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The Happy Ending - Qualified Perceptions
The Happy Ending
So, last post had the Tragic Death of the iPad. (Though it actually worked surprisingly well for all the broken glass). Many people encouraged me to take it to the Apple Store and throw myself on their mercy to replace it, so that's what I did Thursday.

mjperson came with me as moral support and because he had a question for them too. As it turns out, he ended up kind of being my minder, to cover both my noodleheadedness and what he considered to be insufficient mercy-throwing.

"You didn't say it was only two weeks old."
"Three weeks by now. And that was just the guy I was making the appointment with! I'll tell the actual guy!"
"I don't think you're very good at this."

Then, with the actual guy, I did not leap in quickly enough to say that it was two weeks old, so Mike leaped in to point it out. Later:

"You're *really* not very good at this. I mean, we practiced and everything! You just can't bring yourself to say 'it's only two weeks old, can you replace it?'"
"I was going to! I just... hadn't gotten there yet. I *did* say it was a birthday present! And he could tell how old it was from looking up the serial number. But... yeah. I just can't bring myself to say 'can I please have a new one for free?'"

But they gave me a new one for free anyway! Hooray for them! I got the feeling that there was an unofficial policy of "one user damage replacement for new device, per user *ever*" and I have used mine.

Then there was this bit towards the end:

Guy: "Is this your address? (51 Ibbetson Street...)"
Me: "Yes."
Mike: "That isn't your address."
Me: "Yes it is."
Mike: "No it isn't."
Me: "... er. Yes, that's my old address. I, um, I did live there for fifteen years, it still looks right."

So now Mike gets to claim that he rescued me from both not getting my iPad replaced, and from not being able to find my way home afterwards because I don't know where I live. But, I have a new iPad, so he can claim that he rescued me from being eaten by bears and defeated an alien invasion at the mall, and we're both happy.


13 comments or Leave a comment
mathhobbit From: mathhobbit Date: October 16th, 2011 04:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
There's an Alienware invasion at 51 Ibbetson street, so he'd even be half right!

I am totally jealous of my room-mate's new computer.
kelkyag From: kelkyag Date: October 16th, 2011 04:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Awwww! Cookies for everyone!
nuclearpolymer From: nuclearpolymer Date: October 16th, 2011 06:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wonder if you're not very practiced at throwing yourself on someone's mercy because so many people are always throwing themselves on your mercy at your work. Like, you are usually the wish granter person...
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: October 16th, 2011 07:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have a hard time asking for favors, especially if they seem unreasonable based on factors in my head ("is this a reasonable thing to ask for at all? do I have a relationship with this person where it's okay to ask for favors?") So asking strangers for free iPads is... way over my comfort limit. :)

My relative happiness asking for favors and having favors asked of me does probably strongly influence why I stay in my job, but I think that's the direction of causality there.
merastra From: merastra Date: October 16th, 2011 09:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yay, happy ending! Go mjperson!!

>>So asking strangers for free iPads is... way over my comfort limit.

Ayup. I think that summarizes very neatly what the problem is for me too. The phrasing I'm using these days is, "Would it be at all possible to..." I find I can stomach that and it seems to work pretty often. :-)
kirisutogomen From: kirisutogomen Date: October 17th, 2011 03:04 am (UTC) (Link)
I think it's extra-hard to ask for literally something-for-nothing, especially when it's a tangible item.

For me, anyway, there's also a penalty if my personal incompetence created the situation in the first place. Of course, dropping something != personal incompetence, but I know that when I drop something, I don't think "ah, I observe that an object has slipped from my grasp"; I actually think "I am clumsy and stupid". (It is fascinating that despite years of being trained to think scientifically, when it comes to self-assessment that intellectual rigor all goes out the window and I easily infer major character defects from as few as one data point.) But my point actually was that it's harder to ask for a replacement iPad if I dropped the first one than if it got trampled by stampeding antelope or something.

There's also the fact that the person you're asking for the free thing, while they do have formal authority to give it to you, is not personally the owner of the thing. I feel a lot less uncomfortable accepting a free sandwich from the owner of the falafel truck than from her nephew if he's minding the store while she's elsewhere.

It does get easier if I know that there's an Official Policy that I should get a free thingy if I ask for it. It felt ridiculous to ask my credit card bank to waive a late fee for no reason other than I didn't want to pay it, until I knew that it was official policy to waive late fees for anyone who asked.
merastra From: merastra Date: October 18th, 2011 12:32 am (UTC) (Link)

>>there's also a penalty if my personal incompetence created the situation in the first place

>>intellectual rigor all goes out the window and I easily infer major character defects from as few as one data point.

Agreed on both points and very interesting to boot. I wonder how much of the latter is instilled by cultural upbringing. Eg, in Japan, from the same datapoint, would the average citizen infer, "I am unworthy and low class" as opposed to "I am stupid".

>>It felt ridiculous to ask my credit card bank to waive a late fee

Yes! This has actually opened up my ability to ask for seemingly undeserved things, in that if one kind of company has this odd but beneficial-to-me policy, other companies may well have similar ones, for similarly inscrutable economic reasons. (Pushing the stack, I wonder if this is how small kids feel.)

earthling177 From: earthling177 Date: October 17th, 2011 02:43 am (UTC) (Link)
My impression of the entire thing is that, sure, they are keeping you happy and all, but I don't think it is just as a favor to you.

I think it's a way for them to get back the ones that failed so they can study them, for many reasons. Did the glass manufacturer promise them something stronger and longer lasting and then cut costs and put Apple in a bad position? Can Apple design the next iPad differently to make it less vulnerable to falls like that and make it less expensive at the same time so they can increase profits while at the same time leaving the competitors, who don't share the same knowledge, miles behind? Something else entirely different but which will become obvious in 5 years? We don't know now.

But in any case, they can have the devices back and learn stuff while making you happy.

We all win.

Welcome to the future! ;-)
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: October 17th, 2011 03:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Their official policy (not the "replace once for free") is to replace for half price, so they are both keeping buyers happy and getting broken ones back.

But surely they would get better data doing controlled drops of test iPads onto various surfaces at various angles, rather than looking to see how mine has broken? They don't know anything about what I dropped it on or from how high or what, so it seems like data from mine is less helpful. Though I guess a useful thing you can't get from internal testing is what sort of breakages are the most common in the field - are they most often dropped , sat on, gotten wet, microwaved, etc. Then they'd have a guess what to focus on.
earthling177 From: earthling177 Date: October 17th, 2011 04:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Again, I don't know much, but if what I've been hearing on the web is even vaguely true, it explains an awful lot about how and why Apple got so successful -- apparently, people who have observed stuff like that (probably in high-speed movies) say that iPads' (or maybe all iDevices, not sure?) screens turn off while falling. They probably register all kinds of things from their sensors, like speed, time etc. So, yes, I wouldn't doubt for a second that the people who gave you a new one probably charge half-price to the usual "it broke under circumstances we know about" and your situation probably made them think "weird, it shouldn't have broken just for that". Or they just figured you deserved one because it was just two weeks old. I dunno. But I've heard that some companies, like Apple and iRobot want engineers to take a look at weird accidents and to be able to recover accident data from the devices (I heard that iRobot wants any Roomba that fell off stairs back for "debriefing"). I have a lot of respect for companies like that, I hope they get even better.

And yeah, controlled experiments are very useful and no doubt they run them, but there's nothing like finding out what actually happens in the real world.
kelkyag From: kelkyag Date: October 17th, 2011 04:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
There's at least one bicycle helmet company (Bell?) that wants helmets that have been in crashes sent back to them for analysis. Controlled tests are great, but things way outside the parameters of the planned tests happen in the real world, and they want (need!) to try to assess those, too.
izmirian From: izmirian Date: October 17th, 2011 04:11 am (UTC) (Link)
It would be sort of interesting to know behind the scenes what the people at the Apple store think when someone brings in a smashed iPad. It would be funny if they thought, "Ooh, a chance to make someone really happy!"

On a vaguely related note I always felt like it was somehow impolite at trade shows to talk to the people at a booth where you had no intention of actually using their product. Now having run a booth at a trade show for several years I realize that it's almost always welcome to have people talking at your booth because it makes it look "popular" and therefore attracts even more people.
treiza From: treiza Date: October 17th, 2011 07:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hurray! I'm actually a little amazed, having had a friend purchase an iPhone, walk out the door, drop and crack the screen, return inside with a very sad face, and be told (essentially), "sorry, sucks to be you." Maybe it depends on the store, or the mood of the person helping you...
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