This afternoon I was running a disc utility on a Mac Mini when the verify disc function returned an error stating that I needed to run disc utility from the machine’s installation disc because the hard drive could be failing. I didn’t panic. I ran a time machine backup, inserted the disc and held down the ‘c’ key during restart. But rather than go through what looked like the process of reinstalling OS X (the machine had been upgraded to Snow Leopard), I went online to have Apple call me. That’s when I learned that the machine was out of warranty. I knew it was close, but didn’t realize it had lapsed. 

Punctual as always, an Apple service rep called me at a designated time and immediately told me that I’d have to pay for phone service because my machine’s 1-year warranty had lapsed – by FIVE DAYS. If this one computer were the only Apple product I owned, I’d be a little pissed that it broke five days after the 1-year warranty passed. But I own a lot of Apple products, all of which have Apple Care. Except for the Mini. 

I explained to the rep what a loyal customer I was and rattled off the myriad of Apple products that I own – closing with the fact that I had Apple Care on all of them except DUDE, IT’S FIVE DAYS! He put me on hold and brought an admin onto the call. She said she wanted to help me, and then offered me the opportunity to purchase Apple Care for the Mini so they could solve my problem. My rep waited while the admin processed my credit card information. After the payment went through, the rep came back and then walked me through the steps necessary to solve my issue. It took about ten minutes. I rebooted the machine and tried another verify disc from the OS. It ran smoothly. No errors. 

My rep thanked me, I thanked him – and we hung up. Me, $149 lighter. 

I have to admit, part of me wanted there to be a serious issue so that I felt like I got my $149 worth. I mean, really? Couldn’t the guy just have walked me through the fix based on the fact that I am a loyal customer? Just how much was phone service, anyway? He never really talked about that once I disclosed my rabid loyalty. The whole part about them letting me purchase Apple Care even though the machine was out of warranty (BY FIVE DAYS) almost seemed designed to make me feel grateful for the opportunity. To be honest – it felt a little sneaky.

I’m not usually a conspiracy guy, but after this situation it almost felt like the verify disc error was built into the OS. Like how your car will prompt you to ‘perform service’ at 60,000 miles because they know you’re out of warranty and have to build revenue into the brand’s maintenance side of the house. 


Jim Mitchem

"Community Bestows Validity" - Queensland's Brilliant Use of Social Media by @kate_eltham
Leash Law Breaker

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.