August 11, 2011: A Green Kitchen?

Medifast Status: Day 101, Down ~45lbs

Forty five pounds!  Today really feels like a milestone weight loss day.  Forty five pounds isn’t that big of a deal, I guess, but I am now officially (by my standard scale at home that I have been using since the very beginning) below the 250 lbs mark!  That’s the big break through.  We thought that I had done this while in New York but then had the ten pounds issue with the scales.  But now it is official and I didn’t just tip over it but went past it by a good bit and am on my way through the 240s now.  This feels really good.  Today is my very first day since the late 90s to be able to say that I weight in the “lower 200s.”  Now that is an encouragement to keep dieting.

In general I am continuing to like coming into the office nice and early.  It lets me get on top of the day and I tend not to fall behind because at no point am I dealing with a back log.  I am way more on top of SpiceWorks as well as a result since I am posting at the same time as the people in Europe rather than coming in and answering things that they’ve been discussing for many hours.  I feel that this has been, in general, a significant productivity boost.  And SGL is up to date too and Dominica feels that, except for Tuesday and Wednesday, I’m getting more family time too.  The only downside is needing to go to bed early but since I go to bed just about the same time as Liesl should and after Luciana has already fallen asleep it isn’t like I am giving up time with the girls because I’m turning in so early.

I went home late for lunch today, around one, and worked from home for the afternoon which was really nice.  I managed to catch up on a lot of things being home for a little bit.  It has been some time since I have been at home on a weekday at all so I’ve fallen way behind on a number of things.

Dominica and Madeline were painting the kitchen today.  They were painting it a bright green.  A green that Dominica picked out when she was pregnant.  It isn’t that bad but I have a feeling that this is a lot like her wine-coloured garage or Pepto-Bismal coloured bathroom like we had in Geneseo.  I let her pick out the paint colours but they can be pretty awful sometimes and, in the case of the bathroom, so bad that we had to immediately repaint to attempt to sell the house – it lasted no time at all.

They started doing the green paint with the intention of it covering the entire kitchen.  Once she saw bright green on the wall Dominica pulled back to just painting the one side of the kitchen and I have the feeling that she realizes that bright, crazy colours are probably not the way to go, especially in highly visible portions of the house.  So the plan now, from what I can tell, is to paint the rest of the kitchen in more of a cream colour.  At least the green has covered up the repair spots in the walls where we had white before from the electrical work that we had done.

As soon as my call was done this evening Emily and I ran to Willow Bend Mall to go to the Apple Store there so that they could look at my iPhone which has not been working for weeks.  What a horrible experience that was.  Apple really doesn’t grok customer service at all.

We got to the Apple Store and discovered that it is pure mayhem inside.  No signs, no instructions, no queues just a mess of disorganization – just like using a Mac, it would seem.  There was no one who clearly worked there in the store and people just milling about everywhere seemingly using the place as an Internet cafe.  There was no service desk, no customer service, no checkouts, nothing.  Just tables of computers with people looking at them.  People who seems to have just gotten lost and needed to sit down somewhere.

Emily and I were in the for a while and could not find anyone to help us or anyplace that we were supposed to go.  The only place that had anyone working at all was a thing called the “Genius Bar” which certainly did not strike me as the name of “warranty service and returns” but we tried going there anyway.  That was a waste of time, no matter how long we stood there, even right against the bar, could we get eye contact or acknowledgement of any sort.  We simply did not exist.

We walked around the store for a while longer, Tweeted about the lack of customer service and eventually I found a guy in a blue shirt carrying an iPod and I grabbed him and asked if he worked there and if he could help us because we had no idea what to do.  He said that we were supposed to check in at the door.  I asked “check in with who?”  He said that someone waits at the door to check you in.  I pointed out that there was no such person either when we arrived or currently and no signs or instructions to this effect so how were we to know this?  Even now I’m just taking someone’s word for this as he was carrying an iPod and seem to be wearing an old iPod case as a necklace.

He said that they were all booked up for the evening.  I said “maybe you weren’t all booked up when I arrived and no one would talk to me – I’ve been here for a while.”  So he said that he would try to squeeze us in, it was just a broken phone after all and should not take long.  I appreciate that they are busy there – but they are busy because way too much stuff is broken and none of Apple’s employees are working or working efficiently.  That’s not my problem.  And I’ve already put in hours of my time and tons of driving trying to deal with this because Apple doesn’t allow Verizon to service the phone when it breaks and makes me go find an Apple Store which is a rarity in and of itself.

So we ran over to Starbucks (just outside the door) to get coffee.  They actually came to get us to say that we could see the service desk before the coffee was even ready.  Okay, so that was fast.  We went in and sat at the Genius Bar.  And sat.  And sat.  Apparently they were not really ready.  There was no one available to talk to us for quite some time.

When someone was available to help us they turned away and starred at the back wall rather than helping us.  Seriously, I’m feeling completely hated here.  I’ve never had any store work so hard to avoid me before.  No one will make eye contact.  No one will acknowledge us.  Emily is really unimpressed and she is only ten!

The person who made our appointment came and told the available “genius” to help us.  But that didn’t motivate him.  While we were waiting a guy who had made an appointment online for eight asked if someone would help him.  They told him that he had missed his appointment and that it had been cancelled.  He explained that he had arrived an hour early, checked in and waiting in the store since seven and no one would see him.  So it is not just me being ignored.  Even with a previous reservation and a time slot, arriving early and waiting in the store you get nothing.

While we all waited for nothing to be done three scantily clad underage girls came in and techs lept to help them.  Being a half naked teenage girl apparently warrants service to be delivered in the middle of the store – no need for an appointment, a check-in or even to approach the “Genius Bar” for them.  Oh no, Apple employees make no qualms in letting everyone know what motivates them and it isn’t in impressing the people paying the bills – it is impressing the jail bait who just hitched a ride to the mall.  Not impressive.

Our coordinator came back ten minutes later and informed the same tech, again, to help us.  Not one other person was helped during this time.  Half the bar was empty.  The entire store could see us sitting there being ignored.  Not one employee moves to do anything.  This is ridiculous.

Once the tech starting helping us things went quickly and smoothly.  The took the phone, instantly determined that it was defective and the soldering internally had failed and we had a new, replacement phone in no time and were on our way.  That could have all been handled in five minutes but due to horrific customer service planning it took an hour and completely alienated a lot of people.  Apple spent a fortune to make a point to me that they loathe having me as a customer.  They did the same to Emily.  The same to the guy whose appointment they had cancelled – likely because some girl had come in that they wanted to service instead.  The same to that guy’s girlfriend who had sat there with him for an hour and a half waiting for them to honor the appointment.

Each individual person that I dealt with, once I convinced someone to take on the apparently abhorrent task of helping me, was friendly and helpful.  It was clear that it was Apple themselves making the store impossible to navigate, removing any semblance of instructions or process and refusing to have any means of acquiring customer service that is to blame.  Significant money and effort had to be expended to make this process work this poorly.  This was no accident.

What is amazing is that at any other store they would do something like this in the hopes that you would peruse other products that they had for sale and maybe buy something while you were there.  But this failed here too because there was at no time a point where I could meander about looking at products – I always had to be searching for an employee or sitting at the Genius Bar.  Never was I given a chance to look at products.  And also because there were no obvious products for sale.  Sure, there were Mac and iPod devices all over.  But no prices and nothing that suggested that you could buy them (at least not here.)  No configuration information and no sales people.  Plus no checkouts.  So if I did want to buy something there – or even find out what I could buy – I still, after being there over an hour, have no idea how I would do that.

Even if you go to the Apple Store and see something that you like it is faster (and way friendlier) to drive across town to Walmart or Target to buy it there.  And in all honesty, I am not certain if they do sell anything there.  I only guess that they do because the word “store” is in the name of the location.  But there is nothing inside of the Apple Store to suggest that they have anything for sale except that there is a small section of video games and weird accessories hanging on one wall that would have no purpose but to be sold.   I think.

All in all, I am just amazed how much Apple hates having me be their customer.

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