Best Buy Employee Unhappy With The Customer Service At The Apple Store

Here’s a letter that just goes to show that customer service depends on which employee you get. Reader Cody works at Best Buy (in the Apple department, apparently) and his brother is getting the runaround at the Apple store. Is this the ultimate retail showdown?

ATTN: Store Manager and/or Assistant Managers

I never thought I’d ever have to write this email, but I am.

My brother visited your store on November 17th, and visited a Mac Genius. And I have two issues with this visit.

1. After making a reservation through the online concierge service for 4:45 pm five hours prior to the scheduled time) he was told he didn’t have a reservation and would have to wait to receive support with his malfunctioning iPod Nano.

2. The genius repeated steps that my brother told him didn’t work, and told him to take it home and try again.

Upon getting home, wha-da-ya-know.. still doesn’t work.

I’m not mad, just kind of irritated. I hold you guys to a higher standard, because you’re also capable of higher quality.
I’ve been using macs for over a decade, and to hear from my PC brother that Apple wasted his gas driving 12 miles to get there, waiting through holiday shopping Saturday traffic, and his time to see a genius… that disappoints me.

The irony is we got him the iPod to make his life easier, and it has stressed him out even further.

Here’s What The Problem Was:

iPod Nano 2nd Generation that continually reboots, gets stuck, reboots, gets stuck, reboots…. until the battery dies. This was an issue that happened right out of the box, but was solved by a Restore; three months later, it started doing it again. After he returned home, I temporarily fixed it by restoring it with my mac, then restoring it with his PC. I loaded 10 songs to test it, and it worked great. Then I loaded the rest of his library, and boom.. back to square one. There is a corruption in the boot sector of his flash memory causing it to have this issue.

I realize this is a rather complex issue for a Mac Genius, but it doesn’t take a Mac Genius Training Course to realize this is something that you don’t just “hope for the best”.

The fact that it did it immediately after pulling it out of the box puzzles me, especially when we have done the same steps to fix it we did the first time.

The iPod is currently in deep sleep, which I was able to turn on by accessing the iPod service menu

I would love to have more correspondence with you over this issue, and I would prefer you speak to me instead of him.

I have read the limited warranty twice, and I know that his iPod is eligible for replacement for this hardware/software malfunction.

I’ll quote it..

“If a hardware defect arises and a valid claim is received by Apple within the Warranty Period, at its option and to the extent permitted by law, Apple will… …(2) exchange the product with a product that is new…”

I will be making an appointment to see a Mac Genius on Tuesday November 20th, and I hope we can get this issue resolved once and for all, and I can go back to being a happy apple fan-boy.

I work at Best Buy in the iPod section, and I’ve never drawn out a warranty issue with a customer about such an obvious defect with their Apple iPod. In-fact, I’ve personally made sure that I handled that issue as fast as I could whether it was with a repair that Best Buy did not receive any payment for, or with a full replacement with a new iPod. I’m not paid with commission, I just know that you don’t grow a business by shrugging your shoulder and say “try again”.

Honestly I’m not angry, just upset.
Because you can do better.

The genius he spoke to was


The iPod was restored with iPod Nano 2nd Gen. software 1.1.3 on both:
a Windows machine running iTunes
a MBP 10.4.11 running iTunes 7.5 (r19)
See you tuesday.

Before hitting the send button in I decided to try one last time…
Same problem except now it refuses to enter Service Mode or Disk Mode,

:( This sucks. Cya soon.

A Very Upset, Yet Extremely Loyal Apple UserCustomerThird-Party Salesman,


He seems to have everything well in hand, so we’ll just say: Good luck, Cody!



Edit Your Comment

  1. olderbudwizer says:

    “MY BROTHER visited your store AND I have issues…” this guy sounds like a helicopter parent. Why isn’t BROTHER writing this note to Apple and handling his own complaint?

  2. headon says:

    Stop being so nice. Ask the real question, is Apple Genius slang for fast food worker that was laid off? Long email man, say what you mean. Your pissed as hell and want a new IPOD!!!

  3. Smd75 says:

    Something seems fishy that they didnt exchange it day one when the issue first started… Also he works in the Best Buy iPod department? I dunno.

  4. Buran says:

    @headon: Huh? The problem I see here is one individual idiot who can’t read an appointment list AND has no idea how to actually solve a customer’s problem.

    I once applied to work at an Apple Store and they didn’t even call me. I guess they really do hire the bottom of the barrel considering I’ve had a couple years supporting an entire academic department full of computers/users.

  5. SVreader says:

    @olderbudwizer: I wondered about that. I’m guessing the letter writer is the older brother.

    “The irony is we got him the iPod to make his life easier, and it has stressed him out even further.”

    Maybe his brother is disabled with compactdiscandcorrespondencephobia?

  6. Falconfire says:

    @Buran: Maybe in your area, but around here you need to have specific certifications and have a good few years of knowledge to even apply. Then you are shipped to Cupertino for 2 weeks of more intense training.

    the only reason I never took the job despite getting two offers to come back to Apple is, they couldnt pay me what I am making now in a school district.

  7. kpfeif says:

    I just bought a $1,500 iMac. I had a problem. After an hour on the phone with Apple, they made an appointment with an Mac Genious. I showed up. They couldn’t do anything. “Go home and call Apple” was the advice I got. Huh?

  8. JPropaganda says:

    @olderbudwizer: He’s writing it because he’s the apple expert and knows what the deal is, such as when the Restarts happened, etc.

    His brother’s email would probably be passionate, but not very informative. Why do people have issues with passing responsibility to someone who is more knowledgeable?

  9. Syrenia says:

    My brother had the exact same problem, which I handled in the exact same way (used my Mac to reset it). Like the author’s brother, the problem started again within a couple of days. My brother was back in Georgia, so I told him to hit the Apple store when they first opened. He mocks me at every chance about Apple, but he was very pleased with the service at the Apple store. The genius asked a couple of questions and then pulled out a new Nano. Done.

    I have noticed lately that it’s becoming more and more difficult to schedule an appointment for the genius bar. I have five stores near me, and it’s annoying that the scheduling software doesn’t offer a nearby store when it can’t make an appointment for you at the one you are checking. You have to start all over again.

    I love my Apple stuff, and rarely have problems, but I think that they are having some growing pains.

  10. theblackdog says:

    How does this guy know that there’s a corrupt boot sector in the flash memory? It sounds like he’s pulling things out of his ass.

  11. godawgs7 says:

    The problem w/ apple’s appointment system is this: you go on there and pick the time and day you want to go. The next page tells you, “you are scheduled for XYZ.” At that point, most people would just close the window and think they had their appt scheduled. HOWEVER, there is one more “confirm” button to press after it tells you what time your appt is at.

    I showed up at the store once at my designated time, and the genius goes, “oh, you didnt hit that last button…happens all the time.” Of course, instead of saying, “i’ll work you in to be seen by the geniuses” he tells me to either wait all day for a potential opening or go schedule an appt tomorrow.

  12. Jaysyn was banned for: says:


    You’re overqualified.


    a.) Would assume you’re only there between jobs, i.e. short-timer.

    b.) Assume that you would want a higher basepay, faster advancement, etc…

    It sucks but it’s true.

  13. Nately says:

    I like that you can’t say “I spoke to this ‘genius’ at your store” without sounding like a sarcastic prick.

  14. hypebreaker says:

    My own experience with Apple, to whom I have been loyal ever since I painfully dropped over 4k for their very first portable, is that nothing short of a steaming truckload of dog doo dumped on the front lawn of their headquarters will prompt them to honor the replacement clause in their warranty. Just be grateful it’s a Nano and not a twenty five hundred dollar Powerbook that’s giving you grief. My recent purchase came straight out of the box with a defective hard drive, a warped bottom case and an insatiable lust for kernel panic. After spending the first week of its life with me in service, my computer came back from Apple with a promise to replace it if I continued to have problems, which I most certainly did. Yet, somehow I found myself gazing longingly NOT at the gleaming white packaging of a brand new unit but at the bloodshot eyes of a Mac Genius at the Grove as he snidely explained to me that the problems I was having did not warrant replacement. Couple this reluctance with the Best Buy philosophy on customer service and this situation with the Nano comes as no surprise. Hopefully, Best Buy will see the merit in keeping its own employees happy and show him some love.

  15. Buran says:

    @Jaysyn: I just want to move for personal reasons that have nothing to do with the housing crisis (I live in a long-since-paid-for family house).

  16. hypebreaker says:

    @theblackdog: He works at Best Buy, for crissake! Of course he is…

  17. Buran says:

    @hypebreaker: They can and will replace but you have to find someone who isn’t a moron.

  18. el_gordo says:

    Damn it people, when will you learn?

    If you want product replaced by Apple, all you have to do is make a video of your frustrated self smashing it on the ground and hitting it repeatedly with a sledge hammer.

    Then post the video on YouTube. Then tell Gizmodo and Consumerist.

    The magic of the internet will take care of the rest.

  19. hypebreaker says:

    @Buran: Like the ol’ proverbial finding a needle in a haystack…

  20. Jaysyn was banned for: says:


    Move? What are you talking about?

  21. Consumer007 says:

    Why is the name redacted? We have the right to know who it is…

  22. nursetim says:

    I took my wife’s iPod to an Apple Store when it stopped working. The tech, since I can not bring myself to say Genius, got it restarted and I was in and out in less than 10 minutes. It was the first time I had ever been to one of those places, and I found myself trying to wash the smug off of me the rest of the day.

  23. xgenius says:

    The quality of service at the Genius Bar has definitely dropped over the past few years, but so has the quality in Apple products. At my former store we would replace thousands of broken ipods a week. This was only a 30 foot store by the way and not a flagship. It was normal for me to replace 10 iPods every hour during my 8 hour shift. After doing this for months on end it’s very easy for Genii to get burned out, and when you are the 50th customer they have seen that day with a faulty iPod, they tend to be short with you and not always deliver the best customer experience. If Apple every gets back to building quality products, Genius Bar experiences will get better for everyone.

  24. trillium says:

    On the phone with Apple Care, that is their new direction. If they can’t solve the problem, take it to an Apple Genius.

  25. Amelie says:

    @olderbudwizer: @svreader:

    And the brother handling the situation, has “what to do” with the topic of poor customer service by Apple?

    I do agree with the people who’ve said, you’re letter is too nice. You and your brother have every right to be angry!

  26. KJones says:

    An iPwned is too damned expensive to put up with such nonsense, especially with the growing numbers of unsatisfied customers. This is yet another reason I am glad I stick to cheap MP3/4 players instead of Apple. If it has a problem under warranty some of them will fix it properly, and if they don’t/can’t, they’re cheap enough to get rid of and buy a new one.

    I bought one unnamed company’s MP3 player with 1GB of RAM two years ago; the same model player now has 2GB of RAM and sells for 60% of the old one’s price. But I didn’t have to buy one when mine had a problem under warranty; instead, they fixed it for free. It took too long (four weeks instead of two), but at least they did it right.

    And to NURSETIM: if you want to avoid saying “Mac Genius”, say “employee” rather than “tech”. A tech is someone who knows what they’re doing; an employee is just someone who works there, regardless of their competence.

  27. youwantedahero says:

    @KJones: Uh, let me get this right… your mp3 player has 1GB of RAM?

    I don’t think so.

  28. Buran says:

    @Jaysyn: That’s why I want the new job, not because I want to be a job hopper.

  29. tasselhoff76 says:

    I’ve recently had similar difficulties with Apple tech support and my 5th Gen iPod that stopped working correctly on my Vista system after Apple’s recent “updates” post-iPhone. I still have not found a fix for it.

  30. peokuk says:

    call apple care. My 4th Gen iPod failed 4 times, the 4th time I asked the genius if I could get an upgrade since I’ve had so many problems. They told me they don’t have the authority, but one call to Apple and I’ve been running a new model for over a year.

  31. mammalpants says:

    i think this is an great letter. i hope you get a positive response. good luck.

  32. xgenius says:


    The Genius lied. They all have the power to issue a CRU (customer replacement unit). Many Mac Genii tend to say they don’t have the power simply because it means extra paper work and more time for you to wait at the bar. They only have 10 minutes per iPod customer, so the quicker they can get rid of you the better. It’s unfortunate.

  33. parnote says:

    LMAO!!! Just goes to show … what goes around, comes around! How nice that a BB employee got a taste of the run-around that HIS company has written the book on how to screw the customer. Apple must have read that book!

  34. fustercluck says:

    The most common cause I’ve seen for this problem is filling the iPod with songs downloaded from filesharing services like Limewire, Bearshare, Azureus, whatever. That’s why restoring on Mac will be a short term fix, because it wipes the memory space clean and starts from scratch. When the crap files go back onto the iPod, that’s when it starts going apeshit again.

    I’d guarantee that if all the files were legit (from a reliable download source or ripped from cd’s), this problem will go away. I’ve seen it hundreds of times.

  35. fustercluck says:

    If you were replacing 8 iPods an hour, you weren’t troubleshooting very thoroughly. And as for a CRU on an iPod — are you shitting me? That’s rare, because it’s rarely necessary.

  36. endless says:

    I went to my local apple store about 6-8 months ago to try and find out about what harddisk based camcorders would work well with Macs.

    the genius told me that anything with firewire would work with iMovie, seeming to be quite proud of this fact. When I informed him that neither JVC nor Sony was shipping camcorders that had a firewire port, he seemed a bit flustered, and repeated his mantra: “miniDV camcorders with firewire will work”

    i gave up at that point, said thank you and left.

  37. xgenius says:


    Not much troubleshooting is needed to fix a “sad faced” iPod. It takes all of 3 minutes to know whether an iPod is fixable by a restore. You figure that out after your first 100 replacements.

    An yes sometimes a CRU is necessary instead of giving the customer piece of crap refurbed unit.

  38. shc1803 says:


    That is a sorry fanboy excuse. If you have seen it hundreds of times I am sure the “Genius” would have known also. It is a hardware error. Never guarantee anything because then people know you are wrong.

  39. RvLeshrac says:


    Wow, that’s one of the dumbest statements I’ve ever seen. I don’t know what the source of the audio file could have to do with the iPod working or not working. At the least, I was unaware that the iPod runs code embedded into audio files. Oh, wait, it doesn’t.


    What do JVC and Sony have to do with your question? He answered your question. Do you want him to sit there for hours upon hours and create a list of every camcorder with a firewire port? Perhaps you should have refined your question?

    Can’t answer a question that wasn’t asked, you know.


    Agreed. Plug, restore, doesn’t work, replace. Perhaps it would help us if Apple didn’t blame the consumer for EVERYthing, cf. fustercluck

    Remember, folks, Apple products *NEVER* break and *NEVER* malfunction. That’s why Apple doesn’t sell refurbs, because they never have to repla… err, wait, nevermind.

  40. KiloJuice says:

    I purchased a digital camera from Best Buy over 3 years ago, and I also purchased a 4 years PSP warranty. The camera no longer works. They won’t honor the warranty, saying the camera has internal corrosion.
    However, if so it was not caused by me. I don’t understand how a warranty can cover heat, humidity, and dust and not cover corrosion.

    When I purchased the camera and PSP warranty, I was told that if the camera stop working for any reason, that it would be either repaired or replaced, and that is what I expect.

  41. karateninja says:

    @RvLeshrac: I worked for Circuit City and we sent ipods with defects back to the manufacturer. They would repair them, slap a huge blue sticker that took up one side of the box that said factory refurbished or reconditioned product, and then we would have to sell them as open box. No other company did that, they would just credit us with the value of the product. I guess technically the Apple store might not sell refurb products but they sure as hell make other companies sell them.

    @KiloJuice: That’s because you got the typical warranty BS that many retailers give just so you will buy it. After several customer run-ins that caused a lot of headaches for corporate, we were mandated to show the customer, in writing, exactly what the extended service plan covered in the warranty paper work. We were no longer allowed to say “for any reason”. That lasted about two weeks or so before the managers started holding mandatory weekend meetings and yelling at the employees that warranty sales were down and demanded to know what happened, and why we weren’t selling extended service plans like we did a few weeks back. Many employees after that went back to either lying to the customer or saying it would be repired or replaced for any reason to get the store’s and, more importantly for our job’s sake, our individual sales numbers for warranties back up. The managers never said a thing after the warranty sales numbers went back up.