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Apple Store and the Iphone, not so green or good… this is a fix it yourself story too!

My Iphone 4 was less than a year old and I could no longer hear out of the regular speaker, so I had to use a headset or the “speaker phone” to be able to hear. I took my phone to the local At&t store to get it checked, but they told me that I had to take it in to the Apple Store. Unfortunately the closest Apple store in 50 miles away, so I was not looking forward to doing that. I tried to call the local -50 mile away- apple store four times and all four times after fighting my way through the automated system I was told to hold and my call would be answered shortly. All four times I was hung up on, so I called my wife to get her to call because I do not have any patience for automated voice answering systems. The same thing happened to my wife when she tried to get through to the store, but she was more resourceful than me and was finally able to get through on the nationwide toll free number and set up an appointment to bring my phone in.

We drove the 50 miles negotiating dense traffic, and just barely made it to the store in an hour and a half for our appointment. We get called up for our turn and tell the apple guy what the problem is - we can’t hear our calls our of the regular speaker, so the guy takes out a 50 cent paint brush with plastic bristles and vigorously brushes the speaker and then makes a test call. I CAN HEAR! I could not believe it, so he tells me that 80% of the iphones that have this problem just need to have the speakers cleaned and that it’s not a defect in the phone. I am almost 60 years old and I have never had to clean the speaker on a phone to be able to use it, so I’m not buying that it’s not a defect. If you google just the words “can’t hear” you will see iphone near the top of the list, so something is going on here. Sadly I am not convinced that cleaning the speaker is what fixed my phone because it was a intermittent issue before I finally gave up and just started using the speaker phone.

I told the repair guy about trying to call the store and the voice mail problem and he could not understand why we could not get through because they have ONE PERSON, I REPEAT ONE PERSON at the only apple store in Baton Rouge who’s job is just to answer the phone. I guess Steve Jobs is not really into doing anything other than making lots of money because ONE PERSON to answer the phone for a region as large as Baton Rouge is not really very adequate since it is obviously overwhelming their geeky cattle chute voice recognition automated system! Did I mention that I hate those things!

Apple is Green? No, not really, I wasted 4 hours of my life and four gallons of gasoline to drive to their store to have a geek wipe off my speaker with a brush. How many times does that happen every day? Obviously apple knows about the speaker problem because they issued brushes to clean them to the apple store geeks, but why did I have to drive to their stinking store to have this done, why have they not passed this information to the At&t stores so they could handle this problem without making us drive 50 freaking miles and wasting a half a day of my life!

I once loved my iphone, it is a fantastic tool to have on long rides through unknown territory, but next time I buy a phone I will investigate service locations and customer service… you know and a phone company that answers their phones!

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