PowerBook Explodes, Man's Apple Crush Grows

Jimm Lasser went to sleep with his PowerBook sitting underneath his bed, and woke to find it bursting into flames. From the pictures, it looks like there was a battery malfunction.

After the husky firemen put it out, he called Apple, spent about an hour giving them an incident report, and had a new, free MacBook Pro sent to him within four days.

Like makeup sex, Jimm says he has stronger feelings about Apple than ever before:

It is like we had a fight, with knives and foreign objects and the authorities involved, but in the end, right before the credits roll, right before we look at each other covered in dirt and blood and soot and ripped clothes, we see eye to eye, human to human, me and the brand, and we shrug it off, make it even, manage a hug and keep walking together.

See? Fixing customer’s problems leads to more loyal customers.

The Powerbook! The Powerbook! The Powerbook’s on Fire! [Speak Up] (Thanks to CD!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. niccernicus says:

    Apple fanboys make me chuckle. Jobs could literally piss on their laptop and they’d be happy. But it’s stories like this though that make me actually want a Mac.

  2. freshyill says:

    I love Apple’s products, but this headline should be “Apple gives customer free computer in exchange for almost burning down his house and killing him in his sleep.”

  3. Anonymous says:

    so if your apple stops working, say screen issue that they won’t cover, just catch it on fire!

  4. Bye says:

    N1ckel5: The only fault with your hypothetical is that if Jobs were to actually piss on a “fanboy”‘s laptop, he would immediately replace it with a newer model.

    That sort of Customer Service is what keeps people like me coming back to Apple. Like the time I called them to report a machine I bought in 1995 started spewing noxious smoke in 2000. I hadn’t even purchased AppleCare and five years later they had me take it to a local shop and Apple paid for everything to fix it. It’s still running and is being used as a guest computer in our house.

    Now that they’re more popular, I don’t expect THAT kind of above-and-beyond service, but if something like that were to ever happen again, I would be pleasantly surprised but not shocked.

  5. SVreader says:

    So with PCs your software randomly explodes and with Macs your hardware randomly explodes? Is that the difference?

  6. hollerhither says:

    Stockholm syndrome?

  7. niccernicus says:

    @Rey: LOl. And then the user would eBay the urine soaked laptop.

    Just having some fun here! ;)

  8. emona says:

    That Apple Care Plan better include life insurance. Jesus!

  9. Toof_75_75 says:



    I think the best business/customer service model is simply to get lots of new customers, abuse them like crazy, then seem really nice as though you are really giving of yourself to fix their problems. Don’t waste any money on making things work right to begin with, just fix them later and everyone will be more appreciative anyways.

  10. zentec says:


    You are SO right about that. The last thing we need in this world are people who are happy with the products they buy.

  11. shadowlife says:

    I’m with Inconsumer: the fire was the primary reason that Apple acted so quickly, as opposed to brushing off yet another manufacturing defect using a silly ‘blame the buyer’ excuse.

  12. IphtashuFitz says:

    That’s nothing. I once had to manage the replacement of over 500 Dell 1650 server motherboards because they had a danger of bursting into flames. We actually had three occurrences where the video chip erupted into a geyser of smoke and flame before they finally got around to addressing the issue. They eventually discovered that a whole batch of motherboards had faulty capacitors on them that were causing this fun little fireworks display. Nothing like walking through a datacenter and seeing a plume of acrid blue smoke coming out of the back of a cabinet…

  13. mandarin says:

    Cult of the Apple indeed….

  14. Craig says:

    And here I was thinking that if your girlfriend tries to set you on fire while you’re sleeping you should dump her. Silly me.

  15. warf0x0r says:

    why was it under his bed?

  16. Bye says:

    Craig, the problem with your metaphor is intent.

    If your girlfriend – or any company – were to try setting you on fire while asleep, they should definitely be dumped.

    However, if your girlfriend were to spontaneously combust without her having any knowledge of her propensity towards such an act, I’d say you have to give her the benefit of the doubt.

    Unless of course you were just looking for an excuse to dump her. In which case, you’re just a cad.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Just thought I would point it out, this is NOT a MacBook. This is an older PowerBook and chances are he didn’t get the battery replaced under Apple’s battery recall…

  18. ptkdude says:

    For the record, his MacBook didn’t catch fire… his PowerBook did.

  19. niccernicus says:

    @warf0x0r: Isn’t that where everyone hides their porn?

  20. louisb3 says:

    @Toof_75_75: Actually, the best business model is to buy some congressmen, then you can have a near-monopoly and you never have to fix your profitable abuse at all.

  21. bilge says:

    If it fails in a spectacular fashion, you get great service. If you’re charged with supporting four dozen iBooks at a university and a third of them suffer motherboard failures within the first month, you get the joy of shipping them back to Apple only to have them fail again in a few weeks.

    After a year, half had gone back at least once. After two years, we replaced them with Dells.

  22. CaptainSemantics says:

    @warf0x0r: Ok, this is where I admit how anal-retentive I am.

    I, too, put my computer under my bed. I like to keep my computer on overnight while downloading torrents. So I put my computer under the bed so the light from the computer screen (and from the plugin thingy on the side, that green light is insanely bright) doesn’t keep me awake. Yes, I could just put it in another room; but I like to check my email right when I wake up. Weird, I know. But it’s a valid explanation for keeping a computer under a bed. :)

  23. Beerad says:

    @n1ckel5: Ah, yes — this man had a good customer service experience and likes Apple products. He is thus obviously a “fanboy.”

  24. braindesign says:

    Lets all give Steve Jobs a pat on the back and a hand-job for not killing us in our sleep. You people are rediculous. Who really cares “for the record” if it was a Firebook Pro or a Powerful-explosive-book, dude almost goes down in flames and he’s back on his knees in less than a week, not to thank God, but Steve Jobs.

  25. SimonSwegles says:

    Guy with old Powerbook probably doesn’t get his battery replaced via the recall.
    Guy’s Powerbook fails in epic and dangerous fashion due to negligence for which he may be directly responsible.
    Manufacturer replaces guy’s long out of warranty hardware with a brand new, and significantly better, piece of hardware.
    Some Consumerist commenters praise manufacturer for simply doing what they can to make the problem right TO THE CUSTOMER’S GREAT SATISFACTION.
    Other Consumerist commenters demonize manufacturer for having ever manufactured a device which generates heat and has a potential to be dangerous, and characterize everyone involved as criminally stupid.


  26. Rando says:

    Or maybe it shouldn’t have blown up in the first place.

    He could have lost his life, and everything he owned.

  27. I work as an authorized service technician at a private school. A teacher came in yesterday with a powerbook that had a battery that was recalled. Luckily his complaint was that the battery only lasted ~30 minutes, and not that it blew the F up on him. shows that even “intelligent people” oversee stuff like this

  28. SimonSwegles says:

    @RandoTheKing: You are right. The battery should not have caught fire. Fact of the matter is, Apple took responsibility for that error way back when it was first recognized by issuing a recall notice. And then, even though both the recall and the warranty are long since over, Apple still replaced the laptop. Awesome customer service.

  29. Craig says:

    @Rey: Thanks for the clarification. In light of subsequent comments, however, if said girlfriend spontaneously combusted due to a failure on my part to prevent such combustion, it is clearly she who should dump me.

  30. ExtraCelestial says:

    “Like makeup sex, Jimm says he has stronger feelings about Apple than ever before.”

    I heart you Ben Popkin. Can I say that? Before I even get through the main page preview I can tell when you’ve penned the article. Love your wit and humour.

  31. FLConsumer says:

    Um…who the hell brings a laptop into their bedroom? and then tucks it underneath their bed? Pervs! Even in a hotel room, I leave the laptop in the living room or desk. Beds are for sleeping or getting it on, not wishing you were getting it on.

    If you think you need to check your e-mail from bed, STOP. Unless you’re a CEO getting paid far too much, your sleep is worth more than your job.

  32. Metschick says:

    I catch up on some internet reading late at night, simply because it’s when the kid’s asleep. So my laptop doesn’t end up under my bed, but right next to it.

  33. wesa says:

    Should have had his battery replaced during the recall. *rolls eyes*