ADVENTURES IN SERVICE-LAND….Andrew Tobias recounts his adventures with his iPhone, purchased last August:

After two months’ ownership, my iPhone lost its ticklishness. I would touch it in places that used to make it do wonderful things, but now, suddenly — nothing. As explained here, this time Apple was the idiot. But by going to their big New York store and waiting 40 minutes, I got a new phone.

….So a week ago, iPhone #2 suddenly developed this glitch: even after I unplugged the earphones, it thought they were still plugged in….I went on-line to make an appointment at the Genius Bar….At exactly 3:50, I heard my name called….Within 10 minutes, my Genius determined I needed a new phone….and I was on my way with iPhone #3.

Two minutes later I was back….Multitasking madly, he took the phone….and after fiddling with iPhone #3 a little more, handed me my fourth iPhone, which so far is working fine, and onto which I easily managed to restore my music and books by re-synching.

….I remain a basically very happy customer, even if it’s been a bit of an adventure. And they have provided me with four phones in seven months.

You need to read the whole thing to get all the details, but the nickel story here is: three defective phone in seven months; difficulty making a service appointment because Genius Bars are usually packed like sardine cans with people having problems; and a tech who practically had to be tackled to fix iPhone #3. Yet Andrew remains a happy customer! In fact, a very happy customer!

I wonder why we all put up with this? What makes it even worse, in my book, is that apparently you can’t even pay for superior service anymore. I’d often be happy to do exactly that, but I’ve stopped trying. When I pay a lot for something, the service I get is almost never any better than it is if I buy something at Target. So why bother?

How much time, money, and stress do we all waste each year because, basically, we’ve given up demanding (and being willing to pay for) good service? Gotta be in the trillions, right?

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