) and asked him what happened. The conversation went like this:

Me: I was #3 and then I went off the list!
Him: Did you check in with me?
Me: Did anything say I was supposed to do that?
Him: What is your name?
Me: Becca
Him: Your appointment was canceled because you didn’t check in.
Me: I’ve been waiting 40 minutes! Can you put me back?
Him: Let me see…. OK.
Me: Am I at the back of the line now? I don’t see my name on the board.
Him: The board doesn’t really mean anything.
Me, thinking: well, if it’s meant as entertainment it is sorely lacking
Me, out loud: Your website should really mention that you have to check in.
Him: Melanie L! Melanie L!

Luckily, I showed up a second later on the board as #1. Board doesn’t mean anything, my ass! I got TattooGenius. Every other Genius was smiley and friendly. Except my guy. He seemed suspicious of my motives from the start and told me my warranty was up. I said, “I checked, it’s December 19th.” He looked skeptical. Listen, bud, if you cannot read your own system, I can’t really believe you are a genius. Albert Einstein would probably have realized that if I purchased my computer on December 20th, 2006, and today is December 11th, 2007, and the warranty is one year, then it is not up. Finally, that information sunk in and he replaced my cord. He also told me I had been pulling it out of the computer wrong, even though I never actually told him the method I use to remove it from the computer. Genius! When I mentioned a problem I read about with the hard drive on my model, he insisted there had been no such problem reported or he would know about it. Might I suggest Google, oh Genius? I suppose I’ll just wait for the catastrophic failure to happen after my warranty ends, which is how these things usually go.

But, you know, I did walk away with my cord. And it could be worse. It could have been CompUSA, which you may have heard is going out of business (shocking!). Now, no one could beat their prices, and by that I mean be more expensive than them, but they were always good for just grabbing a spindle of recordable DVD’s or whatever. However, their customer service, to me, was exemplified by these two experiences I had.

The first was a conversation I overheard in the Mac section.

Customer: Are Macs any good?
Employee: Sure, I plan on getting one soon myself.
Customer: Can I ask your reasons?
Employee: They look really cool.

Super. Just last week, I was waiting on line, the one line that existed for 20 customers because “everyone is on their break” at 7:30pm. One of the employees walks along the line and asks everyone if they have received a sales pass or something like that. He hands each of us a piece of paper with nonsense written on the back. I ask him what it is for. “Organizational purposes,” he says. When I get to the cashier, finally, I hand it to her, she rolls her eyes and throws it away. On the way out, I am forced to show my receipt to the security guard who does not bother looking in my bag, scribbles a circle on it and I leave.

There goes a well-run organization. With their 30% off sales they may just bring their prices in line with everywhere else. But hey, at least they never called themselves geniuses.

Title comes from the slogan on the Geniuses’ Christmas shirts.

Tom Tom Club – Genius Of Love


11 Comments for this post

  1. KP says:

    I thought I was CurlyGenius.

  2. JF says:

    Becca, You are a FunnyGenius.

  3. Alex says:

    I have a story to relate, but I can’t bear to type it all on my dinky Treo keyboard. So instead, I’ll just say for now, “Hi, Becca. I really missed you while J’Ball was on hiatus. Also, this smartphone thing is still improving my life.”

  4. Becca says:

    KP, I should clarify. This was CurlyBlondGenius. No wait, that’s Martin Gore.

    JF, ha, thanks!

    Alex, thanks! And yes, typing anything beyond, “I’ll e-mail you when I’m back at my computer” is pretty hellish on those things.

  5. Alex says:

    Something in the Captain Obvious quality of Becca’s Frayed Power Cord Tale of Woe somehow reminded me of this story.

    Back before God sent our family a dog (, we tried to convince the kids that fish would make acceptable pets. (Key advantage: fish do not want to be walked. Key disadvantage: fish die a lot.) After a series of short-lived goldfish, the kids moved on to bettas, those Siamese fighting fish; they come in nice colors. To this day, the older daughter is still unaware, unless she secretly reads Magic Jewball, that “Violet” was actually three different fish. When Violet II went to be with Jesus, I went back to the store to see whether the Fish Genius could give me any insight into why our fish kept shuffling off this mortal coil prematurely. (Maybe something about pH, or something, I wondered.) I put Violet and some water from her bowl into a Ziploc bag, and went to the fish store.

    When it was my turn to see the Genius at the counter, I produced the Ziploc bag. As I was speaking the words, “Can you help me understand why I can’t keep these stupid fish alive?” in my peripheral vision I saw a little blob of something purplish slowly sinking away from Violet, down toward the bottom of the baggie. Fish Genius looked at the blob, looked at Violet, looked at me, and then said in mock-seriousness, “Well, sir, the first thing I notice is that this fish’s head has come off. That just might be your problem.”

    For the record, so far, the dog’s head has not come off.

  6. Soxy says:

    Yay! BloggerGenius is back.

    Alex, that was the best fish story ever.

  7. sarpon says:

    Alex has magic fish! Seriously, his fish die a lot, all the fish we ever had only died once.

  8. Becca says:

    Alex, where were you when you were supposed to be entertaining each other? Because that story cracked my shit up. Although Sarpon stole my comment about it.

  9. Alex says:

    I wasn’t inspired then, Becca. Sorry. Too much pressure, or something.

    But after Sarpon’s comment, I feel obliged not only to word my stories more carefully in the future, but also to point out that we no longer have the magic hypermortal fish. Now we just have God’s stupid dog.

  10. Melanie says:

    You know, all this talk about “CurlyBlondGenius” and “TattooGenius” and “PerkyGenius” is giving me visions of Care Bears running around the Apple Store. Didn’t they all have names like that? SunshineBear, GoodLuckBear, GrumpyBear, TenderheartBear. (Yes, I googled, and let me tell you, some people have WAY too much time on their hands to devote to all things Care Bear. Also awesome:

    Sign Me,

  11. Becca says:

    My genius would have been GrumpyBear. Or maybe that was me.

    But you know who they were more like? The smurfs. You know, all those guy smurfs and just one Smurfette. If that.

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