Recently I blogged about how, under current circumstances, little things become huge, blow-out-of-all-proportion incidents. Such was the case with a La Cie 500 GB Mini Hub, a big external drive that tucks nicely under my Mac Mini, and has turned it into a miniature, but quite useful server on our private network. The only problem was that the La Cie’s internal fan, a tiny device in a very small machine, made a near-continuous very loud sound, much louder than the nearby, much larger dual-proccessor Mac workstation, and the other 5 computers in the room (and switches, routers, hubs and modems).
I emailed La Cie support, who, a few days later, emailed back, telling me to return the drive. Apple Store has a 14-day return policy, and given our wacky lives of late, I had to dig the receipt out (thank you Paperless Project). We had a day to return the thing, so we shoe-horned it between a blood test in SF and a rehab evaluation in Menlo. So we arrived mid-afternoon at the Apple Store in Palo Alto, to find a light crowd and plenty of help, many of whom turned out to be newly-hired holiday temps.
Two of the temp guys really tried: I showed the printout of La Cie’s communication, and got no hassle about a return. Unfortunately, employee 1 had never done a return, and employee 2, who knew how to do credit card returns, had just started, and didn’t have a log-in to the retail system. Between them, they did what they could and knew how to do, which resulted in a credit back to my card. Good start.
But I really wanted a new big drive where I could park my MRIs, MSIs, MRSs and other rather large medical studies, as well as the growing Paperless Project, backups of my iTunes, 30,000 iPhotos, our hard drive and a couple dozen other things that have amused me, like 11 years of weblog postings. So the crew told me to go browse the merchandise and bring my choice to the register. The store was starting to get busy, there was a line growing, so Linda got in line while I headed back to the hard drive section. There were no more 500 gig drives left, just wimpy 160s that, while cheap, weren’t going to get the job done.
So I peeled one of the reps away from a chatty customer and asked him to check stock. He took a while to return, during which time Linda made it to the front of the line, and not knowing what to do, came to find me (tech stores, even Apple’s pretty tech stores, make her gag). The rep explained he had looked for a box with a different lot number, hoping to improve my chances, which took a bit more time. Hearing Linda’s tale, he kind of slipped behind a register, and after some consulting with more experienced peers, managed to complete the sale. The experience was really as good as you could hope for both from the manufacturer and a retail store at holiday rush… the new drive is dead quiet and seems to be faster at copying files than it’s noisy predecessor…