Instead of anything productive today…

In spite of myself, could not stop until I’d written it all down:

The service department at Tekserve has a sign telling customers how much they want us to leave happy.   I left yesterday after a series of long ordeals, promised work still undone,  feeling thoroughly urinated on.  I will never set foot in Tekserve again, unless I am in the neighborhood and need to use one of their handy, clean bathrooms. Tekserve touts its independence and superiority to the famously superior Apple Store, though it offers perhaps the worst service I have ever been subjected to.  Their bathrooms, though nice, are no nicer than the ones in the Apple store, where, for all their sometimes attitude, the service is also much better.  Their technicians and managers do not misinform customers, nor, in my experience, are they untruthful.

I recently bought a new macBook from Tekserve and dropped off the current one to have a larger hard drive installed.  The current one was working perfectly, I merely wished to expand the hard drive space.  I explained to the service tech that I wanted to be sure the drive that was being replaced was fully backed up, I’d brought an external drive.  I explained that I needed the thousands of frames on the new hard-drive and wanted an additional back up as well.  I held up the external drive.  He told me Tekserve couldn’t perform that service but assured me I’d get the old hard drive back.  I pointed out that there was no way to access data from the removed drive.  He told me they could box it, for $40, and I’d have in effect an external hard drive.  I paid for this service, which was $75 when the labor was added.  I asked about replacing a rubber foot on the bottom of the machine.  He didn’t think they had the foot, but would make a note for them to look for one and replace it if possible.

When I returned the following day to pick up my laptop I got my ticket and was told I was next.  Twenty minutes passed.  It was now 20 minutes to closing time.  I looked for a manager.  Eventually one arrived and explained that the end of the day is the wrong time to come in.  He brought out my computer and the boxed hard drive.  There was no data from the prior hard drive on the computer, none of the files I needed were on the new hard drive.

“But you have them on this external drive,” said the manager.  He explained it was only a matter of a few hours to migrate them all over to the new hard drive.  I’d been there almost 40 minutes at that point and was peeved to learn I had hours of work to do in order to use the computer for my children’s animation program.   The rubber foot, still missing, was an easy fix, he said, something they did as a courtesy, but as the adhesive takes two hours to dry I’d have to come back for the computer the following day and wait again to pick it up.   I expressed reluctance.  

He offered me an Uber car to take me home and a generous $25 to compensate me for any inconvenience.  I declined both, pointing out that I hadn’t been informed at any point that I’d have hours of work to restore the laptop to usable status.  In the end he gave me the job “for free”, meaning he waived the service charges, in light of the misunderstanding, the incompletely done job and the hours of work they had given me to fix it.

The hours of work included a couple of extra hours manually updating every now non-functioning app the kids use and keeping my fingers crossed that the new version would be compatible with the one they knew how to use.   One of the main apps they use, iTunes, could neither be opened nor updated.  

I called Tekserve the following day.  I was told the manager was in a meeting and would call me back when he got out.  He did, and only 24 hours later.

When I explained the situation to Gary MacDonald, another service supervisor,  he read the service notes and insisted I’d been fully informed about the problem with the old drive and that I’d already had a generous discount and that, in essence, I seemed to have a negative attitude.   I managed to remain patient.   Eventually he expressed regret, admitted it shouldn’t have happened the way it did, that he wanted me to be happy.  He told me to bring it in, everything would be fixed promptly, the rubber foot replaced, use his name, ask for a blue ticket, I’d been seen right away, no wait, everything would be taken care of, I’d be happy.  He gave me his extension (464) and invited me to call when I was coming in so he could expedite things, also gave me his email address.

That he didn’t return my call was understandable.  I was just informing him when I’d be arriving to have the work done.  I used his name and was given a blue ticket, told I was next and, sure enough, my wait was only 15 minutes.  The tech guy behind the counter corrected me,  I hadn’t been given a “blank” hard drive, if it was blank it wouldn’t have had the Operating System on it.  I stood corrected, told him none of my data had been transferred, the old hard drive had not been mirrored, cloned or migrated to the new hard drive, that I hadn’t been informed of this til I picked it up, that I’d had to migrate the files and update all the apps myself.  That iTunes was now non-functional.  

His opinion was that this made no sense.  He assured me that iTunes was native to the Operating System and that it was no doubt my unfortunate unsophistication that made me unable to find it in the apps folder.  I invited him to open iTunes.  He was unable to.  This seemed to stun him.  He began looking for fixes on the internet.  He was as unable as I’d been to find any for OS 10.6.8, which Apple no longer supports.  He told me he still uses 10.6.8 and loves it.  I told him I love it too.  I suggested he get Gary MacDonald, the supervisor who was familiar with the entire situation.  He disappeared into the back. Five minutes later he returned with Gary, who had me retell the entire story.  

After some negotiation they agreed to reinstall iTunes and replace the missing rubber foot, though they were reluctant to commit to re-install the iTunes library as it could take a bit of time.   I assured them I could install the library as long as iTunes was there and that waiting two hours or so was no problem, and that I’d be about 20 minutes away.  They verified my contact number, promised somebody would call as soon as the machine was ready.  I thanked them and shook both of their hands.  The whole process had taken less than 40 minutes, not exactly an instant drop-off, but, under the circumstances, I was glad the thing was finally being done.

When two hours passed I called for an update, as the email from the service department had invited me to do.  I left Gary a message at his extension asking for a quick update.  I called to speak to someone in the service department, heard four minutes of music and was told nobody was available and invited to leave a message.  I did.  An hour later, having heard nothing, I headed up to the store.  I was determined to pick up my computer, make sure it was fixed, and leave without uttering a syllable.  I made one last call.

This time, after the four minutes of music, and hearing once more that nobody was available, I said peevishly that my next call would be to the Better Business Bureau.  At that exact moment I had a call waiting beep and it was the service department, 40 minutes prior to closing time, informing me that the laptop was ready to be picked up.  (The email informing me of this was sent 18 minutes prior to closing time, when I had already been waiting in the store.  You can read their punchy email at the bottom of this post).

The blue ticket meant I was next, after anyone else waiting with a blue ticket.  I asked to speak to Gary.  The kid told me he’d find Gary, but he was busy greeting others, giving them blue tickets, explaining that they were next.  He called a couple of other blue tickets who were next before I was next and finally turned to see me sitting sullenly in the last seat available, leaving Gary a message.  He pointed to Gary, at the counter behind me, along with three other Tekserve employees, helping another customer.  “There’s Gary,” he said.

I walked over to Gary who would not make eye contact.   After a minute of this I rudely interrupted. “I’m here to pick up the computer your service techs disabled.  I don’t intend to come back into Tekserve unless I have to piss (I pointed to the bathrooms) as you people have been pissing on me since I dropped off the laptop for repair two weeks ago.”   Two security guys prepared themselves for more.  I returned to the last seat in the waiting room.

Gary came over to where I was sitting.  He informed me that I cannot speak to him that way in front of customers.  I informed him ​that was a matter of opinion.  It was now 20 minutes to closing time.  He hadn’t called me, he said, because I said I’d be coming back in 20 minutes.  I told him he should learn to listen, asked why I’d come back in 20 minutes for a job that wouldn’t be completed for at least two hours.  Instead of an answer he said it was unfortunate that he couldn’t give me the good news about my computer because of my attitude.  

He went back to finish with the other customer and a moment later called me to pick up the computer and sign some paperwork.  He made minimal eye contact as he struggled to complete the paperwork, the laptop he’d started on didn’t seem to be working.

 I opened the laptop, noticed the battery was almost completely drained, and did not find iTunes on the dock.  He told me it was in the apps folder.  I asked him to put it on the dock.  He did.  I opened it, it worked.   “What was the good news about my computer?” I asked.

“It’s fixed,” he said.

“It’s restored to the condition it was in before I brought it to Tekserve, you mean,” I said, then tried the other apps the kids use.  Only one would later need to be updated. again.  I turned the computer over.  The rubber foot had not been replaced.  Gary had apparently had enough of my bad attitude by then and said nothing when I pointed it out.  It was now closing time.  I left Gary to sign whatever name he liked to the paperwork he was working on and headed toward the door.

I asked the security guard at the door for the contact information for the owner of the store, as nobody else seemed to give a rat’s ass about a customer’s very unhappy experience.  He had no idea, of how I could contact the owner, but listened to the bones of my story and took me over to someone who could help me. 

This fellow listened attentively and when I described what I’d write on Yelp told me that one of the owners personally responds to every (presumably negative) Yelp.  I asked for the man’s contact information, but this was not something routinely divulged.  I told the guy I’d hear from him after my Yelp, I supposed.  I was then given both David Lerner’s name and his top secret email address david@tekserve.com.

The worker, at as much of a loss for how to make things right as I was at the moment, suggested he could possibly extract an apology from the service manager, which I declined.  He urged me to contact David directly rather than tell the ugly story on Yelp.  I asked if he thought I owed David this courtesy.  He maturely declined to insist that I did.

Their service email is below, and reading it I discover: hey, they never sent me their survey!

My takeaway:  these guys are pretty much all assholes.  The culture in the store is an asshole culture.  Good marketing, very, very poor service.  Stay away is my advice.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Tekserve Service Department <servicestatus@tekserve.com>
Date: Mon, Jul 6, 2015 at 7:42 PM
Subject: Your Tekserve Service is Complete (SRO #3-161-520)
To: fuckyoucustomer@asshole.com

SERVICE REPAIR ORDER: #3-161-520

The day has arrived! Your SRO is ready for pickup.

Please bring your receipt or a photo ID when you come for pickup.

We want to make your pickup as easy as possible. Let us know if:

  • you would like someone else to pick it up. Email us their name and we will add it to the record
  • you would like to have your computer or device messengered or shipped to you
  • you would like us to recycle a machine that cannot be repaired instead of picking it up

Contact a Service Manager directly at: servicestatus@tekserve.com and they will make the necessary arrangements.

Once you have picked up your order, we will send you a survey to find out how we did. We really do want to make sure we are the best place in town. Please respond to our survey with any feedback you’d like us to have.

Thank you for your trust in us.

Want to Make the Most of Picking up Your Computer?

  • Come to afree seminar or personalized training
  • Get a new case, printer, display, tablet, iPad, iPod, headphones or one of each
  • Ask us about Thunderbolt, Fusion Drives or any other new Apple-compatible technology. We love questions almost as much as we love answers
  • Tell us your problems. If a Mac can fix it, we’ll tell you how.

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